joe saul-sehy

Joe Saul-Sehy is co-host of "Stacking Benjamins," an award-winning podcast show covering personal finance, current events and headlines. Joe is a former financial advisor (16 years) and represented American Express and Ameriprise in the media. He was the “Money Man” at Detroit television WXYZ-TV, appearing twice weekly. He’s appeared in Bride, Best Life, and Child magazines, the Los [...]


Joe Anderson
ABOUT Joseph

As CEO and President, Joe Anderson has created a unique, ambitious business model utilizing advanced service, training, sales, and marketing strategies to grow Pure Financial Advisors into the trustworthy, client-focused company it is today. Pure Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), was ranked 15 out of 100 top ETF Power Users by RIA channel (2023), was [...]

Alan Clopine

Alan Clopine is the Executive Chairman of Pure Financial Advisors, LLC (Pure). He has been an executive leader of the Company for over a decade, including CFO, CEO, and Chairman. Alan joined the firm in 2008, about one year after it was established. In his tenure at Pure, the firm has grown from approximately $50 [...]

Published On
June 19, 2017

Guest Joe Saul-Sehy of the Stacking Benjamins podcast explains the value of having a financial planner (while avoiding his stalker, Your Money, Your Wealth host Joe Anderson.) Joe and Big Al discuss what the Department of Labor fiduciary ruling means to you, and 10 steps to get ready for retirement. They also answer questions about saving for retirement as a self-employed person, and whether you should talk finances with your girlfriend before moving in together.

Show Notes

  • (01:03) Al’s Vacation & The DOL Fiduciary Rule
  • (12:56) More on the DOL Fiduciary Rule & Choosing a Financial Planner
  • (21:03) Joe Saul-Sehy of Stacking Benjamins: The Value of a Financial Planner
  • (37:04) Big Al’s List: 10 Steps To Get Ready For Retirement (AARP)
  • (52:56) Do you think I should get a more concrete idea of my girlfriend’s finances, or can I just assume that everything will be OK and she won’t jump into something like this if she can’t afford it?
  • (59:01) My wife owns an LLC (limited liability company). Will she be able to open a Solo 401(k) or SEP-IRA? Does money invested have to be directly from proceeds of her LLC?


“Everybody’s talking about all the stuff you needed to do now. Yet you know, most of the time, the thing you should do is – absolutely nothing. Study after study shows the thing a great advisor brings to the table is convincing you that holding the line is the perfect thing for you to do. If you’ve got your asset allocation plan, your diversified approach to your money, stick with it. – Joe Saul-Sehy, host, Stacking Benjamins podcast.

That’s Joe Saul-Sehy, host of the most popular personal finance podcast in the country, Stacking Benjamins. On this episode of Your Money, Your Wealth, he does his best to explain the value of having a financial planner, while attempting to be nice to his biggest fan and stalker, Your Money, Your Wealth host Joe Anderson. Joe and Big Al talk about what the Department of Labor fiduciary ruling means to you, Al has 10 steps to get yourself ready for retirement, and the fellas answer your emails about saving for retirement as a self-employed person, and whether you should talk finances with your girlfriend before moving in together. Now, here are Big Al Clopine, CPA, and a guy you really may not want to meet at a party, Joe Anderson, CFP.

1:03 – Al’s Vacation & The DOL Fiduciary Rule

JA: We’re going to have an interesting show today. We’re taping this very early because Big Al is going on vacation.

AC: True.

JA: Where are you going again? Paris?

AC: Paris for two nights, and then we’re going to go to Greece for a weeklong cruise.

JA: So a week on a boat?

AC: Yep. A week on a boat. Actually, it’s a sailing cruise, Windstar. It’s small for a cruise – it’s 175 people on it. It’s not like a person cruise line.

JA: Have you ever done that before?

AC: I’ve done a 3000 person cruise in the Caribbean, but no, I’ve never done a smaller cruise. The only other cruise I did was in the Caribbean.

JA: Did you get, like, a recommendation to do this?

AC: We did – our travel agent.

JA: There’s still travel agents out there.

AC: Yeah. And I’ll tell you what Joe, and I know you don’t really like to travel internationally much, since ever since I’ve known you it’s never happened. So I’ll give you a little tip – it’s a little more complicated when you go overseas, and it’s kind of nice to have help. I mean, you can do it yourself. And we have done it ourselves. But I really appreciate the details that the travel agent knows, that there’s no way you would know unless you’ve been there.

JA: How do they get paid? Is it like just a percentage of what the total package is or something? Let’s say it’s $5,000, do they say well it’s going to cost you X?

AC: So the hotel pays them X, and the tour companies pay them a certain amount of money. I’m not sure if the airlines pay them or not, I think maybe they do. I think certain things they don’t get paid on. Our travel agent usually charges an extra $100 just for all the other stuff.

JA: But you’re not seeing it out of pocket.

AC: No. Supposedly It doesn’t change the cost of the hotel. It’s just that the hotel doesn’t get quite as much. And I guess their rationale is, they’re not doing all the leg work because otherwise you’re calling them and saying, “well, what kind of hotel do you have?” and all that stuff. So that’s already being done by the travel agent, so it saves them personnel.

JA: Sure sure sure. Well, it should be fun. Congrats.

AC: Should be a lot of fun, yeah, thanks.

JA: Gotta be careful overseas. There’s a lot of funny things going on in the world today. But, speaking of funny things in the world today, we have – see that transition? I’ve been working on these transitions. The DOL….

AC: Yeah. Here’s the headline from CNBC: “Your Retirement Savings Will Undergo a Major Change This Week.” It’s what’s called the best interest standard. It simply means that those that give advice, those advisors that give advice on your retirement plan or your IRA, have to look out for your best interest. And this is kind of a staged thing, Joe. On June 9th, the financial advisors, they have to charge no more than reasonable compensation. They’re not allowed to gouge you. They’re not allowed to say misleading statements. And perhaps most importantly, the advice that’s provided needs to be in your best interest. I mean, all of these things are quite obvious. But yet, the industry is fighting it like crazy because a lot of the industry is selling you product, and a lot of its good product, but some of it is a very high commission.

JA: So how do they regulate it?

AC: Well, they have what’s called the best interest contract exemption, meaning that there are certain things that you have to do to make sure that you’re following the rule. So most of the meat of this actually happens on January 1st of next year. And furthermore, the Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, he actually said that even though this goes into force on June 9th, that the Department of Labor will not enforce it until January 1st, so there are not many teeth in what’s happening. But nevertheless, the advisors now are supposed to act in your best interest, and they’re not supposed to gouge you on fees, and they’re not supposed to have misleading statements. All kind of normal stuff. I mean it’s not that complicated. I mean, we can go into what that means, but it’s not much more complicated than what I just said. It’s giving you, the client, giving you the best advice that’s possible, in your best interest. It’s not selling you the product that’s going to make me the highest commission.

