Make It Last – Ep 146 – It Pays to Keep An Open Mind

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This week on Make It Last Victor and Mark discuss the client experience at Medina Law Group and what to expect when you sit down with the team.

Then, Victor explains all of the reasons why it pays to keep an open mind when doing your legal and financial planning.

He also talks about the benefits of having an independent financial advisor.

To access additional information, please visit: Are You Paying Too Much In Taxes In Retirement?’ Free Guide

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Make It Last with Victor Medina is hosted by Victor J. Medina, an estate planning and Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Certified Financial Planner professional (CFP). Through his law firm and independent registered investment advisory company, Victor provides 360º Wealth Protection Strategies for individuals in or nearing retirement.

Full Transcription Below

Mark Elliot:  Welcome to “Make It Last” with Victor Medina. I’m Mark Elliot. Victor’s got two companies, so we’re going to talk about both of those companies today on the program ‑‑ Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth.

Victor focuses on traditional estate planning, right? Medina Law Group. He works with Palante Wealth, asset protection, retirement distribution, proactive income tax planning.

Victor has been featured on national television, “Wall Street Journal,” “Hamilton Post,” “US News & World Report.” We are going into depth today. What is the client experience like?

If you want to have your estate planned ‑‑ you don’t really have an estate but you feel like your estate needs a plan…Really, it’s not just for the wealthy, we’ll talk about that today as well. You want to go in to sit down with Victor and the team at Medina Law Group, what’s that like? What’s that experience like?

Maybe you want to find out, “Hey, can I retire? Do I have enough? Will my money last? Will my loved ones be OK if something happens to me? Maybe that’s the Palante Wealth side, the holistic planning for your retirement side. What happens if you go in and sit down with them? What’s it like, what is the experience like?”

Victor, right out of the gate, I’m going to guess this isn’t like going to the dentist and having a root canal. Right?

Victor Medina:  No.


Victor:  No, not at all. The thing about it is that most people don’t think about contacting their lawyer, contacting their financial advisors, side of like the thing that they want to do for fun and enjoyment. Understanding that we focus on in the client experience of shifting that around.

When you’re thinking about scripting that client experience so that people feel welcomed, and they’re put at ease from the moment they contact us to the moment that they walk into the office, the moment that their plan is complete.

That every moment of that drifts things through their eyes to make sure that they’re feeling comfortable and welcomed, understood, and cared for all along the way. The biggest source of pride that we get, when clients reflect back on what their experience is like, just how they were treated like family all the way through.

They would think, “This is what I would hope that my child would’ve done for me if they were an estate planner, or a financial advisor for what they were doing.” Very beginning part of that, reaching out to us, and making sure that you got to know about us, and schedule an appointment those types of thing.

The first source of contact is somebody who spends their time talking to people just like, “You’re our clients all the time.” Hears their stories, understands what their needs are. We’ve got a director of business and client strategy.

Her role is to make sure that she’s talking to clients and understanding what their needs are, making sure it’s an appropriate fit for the kind of planning that we do. She spends as much time as is necessary to make sure that we’ve got the right people in front of us, in front of the right planners on our side.

We want to make sure that we’ve got that great marriage along the way. To your point about not visiting the dentist, we want to demystify everything around there.

The moment that you make an appointment, whether you’re going to visit with us virtually, because we can definitely accommodate people that want to do that, or you want to come into the office, we’ll talk a little bit about what that experience is like too, but the moment you do that, we’re going to essentially a lot of information, an opportunity to learn more about us.

We’re going to send you a video series introducing you to the firm and to our planning, and to the people that are on the team. We’re going to send you some copies of our books if you’d like them so you can read through that.

We even have a nutshell guide. Say you don’t want to sit through 100‑page book, you just want to get a flavor for what we’re doing, we’ve got a nutshell guide. That’s about 35 pages or so that just explains really our biggest philosophies in around planning, what are those principles that we think are most important.

Every one of our clients gets that as part of a welcome package, before they even sit down for their first appointment. The other thing we’re going to do is we’re going to let you know what the process is going to be like, even before you settled in so there’s no mystery about what to expect. There’s no pressure, there’s no sales process, there’s no meeting where you’re going to be asked for any form of commitment afterwards.

We want to spend the time when we finally gets together, talking with you, getting an understanding about who you are, how you arrived here, what your goals are, what your biggest concerns, how we can help address them, and start to put together the framework of how to put a plan in place.

We’re going to talk a little bit about what that first meeting is like, but walking up to that or ramping up to that is this process to get you to be welcomed by our firm. Again, those videos that we send out are great opportunity to see some of the personalities that are involved, and make sure that it’s a great fit for you.

Because here’s the thing, we’re not the best fit for everybody that’s out there because sometimes we hug a little too much virtually. Sometimes we welcome people too much and that’s not what they want. They want people that are hands off, they want people that are cold and transactional and for people that are…That’s their mindset, we’re not a great fit.

If you are somebody that wants to be embraced and enveloped in an environment, a culture, a client family that is caring and as welcoming as holistic and thinks through everything, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re going to get a sense of that right from the first step.

Mark:  All that being said, I’m going to give you the number you might want to write it down. You might want to call right now, and make an appointment, but you might want to just write this number down and go, “All right, I’m going to hear what Victor has to say about his companies. I don’t have an estate plan yet I think I need one, but I don’t have it.”

“I want to…maybe a Medina Law Group so I should talk to you,” or “I’d love to retire in the next five years. I’m not really sure I have enough and if my money will last as long as I do.”

The number with no cost, no obligation, no pressure, no judgment either, 856‑506‑8300. Victor, you think about it. A few years ago, I had a car loan and I decided to get a different car and I went back to the bank that I had my loan. I didn’t like the odds, I didn’t like the percentages. I don’t think that’s very good. I went to one of their rivals and I got a better deal.

Then they said, “Why don’t you move all of your $10, $20 you have, over to us?” They’re like, “It’s painless, it’s really easy.”

That was not easy because now that I have so many things that most of us do today, where we just pay online, have on app or whatever, our banking’s done through the phone, and all that. It was not as easy as they said it was. People when they change, sometimes they just do nothing because they don’t want…

Changing doctors, your kids are 17, 14 and 8. Dylan probably goes to a different doctor than Aiden. We change doctors as we age. We probably should be changing financial advisors as we age because our needs change. How do you get people to get past that overanalyzing area, the analysis paralysis stage?

Victor:  There’s a couple of strategies that I think are important. I feel an overriding sense of an obligation to help a client and make sure that the plan that they want to put forward is actually implemented. How that relates to making the changes in the following way?

Let’s say you came to us and say, “Listen, we want to talk about putting an estate plan together, we need to update the trust, then we put some documents in place.” When you move forward with this…This is something I want to do.

We’re going to set up all of the appointments, so that you know exactly from the moment you said this is something I want to do, when is it that you’re going to have your design meeting, when are you going to be able to choose the people that are going to be involved in your plan, when are you going to sign the document, when is it going to be completed.

You actually know all of these dates from the beginning. That setting out that schedule, where we understand how do we get from step one to step two, what are the dates for that, what are the things that we’re going to accomplish in each one of those meetings, helps us get a sense of momentum propelling us forward.

I know that people left to their own devices do nothing. There’s not really a pressure that you’re going to do it. You’re going to abandon it at any point in time. The idea is that we don’t want to have a failure from a plan that a client wants to implement, simply because we don’t know what the next step is. Even when we’re signing the estate plan, for example, because all of our planning is revocable.

We say, “Look, we’re going to give you unlimited changes for the first six months, and so you’re going to be able to go in, and make any swaps wherever you want. That way, if you don’t like something that’s in there, you don’t feel like you’re so committed to it, that it’s going to be the worst decision.” I said, sleep on it.

Comes out of there, and you’re up in the middle of the night, maybe it wasn’t a great choice for you, we can shift it. If it doesn’t bother you after a few months, probably it was an OK decision.