JA: But it’s only on retirement accounts. It’s not on any other assets. Why do you think that is?

AC: That’s true. Good question, I’m not sure. Do you have a thought on that?

JA: Well this is just my opinion. Most people are not necessarily prepared for retirement. And on the other side of the argument is that millions of Americans will not get the financial advice that they need, to have a successful retirement because of this rule. And so people say well how the heck could someone say something that stupid? And the fact is, is that there’s a lot of smaller retirement accounts, and let’s say you want to save 100 bucks a month, or maybe you have $20,000. These big brokerage firms, I mean if you take a look at the big brokerage firms, they’re not going to take accounts under $500,000. Or maybe even a million dollars. And then so there’s another tier of advice that people will receive if you have less than that. And for these advisory firms to have any type of profitability, there are other products that they can potentially put them into, that might have a front-end sales charge. You know,  5.75%. So you’re putting in your $200 a month, and the advisor, or the broker, or the representative, they’re taking a look at, what’s the appropriate asset allocation? How much money should you be saving, or how much could you be saving, should you put it into a Roth IRA or 401(k) plan? Should you put it into whatever. Or maybe just a brokerage account. And then so they’re doing some legwork, hopefully, for that particular person.

I would say still, 95%, 90%, of all advisors in the financial services industry are really good people, really trying to help an individual accomplish their financial goals. There’s some, of course, bad eggs and there are bad eggs in every single industry across all industries. So the argument on the other side is to say all these other individuals that have smaller accounts, are not going to get the appropriate advice, is what that argument is, because it’s like, well I can’t help you. You don’t have a million bucks. So where is that individual going to go then? So they’re going to be, then, on their own, trying to figure out what their appropriate asset allocation is. And then, how much money should they be saving and things like that. Now there are all sorts of other tools that are coming to the forefront, which I think is fantastic, to help these individuals. But I still think there’s a real lack of information and knowledge for these people to get access even too cheap, let’s say, computer advice. And it’s not even advice, it’s just it’s an allocation device.

AC: Yeah you’re right about that. There’s kind of a bit of a wave I guess in our industry, called robo-advice or robo-advisors and that’s what you’re talking about, Joe.

JA: But it’s still a business, you got these venture capital companies putting in billions of dollars into this. So you can see a lot of these robo-advisors blowing up and failing because it’s like we can’t get enough people to invest their money at 25 or even 50 basis points. So you got to cover a billion dollar cost of venture capital money, and then you get these accounts that are 10, $20,000 and then they’re charging 25, 30 basis points. Those companies are not necessarily going to excel either. The whole fee thing, I get it. You want to control the things that you can control.

And of course our firm, we’re a fiduciary, we started as a fiduciary, we’ve gone lengths to eliminate a lot of the conflicts of interest in our business, such as having competent advice such as Certified Financial Planners. Our advisors are paid a salary. So it’s not based on how many clients they have. We’re trying to separate a lot of the B.S. that goes on.

But still, people need help. And so where are they going to go to get the help, because as you and I know very, very well, what’s the average balance of retirement accounts? How much are people actually saving? What’s going to happen when the baby boomers now drove into retirement with $50,000 to their name, thinking that they can provide themselves a retirement income that can last another 20, 30, 40 years? So there are two sides to every coin. But I think the really good news is that there’s some sort of standard to make sure that you can weed out some of these really bad products that I think are getting sold. Because if I have, let’s say $50,000 and you meet the salesperson down the road that doesn’t necessarily have the credentials, doesn’t have the competency, doesn’t have the experience, and then putting them into very high commission products, because at $50,000, if I make a 15% commission, I’m all good. On the advisory side, if you have $50,000, $100,000, let’s say they charge you 1%. Well, you’re making a couple of hundred bucks a quarter, because they’re usually charged quarterly. So they have to work really hard to make sure that they can keep your business, that they have to make sure that they’re adding value on an ongoing basis, or else you’ll just move your account and say I’ll try to do it myself. We’ve had such a big run-up in the overall market since 2009 that I think there’s a ton of overconfidence in the overall people’s ability to do this.

How are you going to create the income? What assets do you buy? What assets do you sell? What is the tax implications of the income that you’re going to receive? What’s the estate planning look like? Do you need insurance? I mean there is a lot larger list, I think. Going back full circle to, I guess, my thought on why they’re not looking at non-qualified or brokerage account assets is because the average individual does not have brokerage account assets. I would say higher net worth individuals, or people that saved more money have assets outside of a retirement account. You and I see it. If someone comes in our office that has a million dollars outside of a retirement account, they’re either very diligent savers, they make a lot of money, or they sold a business, maybe they had stock options through their employer, or they sold some real estate.

AC: Yeah, or they inherited money, that would be another one. But you’re right. That’s unusual. Usually, the majority of liquid assets are in retirement accounts. You’re right about that.

JA: Most. And then even millions are in retirement. $24 trillion are in retirement accounts. And so I think they’re looking at, hey we need to protect these particular individuals, because if you do have a brokerage account, and you have assets outside, maybe you already have a level of sophistication when it comes to investing that you know you’re getting taken advantage of by some schmuck that has whatever license that is trying to jam you into whatever product.

AC: Alright. I’ll buy that.

Your Money, Your Wealth brings you actionable advice to help you invest and retire successfully – but that’s only part of the equation. How do you leave a lasting legacy for the ones you love? Learn 10 gruesome estate planning mistakes to avoid at our free webinar, July 11 at 10:30 am Pacific. Visit PureFinancial.com/estate to register. Nicole Newman, Attorney at Law, and Joe Anderson, CFP, will answer questions like should you have a will or a trust? How do you protect your assets from probate, in-laws, creditors, predators and the expenses of long-term care? How do changes in estate tax law impact your existing estate plan? Visit PureFinancial.com/estate to sign up now for our free webinar, 10 Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid, Tuesday, July 11 at 10:30 am Pacific. That’s PureFinancial.com/estate.

12:56 – More on the DOL Fiduciary Rule & Choosing a Financial Planner

JA: One last thing on this whole fiduciary thing. People wear two hats. And now people are marketing themselves, because of this whole DOL rule. And so I interview an individual. He’s like, “yeah, I work for a fee-only financial planning firm.” Sounds great. So kind of going into the details of everything. And guess what else they sell? They sell annuity products, that are fixed annuities. Fixed indexed annuities, that are outside the scope. So they’re kind of – it’s not under the securities license, it’s not under the SEC, it’s under the state insurance board. So they could say, “yeah I’m a fee-only fiduciary financial planning firm but then also, I can sell you other types of products that are not regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission, or even FINRA, or any other regulatory agencies that monitor the securities business.” So there’s always going to be these little sneaky smoke and mirrors type things that happen.

So our advice is to always do the right due diligence. You want to make sure that you ask the appropriate questions. How are you compensated? Are you compensated any other way than from your clients? What licenses do you hold? So just ask some better questions. But still, I think people will hire an advisor based on relationship, not necessarily the competency. Big Al is a very smart person, but if he had zero personality. It’s like, “Oh god, now I gotta go see Big Al?” it’s like, “no, man, this guy is killing me. I don’t understand a word he’s saying, because he’s so technical, and the jargon that he’s doing.” But Big Al might be really trying to help you as best he can. But if he can’t communicate that in such a way that you understand it, that you feel confident in his ability….

AC: Yeah, and we’ve seen people like that – very smart individuals that just, they don’t have any kind of bedside manner. They really can’t articulate in a manner that people can understand.

JA: Right. It’s like, “really? This is all you have? Come on. No, you’ve got to be a little gentler here.” (laughs)

AC: Right. Well Joe, going back to this article from CNBC, about this DOL ruling – and I think what they suggest is asking your advisor just a couple simple questions to find out what kind of advice you’re getting, and the easiest one is, “how are you paid for your services?” That’s a very simple question. And what you’re looking for – the cleanest, the best answer is fee only.

JA: 100% of the time paid 100% by the client.

AC: And they’re going to say fee-based. And that’s going to be a little confusing, but fee only is where they only get paid directly by you. They might charge you financial planning fees, they might charge you a fee to manage your assets, they might charge you a flat rate, but that’s the fee.

JA: You know what it is, it’s transparent, you know what you’re paying. Just like your travel agent is very non-transparent. “Yeah, I pay them a hundred bucks.” (laughs)

AC: (laughs) It’s almost free, Joe. I did ask her and she didn’t tell me, but they don’t come out right and say that.

JA: When I bought my home, I was like, I don’t know how to buy furniture and things like that. So a friend of mine said, “Hey, I know a couple ladies that that can help you out. Just point you in the right direction.” And it was like 150 bucks, and then she’s like buying all this furniture and things like that. So I got a bill, I paid for all the furniture. But I’m like, “you were in my house for like three weeks straight and all you made was a hundred bucks?!” I’m like, come on. It doesn’t make sense!

AC: Yeah, there’s something going on. Another question to ask is, where do you keep my assets? In other words, is there a third party custodian, like TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity. What you don’t particularly want is an advisor that’s going to house your assets. Then there’s no third party checks and balances.

JA: I wonder how many firms still have true custody of clients’ assets.

AC: Well not many, but certain kinds of investments like hedge funds and things like that, they’ll have custody. And I’m not saying hedge funds are necessarily bad, although as a group of investments, they haven’t done that well over the last five years or so. And this is extreme, but I’m going to say this anyway. That’s what happened with Bernie Madoff. He was the custodian of your assets and the asset manager, meaning that he could print out whatever statements he wanted to, to show you your rate of return, which is exactly what he did.

JA: Right. You’re writing a check. The assets are going to – he’s the custodian. You want to look at a large custodian such as Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Pershing. Huge, huge companies. You want to get that statement from that particular custodian. If you’re working with an independent feel the only advisor, they’re not tied to the big brokerage houses, they’re not tied to the big banks. Some people feel comfortable in that, because hey, you worked for this big company that I see the commercials and everything else. Who the heck are Pure Financial Advisors? I don’t know that from a hole in a wall. How big are you? How long have you been in business? So it’s a little bit different experience for some people because it’s different. We’re not tied to the big banks. We’re not tied to the big brokerage houses. You’re hiring us as a fiduciary to take a look at your overall situation. We’re going to charge you a fee to help you get to where you need to be. But you know what that fee is. And then the assets that you would have a firm like ours manage would be at Fidelity or TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Pershing, something to that effect.

AC: Yeah. Another question you can ask is, “are you a fiduciary?” A fiduciary just simply means that that advisor has to give you the best advice for you, not for them, but has to look out for your best interests. And if you get a kind of a wishy-washy answer, that could be a bit of a red flag.

JA: Well there’s some other things that you can do to really understand if they’re acting as a fiduciary. So what other licenses do you hold? So if they have brokerage licenses – so back in the day, I had a series 7, series 24, series 53, 51, 63. And I don’t know something else – an 8 I think. Then I had an insurance license.

AC: We got real estate licenses too. (laughs)

JA: But we got rid of all of that because it’s like I don’t have those licenses anymore because I don’t need them. You need those licenses to purchase stocks or mutual funds for a commission. So you’re going to be the broker. Someone comes in, “I would like to buy this stock.” “Sure I’ll sell or buy the stock for you on your behalf.” And then there’s a spread there. There’s a commission involved. And then so that a broker would receive that commission. That’s why you need those licenses. So with a fee-only advisor, there’s none of that. It’s like, here I’ll be your private shopper, we can go into the marketplace for you to find the best solution. And then I’m just going to charge you a fee for it.

It’s been three decades since the last major tax reform, but this could be about to change in a major way. That said, the President and the Republican Party are still divided on a number of key policy questions. Visit the White Papers section of the Learning Center at YourMoneyYourWealth.com to download the white paper “Tax Reform: Trump Vs. House GOP” for a deeper look into the proposals. How might income tax, estate tax, and business tax change? Are your tax strategies at risk? Download the Tax Reform white paper to find out more. Visit the White Papers section of the Learning Center at YourMoneyYourWealth.com

21:03 – Joe Saul-Sehy of Stacking Benjamins: The Value of a Financial Planner

JA: Alan Clopine. I’m very excited right now.

AC: Yes, me too.

JA: We’ve got a great guest. His name is Joe Saul-Sehy. And he started Stacking Benjamins, It’s a podcast. And I’ve got a little confession to make. So I’m a big fan of the podcast. So I listened to it on my way to the gym. I listen to it on the way to work, and so on and so forth.

AC: You’re obsessed.

JA: I am. It’s awful. It’s almost scary. I just listen to it, I go to bed to it, it’s awful. So I’m listening, and Joe’s going to this conference. And I’m like, “Oh, interesting. I wonder where this conference is going to be?” And then he’s like, “hey, we’re going to be in San Diego.” And I was like, “Ohh…”

AC: Uh, you’re stalking him. (laughs)

JA: Wait for it. (laughs) So he’s like, “Hey, I’m going to host this party at this rooftop deck in the Gaslamp.” Well, I lived downtown San Diego for how many years. I’m like, “well there’s only really one nice rooftop deck.”

AC: So you figured it out. (laughs)

JA: Well yeah, it’s not that hard. I’m not that smart. (laughs) And I’m listening to it and it’s Friday while I’m listening to this podcast, and he’s like, “I’m going to be there on Friday” and I’m like, “I’m going to go.” So, I’m not part of the conference. And so I work a little bit late, we do the radio show, and then I go down, have a couple of beers, and I grab Rob who works with us. So I go to this bar. Rustic Root, right down in the Gaslamp. So I pop up, and then I’m like, “Oh, there he is.” So I had to have another beer, get my courage going because I’m a pretty shy guy. Then I went up to him, I was like, “Hey Joe. Are you Joe?” And he goes, “yeah.” I go, “Hey, I’m Joe.” And then I was star struck. So without further ado…

AC: That was all you could say? (laughs)

JA: Yeah that’s it. And then I was just, “Hey can I buy you a beer?” So I got Joe Saul-Sehy on the line. Joe, welcome to the show, my friend.