In the financial side, you mentioned something going in there, where people are making a shift. It’s often that the person that they’re coming away from never did anything wrong. I don’t like taking the position that the financial place that you’re moving from is some horrible person that has somehow done something wrong…

Now, don’t get me wrong, Mark, sometimes there are some horrible people that do some wrong things, and I feel like I have to point it out when it happens.

For the majority of time, they were decent at what they did, they did some great accumulation, they got them in that great position and we should say, “Thank you.” The shift that we’re making is because we need a different strategist for a different phase in our lives. We have decided to focus our planning efforts, expertise, skills, strategies, on helping people in retirement, post‑retirement, pre‑retirement.

Getting to that different phase where they have to now take this nest egg that they’ve accumulated, and make that thing last. Have to generate a paycheck for themselves in retirement, make sure that they’re leaving a legacy behind, make sure that they plan for a long‑term care. All of those elements we are shifting the goals and the needs.

For that reason, often it’s a shift to strategies. What my experience is? My experience is that when we couch in those terms, when we understand that what we’re doing is just making a shift to a different need, and somebody who can fulfill that need, then we don’t actually encounter a lot of friction in making that happen.

Yes, there is some work that needs to get done, but we always link it back to the, “Were you better served with the strategies you came from, or the one that we’re going to now? Are your needs any different? If they are still at the same point in time, then we should still be moving forward on the plan that we put together.”

It is difficult to make a change. Change is difficult for people, generally. We get very comfortable where they’re at.

The best thing that we do is to show them that their experience is going to be fantastic off of it, that they’re going to feel as stable as they were when they didn’t move anywhere and they were caught up by inertia. They’re going to feel that same level of stability moving over here, because we’ve done this so many times before and it’s all that we do in terms of helping people in retirement.

Mark:  All right, so if we go back to 2006, that’s when Victor started the Medina Law Group. Victor’s a practicing estate planning and certified elder law attorney. Those clients were saying, “Why can’t you help us with the rest of our retirement planning?” Victor analyzed, and goes, “I don’t know why I can’t, I bet I can.”

He then started Palante Wealth, which is about holistic planning for your retirement. Victor is now a certified financial planner professional, a registered investment advisor. That company started in 2014.

Here’s the question. When I walk in the front door to the left is Medina Law Group, to the right is Palante Wealth. Or I walk into the building, I’m in Medina Law Group, and I’ve got to go across town to Palante Wealth. Where are we?

Victor:  It’s neither of those. More like the first one in terms of it’s better. One of the things that I love is the building that we’re in is a building that I bought, which is an old home. It was built in 1781. It was the first home of the mayor. It’s the home of the first mayor of Pennington, which is where we’re located. It’s a great old house.

The reason why I love that is that I love the sense that people are coming into our home. We’re helping them in that way. It’s not a big corporate park. It’s not this kind of antiseptic feeling. The moment you walked in, you’re walking into essentially what would be our living room. You walk in, and you walk in through…

We have an entrance in the rear. We come in from the back. When you do that, all of those companies, both of those companies, are all in the same building. They’re all in the same place. They co‑exist everywhere.

The person that helps with our events and our marketing is the event and marketing coordinator for both of our companies, which is to say for all of our clients. We think of them as one large client family. It could be that some people only want us to do legal work. It could be some people only want us to help in the financial world.

I will tell you that the biggest percentage of people see the value in having us help them in both. Then it becomes very comforting to know that the people that they talk to all know them throughout their continuum.

In other words, you talk to the paralegal. They know that you’re a financial client and what’s going on in that world. It’s one part of one overall plan that’s working synergistically. It’s working with its parts together. They don’t have to explain. Whoever they call talk to, whoever they call knows everything about them as one client family.

In fact, it’s even on the sign when you walk in. We were a total retirement planning firm. You’re going to see the logos of both companies on the sign when you pull into the driveway. Both places are here under one roof. We handle everything in‑house and with that same high‑level high touch for what we’re doing, whether you be a client, one or both, it doesn’t matter. We think about you as part of our client family.

Mark:  We’re going to come back. We’re going to talk about what do you expect when you come in to sit down with the teams that Victor have created to help you on your journey in retirement, whether it’s an estate plan, it’s a holistic retirement plan. What should you expect when you come in and sit down with a team and you walk into that old home?