JSS: The good news, Joe. And Al, is it the restraining order is on the way?

AC: (laughs) I think that’s a good call. In fact, you probably shouldn’t come to Southern California. Just Sayin’.

JA: It’s Friday night. You don’t think I have something better to do? No, I’m stalking Joe Saul-Sehy.

AC: That’s why you’re single, Joe.

JA: (laughs) Yeah, exactly. Joe, tell our listeners here – you started this podcast, Stacking Benjamins, which I think is phenomenal. It’s a personal finance show. What was the genesis behind the podcast, and tell us a little bit about it?

JSS: So. Thanks for having me, by the way, guys, I knew this was going to be fun. On Stacking Benjamins there are so many people out there that are giving great advice about money, that I really didn’t want to compete in that department. I just wanted to have a surround sound kind of show like Car Talk. if you’re familiar with NPR’s old Car Talk with Cook and Clack, you listen to that show, it’s a phenomenal show, ostensibly about cars, but you never learn anything about a car. And that’s kind of our mantra is that if you learn anything listening to Stacking Benjamins, that’s your problem. (laughs) Our goals are headlines, it’s a magazine style show. We have great discussions just about current events and financial planning and making sure that people have the type of great help that’s out there, and that they don’t get waylaid by some of the people that are a little sketchier than they should be.

JA: You were in the industry for what, 16 17 years, and you just said hey I had enough?

JSS: That’s kind of a funny story. So I loved financial planning. I owned an Ameriprise franchise, actually and I did media for Ameriprise, I was one of 12 advisors in the nation that were allowed to speak on behalf of the company, before going through compliance. You guys know what a bear for those companies compliance is, right?

JA: Yeah, everything we talked about is always “hypothetical” or “allegedly.” (laughs)

AC: (laughs) Yeah exactly, like, “I met this client last week – hypothetically.” (laughs)

JSS: Right. Well and that’s also the funny thing about compliance is that I’ve become the master at talking for an hour and saying absolutely nothing. (laughs)

AC: We’re pretty good at that too.

JSS: (laughs) You guys got that down. I had a mentor who was kind of one of the regional management guys, and he wrote a letter. And you guys know that in the financial industry, in the trenches, you don’t write a letter saying that you’re leaving the company. You leave at midnight, you take the client files, and 6 a.m. everybody’s calling to see who keeps the client. But he didn’t do that. He said, “Listen I work way too many hours to know what I really want to do. I liked financial planning but I don’t love it. And I think unless this reincarnation thing is true, I only have one shot to do this.” And that really spoke to me, because I do love financial planning, but I thought there were other things I wanted to do. I wanted to become a teacher. He used this phrase where he said, “I have other mountains to climb,” and what’s awesome about Chris is that he climbed Mt. Everest twice after he decided not to do financial planning anymore. And that just hit me hard. I was turning 40, so I sold my business, went to school to become a teacher, and then I realized that the teaching I like doing is all about money. I’d love the money teaching stuff, just being in the trenches, working with individual families was fun, but not the grind that I personally was looking for, so that’s kind of how Stacking Benjamins was born. It allowed me to talk about money in a way where we kind of learn through play.

JA: You know, Joe, that just inspired me. I just turned 40.

AC: You’re going to climb Everest now? (laughs)

JA: I’m writing a letter over the weekend. (laughs)

AC: You got more mountains to climb. Why don’t you start with Cowles Mountain in San Diego? Takes you 20 minutes.

JSS: Either that or buy a Corvette. (laughs)

JA: So tell us the genesis of the show. How long has it been? You’re the number one ranked financial podcast. How did that happen?

JSS: I don’t know. It was amazing, Kiplinger just called us number one last week. Art of Manliness, which is a big site for men, just put us on 27 podcasts that men should listen to. And I have no idea how that happened. I think if you make – no matter what you do, whether it’s making widgets or making podcasts, or doing your radio show, being a financial planner, whatever it is. If you build something that is the kind of thing that you would like, and then you just hope like heck there are people as weird as you that like the similar stuff, then I think good things happen. Because all we’ve ever focused on is just trying to put out the best product that we possibly can. And people seem to come.

JA: There’s a lot of things that are going on in the world today, and money is such an emotional part of people’s lives. And for your podcast, when people listen to it, I think it eases some of that emotion. Because when you just hear the dollars and cents, and inflation is going to wipe you out, and the stock market is going to go to zero, and you’ve got to buy gold, and everything else. But when you listen to your podcast, it’s like, “I’m learning something. This is fun. And everything will be OK.”

JSS: But you guys know, you guys both know, because I hear it on your show, that it’s all behavior. There’s all this noise going on. You’ve got all these big media, CNBC, Fox Business, and they all have these talking heads, and everybody’s talking about all the stuff you needed to do now. Yet you know, most of the time, the thing you should do is absolutely nothing. Study after study shows that the thing a great advisor brings to the table, or that a great mentor, a great coach brings to the table, is convincing you that holding the line is the perfect thing for you to do. So if you started a workout program, sticking with it. If you started a diet, stick with it. If you’ve got your asset allocation plan, your diversified approach to your money, stick with it. And it’s so sad, because we get letters all the time like you guys do, about people that – the trap they fall into is they let somebody convince them that sticking with it wasn’t the right thing.

JA: Right. There’s a study that was done, I’m sure you’ve heard this study with soccer goalies. Let’s say you have a penalty kick, and the goalie’s there, and that kick is coming at that goalie so fast, they have no idea if it’s going to go right left or center. And so they did a statistical analysis. And if the goalie just stood there and did nothing, they would save more goals. Could you imagine a penalty kick,  World Cup, and the goalie just stands there? People would like freak out. But they have to dive. And that’s why I’m like, “why is he diving right when the ball went left?” Because they have no clue, it reacts. So with being a goalie, you have to react, or else you look like you’re not necessarily doing your job. And I think that’s true with investments when you hear, “Hey, markets are at all time highs. Interest rates are at all time lows. What is going on with this election? Tax rates are going to change,” and so on. So people feel that they have to react to that.