What’s it going to be like? We’re going to talk about that. Victor is going to talk about the companies, the key people, the people that make it feel like a family. Something you’re very comfortable coming into chat with Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Here’s the number, 856‑506‑8300.

If you’d like to maybe start this process because it’s not a one meeting your client now. There’s a lot of moving parts. We’re going to get into that. How does this whole process work as well? Because, “Hey, Victor, when can I retire? Do I have enough? Will my money last as long as I do? Will my loved ones be OK if something happens to me?” We have a lot of questions, right?

We just want to know if we pull the plug on working and we head off into retirement, and we’ve got a purpose for what’s going to get us up out of bed every day, what do we need to do? Are we going to be OK? That’s really what want to know, 856‑506‑8300.

More of Make It Last with Victor Medina, we’re going to break down the companies. What do you expect? What can they both provide to us as well? Stay with us. This is Make it Last with Victor Medina.

Mark:  Welcome back to Make it Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. You can find out more about Medina Law Group just by going to, M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A, Palante Wealth as P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E,

Victor is a practicing estate planning and certified elder law attorney, so that’s Medina Law Group. Victor also has Palante Wealth, which is about holistic planning for your retirement. Victor is a certified financial planner professional, a registered investment advisor. You want to find out more, it’s

Victor is also the author of five books on retirement planning under his acclaimed Make it Last Series, and got some even for women on there as well, don’t you? You got a lot of information.

Victor:  I do. I think that informing the public is one of the most important activities we do. Because at the end of the day, what we want the opportunity to work with every family in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I wouldn’t be a business owner if I didn’t want to grow. I know at the end of the day, I can’t help everyone.

One of the ways that we do share this information as widely as possible is by writing these books, hosting this radio show and podcast so the people can listen to it, and spreading the information. I really want everybody to have the opportunity to take advantage of the best advice I had known, it’s available. I’m trying to share it as widely as I can.

Mark:  When you know better, you should be able to do better. Until you know better, maybe it’s a little bit difficult to make decisions. A lot of different ways, Victor and the team are here to help you. If you have questions, it’s 856‑506‑8300.

Victor, would your wife Jennifer, who was a school psychologist, if I said, “Jennifer, is Victor, a handyman? Does he do all the little odds and ends jobs around the house or do you have to call somebody in to do it,” what would she say?

Victor:  She’d say actually, yes. I look for modesty whenever I can. I am a pretty handy person. I installed my own hardwood floors in the first house that we went into. I can work with electricity. I have one thing I don’t do, Mark. I don’t do plumbing.

I’m nervous about messing that up. I know water can create a lot of damage. By the way, some of that other stuff that needs to flow can create damage. I stay away from plumbing, but put me in front of carpentry, put me in front of electricity, you’re going to get a good job.

Mark:  All right, so when you’re doing those kinds of jobs around the house, the right tools make a difference. Is that fair to say?

Victor:  Absolutely.

Mark:  When it comes to retirement, the right tools for what you need to provide for the lifestyle that you’re hoping for in retirement and the things you want to do, the bucket list items, and all of that, it is really important to have the right tools in your retirement toolkit.

Now, Victor, we could certainly go to Google and just put in retirement tools. There would be millions of search results. There’s a lot of information to sort through. You’re not sure of the source. Do I trust them? Do I not? How do I figure this out? Which is why you really should just call Victor with any questions you have, 856‑506‑8300.

There is an online toolkit from the federal government. It includes resources to help you learn about Social Security, about Medicare. Makes sense, those can be very confusing decisions to make, and also has the basics about retirement savings plan. The online toolkit from the federal government is Social Security, Medicare, and the basics about retirement savings plan. Is anything missing from that list?

Victor:  Could you walk around and fix your entire house with just a hammer and a screwdriver and a measuring tape? Probably not. You probably need a few more tools to make that be successful.