JSS: To your point, Joe, I had a trainer at near the end of my first year as financial advisor, who said something that I still think today – I thought was horrible at the time. I still think it’s horrible. He said because the market was kind of shaky at this at this point, and he said, “listen when clients come in and the market’s shaky, you’ve got to move something.” And I said, “Yeah but we set this up because it’s the right thing to do.” He goes, “Yeah, but your goal is to stay hired. Your goal is not to have good financial planning, your goal is to stay hired. And if you don’t move something, then they’re going to fire you.” And I thought, “what horrible advice, just to move something, just to make sure that I keep my job. Like if I’m really good at my job, I’ve got the guts to sit in there and look my client in the eye and say, “we set this up for a reason. And now it’s time for the battle to begin, and we do have to stand here.” So I can just imagine that soccer goalie saying, “Well Coach, it was the right thing for me.”

JA: (laughs) Exactly. “Hey Coach, I saved the ball.”

JSS: “Who cares, you looked horrible!” (laughs)

JA: “You looked like a moron! Move!” (laughs) There was a study done too on financial advisors. Since we’re ripping on our profession. They looked at, right after 2008-2009. This was a recent study, I think it was just a few years back, and they asked financial professionals, “Hey, have you changed your investment philosophy after 2008?” And what do you think most advisors said, yes or no?

JSS: It’s got to be yes.

JA: Yes, of course, it’s like 90% of them. “Oh yeah, of course, I’ve changed.” So what are they doing, they’re buying high now. If they would have just stayed with their strategy… it’s so funny it’s like you didn’t have confidence then, why would I stay with you? If you didn’t know what you’re doing then, how do I know what you’re doing now? If you have no clue really of how markets work, and correlations and diversification, blah blah blah, but they felt that they had to move. Advisors were having PTSD! You should not be in the business! (laughs)

JSS: I think it is fun to rip financial advisors because there are some that are really bad. But I’ll tell you a lesson that I heard far too often, was people would say, “well, I had a financial advisor, they stunk, so I’m not doing that.” And every smart person I ever had, Joe, when I was an advisor, every smart person that was a client of mine was somebody that could have done my job on their own, but they always went to an advisor, because they needed somebody good looking over their shoulder. It just doesn’t have one that sucks. You don’t say, “well I tried to drive that car and that car wasn’t driving straight, so I’m not driving cars anymore.” (laughs) It doesn’t make sense. And there’s certainly enough people, we could just rip advisors all day. But there’s also some excellent people out there in the business, who I really look up to.

JA: I know you’ve got to go, and we blew up our clock here, but I don’t care. (laughs) Dr. Daniel Crosby, I heard him on your show. He was actually on our show just a few weeks, actually, after I heard him on your show. I called him to book him on my show.

JSS: Brilliant!

JA: Yeah, so just keep on getting good guests Joe, because I’m just going to…

AC: Joe, we steal everything from your show. So all your guests are coming here.

JSS: That’s great. “Welcome to Stacking Hamiltons!” (laughs)

JA: Oh, just wait for it, brother. (laughs) I forgot I was going to say. Oh. All right. The benefit that a financial advisor brings. They surveyed a lot of really good financial advisors, and the financial advisors were saying, “I think the biggest value add that I can bring to my client is to make sure that they stay on track. That they have the right financial strategy in mind. That when they get emotional or they want to do stupid things, we help them and consult them to make sure that they don’t run out of money.” So the majority of the advisors felt that that was their main purpose. But then they asked the client. And I think only 6% felt that they needed any type of that coaching whatsoever. So there’s such a huge disconnect within the industry itself. I wholly believe that is true, that a good financial advisor is to help people accomplish their goals through good times, bad times and so on. But there’s so much overconfidence on the other side of the table, it’s like, “well I don’t need that, I need you to help me pick the best stock.” And I mean, seriously?

JSS: I think it takes a lot of guts to hire somebody who’s going to be your own personal Gordon Ramsay. I think it takes guts to be the type of client that wants to hire somebody who’s going to say, “you know what Al, you really messed that up. You stepped in it today big time pal.” And it’s hard for advisors to do that because, like my trainer said my first year, “well, you don’t want the client to fire you.” But I found the blunter I got, and the more I just challenge people about their thinking when I disagreed with it, the more people wanted to hire me. And that’s probably who you should be looking for if you’re out there searching for an advisor.

JA: That’s Joe Saul-Sehy. Go to StackingBenjamins.com please. Go to StackingBenjamins.com. I am telling you, I love the podcast. I stalked this man. Thanks for the beer by the way, and the T-shirt, I wear it every Saturday.

AC: He’s lying, he wears it every day.

JSS: Yeah I was going to say he probably hasn’t washed it yet. (laughs)

JA: It still has your stench on it, Joe! I can’t!

JSS: Well, Stacking Benjamins is not that great a show, but it’s a hell of a lot better than this one. (laughs) That’s our new slogan.

JA: (laughs) Exactly. All right we got to take a break. The show is called Your Money, Your Wealth. We’ll be back in a second.

Can your portfolio stand up to a stress test? Find out! Visit YourMoneyYourWealth.com and sign up for free financial assessment with a Certified Financial Planner who will stress test your portfolio. Are you on track for retirement? How much money will you need in retirement? How much income can you get from your portfolio? What Social Security strategies are available to you? Are your investments aligned with your goals? Stress test your portfolio: sign up for a free two-meeting assessment with a Certified Financial Planner at YourMoneyYourWealth.com

Time now for Big Al’s List: Every week, Big Al Clopine scours the media to find the best tips, do’s and don’ts, mistakes, myths and advice to improve your overall financial picture – in handy bullet-point format. This week: 10 Steps To Get Ready For Retirement

37:04 – Big Al’s List: 10 Steps To Get Ready For Retirement (AARP)

AC: You ready for retirement?

JA: I am not ready. Not even close.

AC: Okay. Here’s what you need to do. Step one. According to AARP, define your retirement. You probably have some kind of idea how you like to spend your retirement. But here’s where you should write down what your objectives are, what your goals are. And here, at this point, don’t focus on the budget. What do you want to do? What are your goals? And try to be as specific as you can. Instead of, “I’d like to travel,” maybe something more like, “I’d like to take trips to the ocean,” or “I’d like to do walking tours in foreign countries,” or whatever it may be for you. And the suggestion in this article, Joe, is to try to limit it to your top five goals. You could spend days, weeks, months on this, but let’s not get too carried away. Let’s just come up with some of the top goals. It doesn’t mean this can’t change, of course, it can change anytime that you want to. But the idea is you quantify what some of those big picture items are for you, to kind of start framing your retirement.

JA: This is very difficult. I mean myself, right now, just listening to that, is difficult for me to even comprehend, to be honest with you.

AC: Do you want to do walking tours in foreign countries? (laughs)

JA: (laughs) No, not really. But I’m 42. So yeah, it’s hard for me to identify, kind of what my retirement is going to look like. But we have conversations, Al. So now, you just turned 60. So it’s like, can you see yourself retired? You’re a hard charger. I mean, we love what we do, so it’s a little bit different. What is that going to look like? I need hobbies because I’m so entrenched in this business that it’s killing me. So, this weekend I bought a new set of golf clubs. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve played.

AC: Oh, I played golf on Sunday, we’ll get you out there.

JA: Sure. So it’s like, OK, I got to think of something to start building some hobbies, versus reading financial planning books on the weekends and things like that. (laughs) As we talk to successful people that might have the budget in line, that have the dollars and cents in line, but now what are you going to do? “I don’t know.”

AC: Right. And that’s where you gotta start thinking about that. And so the suggestion is, come up with the goals, don’t worry at this point about what they’re going to cost. We’re going to get to that in a minute. The second thing, Joe, is to take stock of your assets, and that’s kind of basic. Let’s figure out how much money you have in the bank, and how much money you have in retirement accounts. Maybe even look at your non-traditional assets, like I don’t know, what if you like to restore cars? Maybe you’ve got some value there. Or your hobbies, or if you have hobbies, is that something you could actually turn into an income stream in retirement? Kind of kind of take a look at what you got. That’s kind of basic. We all gotta do that. Step three is evaluating your health. Now. Is what it says. To get the most out of your retirement, and life in general, you want to be as healthy as possible. And few of us enjoy doctor’s visits, a little preventative medical attention can go a long way. And what the suggestion is, and this is true for everybody, but especially as you get close to retirement. Go ahead and do your annual physical. Have your teeth checked, all kinds of things, and come up with a plan with your doctor or medical professional on how you can maintain your current health, or how you can improve it, if you need to improve certain things, so you can live kind of that life that you wanted to live.

JA: Right. I think with a lot of people with their health, it’s the same thing with their finances. They don’t want to go to the doctor, because, “hey, I know I’m not feeling great. There’s probably something there, but let’s not. I don’t want to know about it.” And same with my finances. “I hope everything is going to work out,” versus getting in and saying, “what do I need to do.”

AC: Right. And here’s the three big ones, we already know what they are: eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Done. It’s all you got to do. You don’t need 100 books on how to get healthy.

JA: You know, that’s a multi-billion, billion dollar industry is weight loss. But yeah, three things, that’s it.

AC: But to kind of make this real, if it’s eating healthy, well, there’s certain healthy foods that you just don’t like. But there are other ones that you do so, let’s focus on those. And certain kinds of exercise that you enjoy more than others, maybe you enjoy going for a hike or walking on the beach more than running on a treadmill at the gym. I mean whatever it is for you. And also, commit to staying mentally sharp. And some people like to use brain games, puzzles, and books, and other people just like to stay engaged with others or read books or learn something new. I read a book by John Wooden on mentoring and he was 96 years old when he wrote it, and the main takeaway I took away from that book was that he was constantly learning at age 96, and that’s what kept him sharp. And I think that’s true for all of us. Number four is: determine when to collect Social Security. Boy, that’s a loaded one, and we’ve done entire shows on that. But just some basics: your full retirement age this year is 66 years and two months. But you can take it early. As early as age 62. You could take it later, as late as age 70. And any month along the way. The point is, the sooner you take it you’re going to have a reduced benefit relative to taking it later. And here’s the quick numbers. I’ll just make it simple math, a lot of you will have more income, but you’ll understand. If it’s $1000 of Social Security income at full retirement age, we’ll just say it’s 66 to make it easy math. You’re going to get about $750 a month at age 62 if you take it then. And you’ll get about $1,320 if you wait until age 70. So it’s a pretty big difference. And a lot of you, you’re receiving benefits of over $2000, and so it can make a pretty large difference in your overall retirement.

JA: And there are so many different factors that you have to look at there, too. Are you married, are you single, were you married, how long were you married, what was your spouse’s benefit, do you have a survivor benefit, how about the spousal benefit, what’s your tax situation, what’s your other assets, what’s your longevity, what’s your health, what’s the long-term goal of the money, do you need the money, do you not need the money, do you take it and spend it, do you take it and invest it, do you have other assets, do you think that the system’s going bust, what’s your personal preference, how do you feel about not having that guaranteed fixed income source as soon as you retire, versus creating the income on your own and pushing it off to get a higher benefit later? I mean, yeah, it’s a loaded question for sure.

AC: Right. Another one, Joe, step five is to make sure you network with friends or acquaintances or new people. You can do that through just going to a coffee shop and meeting new people. Set up a kind of a regular thing to get to know people. Some people like to be on social media.

JA: So what do you do? You go to a coffee shop and say, “Hey, what are you drinking?”

AC: (laughs) That’s exactly what you do.

JA: “Do you mind if I sit down?” “No, get the hell outta here! I’m reading the paper!”

AC: No, here’s what happens is this: so you probably have a friend or acquaintance that you start this with, and you probably meet some people. I mean if you show up roughly the same time each week, or even every day, you’re going to start to see the same people and start to carry on conversations, and next thing you’re part of a community. Joe, you and I have plenty of networking opportunities at Pure Financial, because we’ve got over 50 people, we’ve got 1800 plus clients, but when you retire, it’s not as easy. You kind of have to make a greater effort to continue that.

JA: Yeah it’s tough. I mean, I’ve been going to the same spin classes for years.

AC: How many people have you met?

JA: I see the same faces, I don’t say hi, it’s like five o’clock in the morning. I got a hat on, I’m tired, I want to get my work out and get out. Maybe I should – I’ll practice that over the summer.

AC: And some people do it through their church. Some people do it through volunteer organizations or hobbies. You get to know like-minded people, whatever. There are different ways to do it. Maybe you going to a coffee shop isn’t going to be, since you don’t drink coffee. (laughs)

JA: Yeah, right.

AC: Number six is deciding how much you want to, or need to work. And we know that there are benefits of working, in terms of keeping sharp, the whole social network that we just talked about, and of course adding purpose, and additional income. And for some people, that’s going to be a very key part, the financial part. Which is, not everyone has saved enough to live the kind of retirement they want. And so then if you really need to work, then it’s a matter of looking at it, whether it’s, “OK, can I can I sort of cut out my expenses because they don’t really want to work at all.” That’s obviously one choice, or, “no, I want to have a certain lifestyle” and maybe you gotta work part time, or be a consultant or something. Sometimes though, Joe, I think a lot of people assume they’re going to retire. It’s going to be easy to be a consultant, to make half of what I made working a quarter of the time. That’s not been our experience with folks that have tried that.

JA: It’s very very challenging. There are multiple scenarios. You got an early retirement. Maybe it’s a nice little golden handshake. Hundred thousand bucks. I’m taking it. I’ve been working for this company for 30 years, and I’m going to take a little hiatus, six, eight months, and then I’m going to go back out there and consult. A year goes by. How’s that consulting gig going? Two years go by. Oops, I need to get a lot more money out of my retirement account. Well, that was in the plan, you thought you were going to make $150,000 consulting in a year. So you have to be realistic. I think it’s true for some people to get that gig, but I think people sugarcoat. I don’t get it. It’s like, “Well yeah, I think I’ll make $150,000.” What are you talking about? No, it’s really difficult to do!