I think in the retirement planning world, it really extends to a couple of different areas that I’ll mention quickly here. You could imagine that we could have a very long discussion on the different kinds of tools, just as much as you would have in a completely full toolbox, where you’re talking about different kinds of hammers. Never mind just having a hammer. It’s going to be the same way in the financial world.

Let’s talk about a couple of additional tools that I think are important. One of them speaks near and dear to my heart. You know, of course, that I started my career as an estate planning attorney. We still have an active estate planning practice where I’m working, involved as a certified elder law attorney with all of our clients’ plans.

When we design those, one of the legal planning elements of retirement is very important. When we think about making sure you’ve got good base legal documents as you enter retirement so that you don’t create a potential problem in the future. You might be thinking, “What does that have to do with retirement? I’m trying to figure out how to be successfully retired.”

Well, imagine this, if you don’t have a valid power of attorney, you’re probably going to blow about $10,000 on a guardianship, and that’s really going to impact your nest egg. Having good legal documents is actually a financial problem or financial problem that you’re solving, something that you’re doing.

The other element of it in terms of finances, specifically using legal planning is how to avoid the impacts of long‑term care. What’s growing right now is a lot of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues, and the impact of that is that they’re staying more and more in assisted‑living facilities and having that cost a lot of money when you’re married.

Unfortunately, the rules require both spouses to essentially be poor. Legal planning can help preserve the assets so that you’re able to maintain a quality of life for that healthy spouse. The one element that I would first highlight on retirement tools that are missing is legal planning. The toolkit that is available in estate planning and specifically asset protection planning.

The next thing we look at and it’s not discussed at all in there in terms of different savings plans are within there different kinds of insurance products. Insurance products, generally when you get an insurance product, Mark, the reason why you’re getting it is to shift to the risk of something with a big, catastrophic loss that’s involved in it.

For example, if you are going to end up dying and losing out on, let’s say, pension income, the catastrophic loss is immense on that. We want to insure against that. I don’t know if someone’s going to die or when they’re going to die, but I want to insure against that.

When I do and I put a little insurance policy in place, what I’m able to do is make money appear when somebody dies, that kind of control for that risk. But the insurance product also does a really good job on getting guarantees that aren’t available by a general marketplace, like Wall Street investments.

Sometimes we use insurance products as part of a strategy to get a manufacturer paycheck and retirement. When you look at all of this stuff together, you’re blending, and it’s like, “OK, what am I pulling from off of it?”

Realize that most of the tools that are out there don’t come with any wisdom attached to it. What they’re doing is, saying, “Well, here are the basics on this kind of plan, here’s the basics on Social Security, it’s what you do with Medicare.”

They don’t give you any real advice about how to successfully navigate through that, because they’re not coming from the perspective of somebody that has navigated the lives of other people, [inaudible 20:50] plan. All my clients are in retirement and doing largely successfully off of it, meaning that they’re putting their plan in place. It’s working the way that we wanted to.

When we had that big hiccup, because of the pandemic and all of the accounts had this big backslide because the market’s corrupted, none of my clients called me, because we had a plan in place all ready to deal with the ups and downs that we’re going to be facing for the next 20‑25 years of their retirement.

We need to add that layer of experience and wisdom, in order to make all of these things work together. That’s all part of what would make a great toolkit in retirement.

Mark:  I would think the one thing that you could add would be taxes, tax planning.

Victor:  Tax planning, absolutely. Especially because in retirement, the IRS is your biggest business partner. They’re business partners of yours. They get to say how much of your winning they’re taking, and you can’t control what they’re going to change along the way.

I remember this [inaudible 21:36] Rogers quote, “The difference between taxes and death is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” For some reason, we’ve got to figure out how to navigate that because we can’t predict the future. Dealing and planning around taxes is important and I hit on part of all four of the elements of every plan that we create for a client.

When you come, you look at doing retirement planning. We’re looking at your income, investments, taxes and estate planning. We think those are the four pillars that create a great retirement plan and all elements of what would make a great retirement toolkit.

We do that for every one of our clients, we call it our Make It Last checkup plan, and what it allows us to do is diagnose what’s working right, where we need attention, what our recommendations are. It helps us chart a course for the future.