AC: It’s easier said than done. Joe, seven and eight are related. Creating a retirement budget, finding new ways to cut expenses. No one likes to have a budget. But here’s a suggestion that AARP says is, just track your expenses and income for a couple of months, just to get an idea what you’re spending money on. And typically when you do that, then you get a sense of, “Oh boy, I am eating out way more than I thought” or, “it’s way more expensive to do this or that or whatever it may be.” And then you can actually intelligently sit down and say, “alright we watch TV, we watch HBO a couple of times a week, but we don’t need the 500 other channels.” Or whatever it may be. There are lots of things that can be cut when you’re trying to make your resources stretch and live with kind of retirement life that you want to live.

JA: Sure. But you can’t look at Netflix of 13 bucks a month and think getting rid of that is going to change everything. It’s like, “Oh that Pandora Plus.” (laughs)

AC: That’s right I’m spending $60 instead of free for the year.

JA: Yes, OK, $60. But when you’re making six figures and you’re looking, “well, no more Netflix, OK that’s $13.” You’ve got to get a little bit bigger thought process.

AC: You do. You do. Number nine is: prepare for the unexpected, and unfortunately, things happen, whether it’s medical or… medical is probably the biggest one, but you want to make sure you have the right kind of insurance for whatever may happen.

JA: Right. I think it’s not always death and disability, it’s divorce. We’ve seen one spouse comes in just totally shocked. I’ve been married for 30 years and my spouse decided that this is something that he or she didn’t want to do. And now what? So you want to make sure that you understand your finances, you understand what’s going on with both parties of the spouses, and making sure that God forbid if someone were to die or get disabled or divorced, that you know what the heck is going to happen and have contingency plans.

AC: Another big one, Joe, is long term care. And a lot of people are surprised to find out that Medicare does not cover long-term care should you need to go into a facility. Maybe you can handle it for a few weeks or month or several months, but years? Maybe, maybe not. And you don’t necessarily need long-term care insurance, but you need to kind of think out a plan. For a lot of people, Joe, by default the equity in their home becomes what they use to pay for long-term care if they need it.

JA: Right. But you have to look at the surviving spouse, or the spouse that’s healthy. That’s what most people, “well, it’s not going to happen.” Well if it does happen, it’s a $100,000 additional expense per year. Where’s that going to come from? So you gotta spend down your assets to get on Medical or Medicaid, depending on what state you’re listening to this. Then the surviving spouse or the spouse that’s healthy is living off of peanuts. Is that really the goal, is that the plan? Well no here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to divorce the spouse that’s sick, so I could preserve my assets. All right, good luck on that.

AC: These are tough decisions as you get older. Joe, the 10th one is sticking to your plan. You’ve gone through these other nine steps, you got a plan. It’s it’s really easy to kind of revert to old habits if you don’t pay attention. Some people find a coach or an advisor is a good way to do it. Some people, one of their friends, they just kind of keep each other accountable or in check, or maybe their kids, or maybe you’re disciplined. Maybe you can do it on your own. But make sure that when you come up with the plan, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it along the way, but you kind of want to make sure that, “gosh, I’ve worked out this plan, and on paper, it works. So stick to it, because it’s it’s easy to forget.

JA: What’s that old saying? How many days does it take to create a habit? You just want to be disciplined for a certain period of time and then all of a sudden, it just becomes a habit. Part of your routine. So it’s really difficult to get started. But then, if you are disciplined enough for 30, 60, 90 days, then it’s just it’s going to become a habit. And it’s going to be easier. So if you could just bear down and make sure that you have that personal connection or coach or whoever that’s going to help you, it will get a lot easier.

Your Money, Your Wealth isn’t just a podcast, it’s also a TV show! Check out Your Money, Your Wealth on YouTube to see Joe and Big Al talking about planning for retirement over your entire lifespan, investing biases you may not realize you have, Social Security claiming strategies, and… Pure Financial Feud! Watch clips of the Your Money, Your Wealth TV Show – just search YouTube for Pure Financial Advisors and Your Money, Your Wealth.

It’s time to dip into the email bag, with financial questions courtesy of Advisor Insights from Investopedia, and you, the Your Money Your Wealth listeners. Joe and Big Al are always willing to answer your money questions! Email info@purefinancial.com – or you can send your questions directly to joe.anderson@purefinancial.com, or alan.clopine@purefinancial.com

52:56 – Do you think I should get a more concrete idea of my girlfriend’s finances, or can I just assume that everything will be OK and she won’t jump into something like this if she can’t afford it?

JA: Maybe a good father figure should be answering some of these, since I’ve never been married, nor a father. I think you would be a better candidate to answer some of these.

AC: OK. And I’ve been both, and am both still. (laughs)

JA: So here is the question. I’ve been with this girl for a couple of years now, and we’re beginning to discuss getting our own place and moving in together. I have a good career. And my girlfriend seems to have a nice job as well, although I can’t tell you exactly how much she makes. It’s not a topic we’ve really dived into, although she surely seems to be living comfortably in her own right. If we are now talking about getting a place together, should I be asking her specific questions about how much she makes, how much she can contribute, what is her other finances, how much has she saved? Do you think I should get a more concrete idea of my girlfriend’s finances, or can I just assume that everything will be OK and she won’t jump into something like this if she can’t afford it?

AC: As a father, of course, I have sons, but – well, I guess this is this is a son asking. I would say without a doubt you need to have that conversation on finances. It can be a little awkward if you haven’t done it before. But boy, assuming it’s going to work out – that’s not a really good idea. I mean, if you think about if you’re a landlord, and you’re bringing in a tenant, this is a little different, but think about your landlord. You fill out a rental application, and a credit check is obtained, generally. And the landlord evaluates whether you can actually afford this place that you’re trying to rent. I think, in matters like this, you’re much better off being open, having a discussion, and maybe you preface it with, “I think we should discuss this, and I want to talk about my finances, and I’d like to talk about your finances,” maybe set up a time where you won’t be distracted. But no, it’s very important to have these kinds of discussions.

JA: So you’re going to set an appointment, and you’re going to ask for a credit check? (laughs)

AC: “Here, I need you to fill out this application.” (laughs)

JA: Yes, here’s an application for love. (laughs) No, I agree with you.

AC: I mean that’s awkward though, right?

JA: Yeah. I mean, I guess if you’ve been with someone for long enough, you kind of get a little bit of an idea of what they make.

AC: You would think. This is a girlfriend for two years. I’ve had a few relationships, I had, maybe, let me try to think, maybe a couple girlfriends of at least two years before I actually met Ann got married. And I can’t say I knew everything, but I knew what they were making, and I had a good sense of what they had saved.

JA: Yeah, because I think it’s going to bite you in the rear end down the road. Because if you look today, most divorces, it’s because of finances.

AC: Yeah, that’s at least a huge factor. Yeah. Probably the first factor.