Mark:  I can tell you this, Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth are here to help you. Have a better idea, really where you can put your head on the pillow at night, maybe sleep a little bit better, ease some of that stress. 856‑506‑8300 is the number if you’d like to talk to Victor and the team, about your situation, 856‑506‑8300.

Victor, we all probably have some tools in our retirement toolbox, 401(k)s, IRAs. Might have some real estate. Could have life insurance policies. We could have annuities. We could have some bonds and stocks and ETS. All those kind of things, all these different tools. Do you ever ask somebody, “Hey, you’ve got this tool in your toolbox, what’s it for?” because that would stump me. [laughs]

Victor:  I do. I know, exactly, it stumps a lot of people. It stumped my parents when I first did planning for them. I said, “You’ve got these six different things, just walk me through how you decided, why you wanted that and what had made sense.” I get a lot of this, “Well, it kind of made sense at the time, I liked the sales person.”

What we find is that we’ve had this junk drawer of investment products. It’s just this mess of things that we’ve acquired over time, and there’s not really any cohesion between. There’s no real thought saying why it’s earned its place in our retirement toolkit.

I carry a tool bag every time I do any job around the house. It’s always a little handy. If I know that I have to hammer something, I actually don’t bring just the hammer over there. I bring all of my tools because I don’t know what problem I’m going to encounter at that time. What I’m fixing allows me to pull from any of those to make sure I get a job done right.

It should be the same thing with your retirement. Everything in your retirement toolkit, every element that you have, your retirement hammer, your retirement screwdriver, it should earn its place in that bag. I know the bag that I carry around, it’s small. It’s not the biggest bag in the world, so every tool in there has earned its place. It would be the same thing.

When you’re looking through, you’re like, “Oh, I have this tax‑sheltered annuity. Then I came in and I had this small investment account from a rollover IRA from a job that I had 30 years ago. Then I bought these CDs because they were giving me a free toaster.” It goes beyond that.

You need some really smart planning, where you’re going to have each one of these things, figure out how it works together towards your intended success. Like, when you get to retirement, how is it going to generate income for you? How is it going to generate growth to fight inflation? How are you going to navigate taxes?

Does it navigate taxes on its own? How do we protect the asset to make sure if you need to go into a nursing home, we don’t have to spend that thing?

Each one of these needs some time and considerations as we put them together. Now you feel confident walking through it and it’s like, “It’s not a junk drawer, it’s this really well‑oiled machine. Each part is working in perfect concert with the other.”

Mark:  Here’s the deal, when Victor sits down with people and the teams in Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth to talk about your income plan, your investment strategies, your tax strategies, your estate plan, those types of things, Victor’s got a big toolbox. Well, my toolbox is not like Victor’s around the home because I’m not a handyman.

That’s the question, what is your toolkit look like? What are you trying to accomplish with your retirement? 856‑506‑8300, if you have any questions whatsoever about where you are on your road to retirement, 856‑506‑8300.

Last question this segment, because I think this is an interesting one. I think it’s one of the more unique challenges that you have at Palante Wealth, putting these retirement plans together because everybody’s a little bit different in this area. How do you find the right balance between growth and safety?

Victor:  It is a good question. Every time somebody comes in, Mark, I’ll ask them, “How much of this do you want to lose? Can you afford to lose?” I don’t think there’s a person that comes in there that ever tells me, “I can afford to lose it all.” I do know that people have different risk tolerances. For them, based on what kind of other guarantees they have coming in income pensions.

Like my dad and my parents, they’re both retired school teachers. They have a lot of risk tolerance, because they’ve got a check, series of checks that gets delivered every beginning of the month. When we’re balancing the difference between growth and safety, I don’t think that it is as binary as choosing I want one over the other.

I would actually start to slot them within time periods. For example, you want growth as a future planning activity. Meaning, it’s important when you look at on a scale of 7, 10, 15 years plus, as part of your overall plan.

At that point in time, you balance towards that growth. When you’re looking to create income, when you’re looking to make draws from a retirement nest egg, now you’re looking at that element of safety, safety plus growth. Of course, certain investment products are better suited for those conditions.

It’s not as simple as just saying I want one over the other. It’s which do you need at the time? If we start to think about it from the perspective of how long of retirement you’re going to be in, let’s say you’re going to be in a 25‑ or 30‑year retirement, now we get a little bit more granular with the recommendations.

For example, we can say, “It would really make sense if you had x percentage that’s allocated for our seven‑year plus strategy, and if we had y percentage for our time between now and the next seven years.”

That starts to answer a lot of those questions in terms of how much goes in each one of those buckets, but I would actually allocate them across time horizons and not necessarily an either or decision. You probably want both and as the answer.

Mark:  Another thing that Victor has created for you with no charge at all is if you would like a report on a checklist. You go to, you put in your email, you’ll get downloaded this checklist.

Think about it. How do we know what steps we need to be taking? When do we need to do those? How do we do it? How do we put this all together? Victor’s created this checklist for retirement. All you have to do is go to, and you can download it right there,

There’s no cost, there’s no obligation for that., if you’d like to download that checklist. A lot of great information inside of that.

Of course, if you want to sit down with the teams and talk about your situation, 856‑506‑8300 is the number. 856‑506‑8300. It’s time to get started. There’s no cost, there’s no pressure for this. 856‑506‑8300.

When you are packing up your retirement toolkit, one thing you want to leave behind is your feelings towards certain financial tools. Victor’s going to explain that when we come back. Stay with us. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth.

Mark:  Glad you’re with us today, for Make It Last with Victor Medina, of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. I’m Mark Elliott and here’s the deal. It’s about retirement. That’s what we talk about every week on this program.

Do you have an income plan for retirement? How much do you need today, how much do you need 5 years from now, 15 years from now, 25 years from now? Do you understand all of that? That’s a big question. It really starts with, retirement is income. How much do you need, month after month, to maintain your lifestyle?

Investments. Where do you go with that? You have the Wall Street world of investments, you have the insurance world, a little safer, but you can still get growth there. But the investment world is where our 401(k)s and IRAs are, so how do we know what we should be doing and tweaking at what times, and all of that?

Taxes. Super important, we know. We all, I think, believe taxes are going up. We know the Trump tax law will end December 31st of 2025, and in 2026 we revert back to 2017 if the Biden administration does nothing. Taxes, in the future, are going up.

Should we be doing, and maybe moving some of our money, from 401(k)s and IRAs into the Roth world? Pay the taxes now as opposed to later when taxes are higher?

Estate planning. Do you have all your legal documents in place? Do you know where things are going and how you want things to be done?

That’s what the teams at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth can certainly help you do. Again, the number, if you have any questions, 856‑506‑8300. 856‑506‑8300.

We’re talking about the retirement toolkit, and we’ve decided that I am no handyman around the house, Victor is. His tools at home are much more in depth than mine, where I have a hammer and a couple of screwdrivers. Good luck to me.

Everybody’s a little bit different too, in our retirement toolkit world. There are thousands of different financial tools out there.

In a way, Victor, it seems like there should be a solution for just about every situation or problem that we might face, but sometimes we have an emotional reaction to certain tools or products. We reject them based on what we’ve heard or just what we assume. Can that be a dangerous line of thinking?

Victor:  It absolutely can be a dangerous line of thinking, and before I get into the reasons why, I just want to make it OK, if you’re in that position.

If you have a particular belief, you’re like “Oh, I think annuities are terrible,” “Oh, I don’t want to be in the market at all,” “Oh, I think all the banks are horrible because they don’t give me any interest.” If you’re coming into it with that thought process, it’s OK.

I understand why and how you likely got brainwashed. Because you met one person that had a particular axe to grind and then they taught you about that, in some fashion. Maybe it was on TV, maybe it was in a book that you read, and then you understood why they had that position, but I have taken the opposite position of that, which is that I don’t hate anybody.

I’m agnostic. I’m Switzerland when it comes to retirement planning. I will use whatever my client needs in order to be successful. One of the benefits of being an independent financial advisor the way that I am is, I’m not beholden to anybody or any particular product.