JA: Because it creates a lot of stress. And then if you’re a saver, she’s a spender or vice versa, she’s a saver, you’re a spender. Then there’s resentment, “you’re spending my money.” And what do you do, you know?

AC: And here’s what can happen. So she may, and maybe it’s you, I’m not going to pick on her, but one of you may be a spender, and the appearance is you’re making plenty of income, but it’s all going on credit cards. And then you get together….

JA: And it’s just a house of cards.

AC: Right. It falls apart.

JA: Yeah, that’s tough. I don’t know, I’ve never had – with my last girlfriend, it wasn’t like, “Hey, let’s set a time. And please fill out this credit application.” (laughs) Because like she would complain and freak out to me. She’s like, “I got 8 bucks left in my checking account.” I’m like, “how the hell do you live?” So I’ve helped her. I helped her with a lot of different things.

AC: And I’m basing that on the fact that they’ve been together for two years, and have not had these kinds of talks, so I’m guessing it’s awkward. I mean, these kinds of talks can be awkward for anybody.

JA: We’ve seen couples that are married that still try to keep everything kind of private and separate.

AC: Well, and I would say that’s probably more common when it’s a second or third marriage.

JA: Right, and both spouses have assets.

AC: They have assets, they have their own money, and in some cases, we’ve seen husband or wife with the money, and they just don’t really want to share it with the other one, ‘sand certainly that’s your prerogative. But man, I think when you’re first starting out, being open and communicating is much better than not.

JA: All right. That’s very good advice, Alan.

AC: Good. Now when you become a dad you’ll know what to say.

JA: Thank you. I’m going to go back to this podcast. Or my wife, future ex-wife I guess, wherever she’s at.

AC: I think the office pool has you getting married at 57.

JA: Age 57?!

AC: Yeah.

JA: Oh god. That’s awful.

AC: I’m kidding. No, it’s not.

JA: I got, what, 15 years?

AC: 15 years to get your act together.

JA: OK. Sounds good. Let’s see.

59:01 – My wife owns an LLC. So that’s a limited liability company. Will she be able to open a Solo 401(k) or SEP-IRA? Does money invested have to be directly from proceeds of her LLC?

AC: Oh these are great questions. So the first answer is yes, you can set up a Solo 401(k), if you don’t have any employees, we’ll make that qualification. A Solo 401(k) means there’s only one participant, meaning you, the owner. So if you have employees, and an employee is defined as somebody that works more than 1000 hours per year for you. If you have someone that works very part time, it’s less than that, then they’re not considered an employee for this purpose. And you can still have a Solo 401(k.) Now a Solo 401(k) allows you to put up to $18,000 of your profits in the LLC, and your profits in the LLC are considered your earned income. In other words, it’s kind of just like your salary. So you do have to have profits to be able to put the $18,000 in. If your profits are $10,000, let’s just say, then you could put $10,000 into that Solo 401(k), and for you accountants out there it’s a little trickier. The are a couple other calculations, but that’s roughly the idea is, you can put in what your profit is, up to $18,000. And if you’re 50 and older, it’s $24,000. That’s the amount that you can actually put into this. Whether you actually fund it directly from the LLC? Because a lot of people will take their profit out and spend it, and then, oh, after the fact because you can do this – you have to set up the plan by December 31st, but you can actually make the contribution all the way up until when you file your tax return in the following year. Which could be as late as October 15th for an individual on an extension. And you’ve already spent the money. So here’s the way that should do that is, you can loan money back to the LLC. And then the LLC has the money. You probably want to make that payment to the 401(k) from the LLC. That’s a lot cleaner. But yet, then there’s another issue. Now we’re going deep. If you don’t have enough tax basis in the LLC at year end, meaning that there are no assets, because you drew all the money, then you may not be able to actually make that contribution, because you can’t take a deduction if you don’t actually have a basis in the entity. Now that’s a little trickier. You can call me on that, or you can talk to your account for more explanation on that. But the basic rule is that, yeah, it doesn’t have to be those actual profits.

JA: It’s not like a payroll… like if I’m working for a firm, like I do, so my 401(k) contributions are directly from my paycheck, but if I’m self-employed, I can make larger or smaller contributions. I have a little bit more flexibility.

AC: Well you do. That’s a really good point you bring up, Joe, because when you’re an LLC or sole proprietorship, you just make a single contribution and it can be the employee contribution, that’s $18,000, it can be the employer part, which in the L.L.C world is 20% of your salary. When you’re an S-Corp it’s different though. When you’re an S-Corp, you only can do these contributions from your actual salary, not the profits from the S-corporation, and the employee part, the $18,000, has to come out of your salary. So it depends upon your entity, I guess, as to how you actually have to do this.

JA: Right. So it gets a little bit confusing, but you might have more flexibility. But I think they’re on the right track to take a look at, I’m a sole proprietor, I have an LLC. Can I set up Solo 401(k) or a SEP plan, versus maybe just a standard IRA, because the SEP or the Solo 401(k), you can put a lot more dollars in?

AC: Right. Now this whole tax basis rule: some accounts will argue that since it’s a single member LLC, if that’s what it is, just you as the owner. It’s a disregarded entity, for federal tax purposes. And then, in that sense, there really isn’t a basis issue because it’s all one in the same – it’s you. You and your LLC are the same. Some accountants would say that’s a moot point in that example.

JA: Next week big will still be out of town. I have to go to Minnesota to see my niece graduate from high school. And so will be back in a few weeks. We’ll see you later. The show’s called Your Money, Your Wealth.


So, to recap today’s show: The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule is a good thing because it means financial planners are required to look out for your best interests. When choosing a financial advisor, don’t be like Big Al with his travel agent – find out how they get paid. Determine your goals, finances, budget and health situation to make sure you’re prepared for retirement. And, if you’re moving in with your girlfriend, definitely discuss finances first. In just about all aspects of today’s show, communication and preparation are key.

Joe Anderson would especially like to thank his idol, Joe Saul-Sehy, from the Stacking Benjamins podcast, for coming on Your Money, Your Wealth while waiting for the restraining order to come through. Check out StackingBenjamins.com

Subscribe to this podcast at YourMoneyYourWealth.com, through your favorite podcatcher or on iTunes, where you can also check out our ratings and reviews. And remember, this show is about you! If there’s something you’d like to hear on Your Money, Your Wealth, just email info@purefinancial.com. Listen next week for more Your Money, Your Wealth, presented by Pure Financial Advisors. For your free financial assessment, visit PureFinancial.com

Pure Financial Advisors is a registered investment advisor. This show does not intend to provide personalized investment advice through this broadcast and does not represent that the securities or services discussed are suitable for any investor. Investors are advised not to rely on any information contained in the broadcast in the process of making a full and informed investment decision.

Your Money, Your Wealth Opening song, Motown Gold by Karl James Pestka, is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.