I am essentially able to choose from anything that’s out there, as long as it works for my client. Having that perspective now allows me to look at everything. Sure, we want to be examining it, want to make sure that it works, but I can be open to any solution as long as it works for a client.

What will happen from time to time is, you’ll come in with a statement that’s saying…I’ve actually done this for a client that came in. They came in with a portfolio. They were about half a million dollars or so, in terms of where their net assets were, and they needed a retirement plan.

In there, there were products. There were some variable annuities in there, there were some investment accounts and there were some fixed annuities. My conclusion for her, for her situation, is, “One of the things you currently own, you should keep. These two other things we should change and here’s the reason why.”

Now if I came in with a particular axe to grind, I would say, “Everything that you own stinks and you should buy everything that I recommend, and you should…” but I didn’t do that. Because that’s not what we do at Palante Wealth.

What we do, is we figure out the plan that works for a client. I think it should be the same thing for everyone, in terms of their open‑mindedness.

Right now, in the world of retirement planning, the most successful retirement plans pull from all of the best products that are out there, and there’s no one particular demon that you shouldn’t be considering as part of it. There are principles that you should follow. For example, you shouldn’t pay a lot for your investments.

We should be avoiding high fees, and so, I think there’s probably a category of high‑fee investments that are bad. You shouldn’t have those, but we have replacements for them, in their categories. We have low‑fee mutual funds, we have low‑fee annuities, we have low‑fee bank products if we needed them.

The idea would be that, if you keep an open mind from the recommendations that are coming, you actually might have a better retirement. You might think about somebody who’s close‑minded, who’s just bull‑headed about what they’re doing. You know those people. If they keep their mind closed to new ideas, they’re probably not going to end up so great.

They’re going to close the door on something that might really help them just because they’re so strong‑willed about not accepting a recommendation.

We work on a lot in my firm. What we work on for every client is empowerment through education.

It’s probably the reason why there’s five books published, it’s probably the reason why we’ve got videos that are available on YouTube, it’s probably the reason why we do the radio show, is what we have discovered is that the more that we educate, the more transparent we are about the education process, the more we empower people to act and follow the recommendations.

We’re going to take people who hate annuities and have them understand that one might be appropriate for them, in their portfolio. We might have people who hate being in the market and recognize that they may need a portion, up to 70 percent in equities, in order to meet their goals.

They become OK with it because we’ve invested all of that time to make somebody comfortable before they actually pull the trigger. We talk about it all, educate people on it completely, so that before you move forward with anything, before you accept any recommendations in there, you have actually asked all the questions that you need. Answers too.

Gotten everything in line. It’s like, “You know what? You’re right. That’s what I need, let’s move forward with that.” As long as we keep an open mind, we might actually get one of the best results that we could.

Mark:  In the investment world, Victor, the team operates under the fiduciary standard, you’ve probably heard that term before. It’s an important term, maybe 20, 25 percent of advisors around the country operate under the fiduciary standard, which means that Victor is morally, legally, ethically obligated to do what is in the clients best interests.

There’s groups that keep an eye on you to make sure that’s how he operates, which he does, obviously, but that’s important, the fiduciary standard. Again, the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth serve the Pennington and Greater Mercer County areas as well as Bucks County.

There are clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania, and they are here to help you with any retirement questions you may have, estate planning, taxes, investments, income. Where’s it coming from? How do I do it? 856‑506‑ 8300 is the number. Again, this could be a 15‑minute phone call.

You might just say, “Yeah, I don’t think that you’re the right team for us,” and Victor would say, “OK, good luck!” Here’s what I think, maybe here are some options for you, because it’s not always a great fit but it’s a two‑way street because this is long‑term relationship. This is getting you through retirement not just to retirement.

There’s a lot of moving parts here, and if you’re not really sure about some of these areas, I think it’s a great time to call the team and find out more about your situation, 856‑506‑8300. Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. I’m Mark Elliot.

We’re talking about the retirement tool kit and one thing back to the emotional thing. Have you ever had this happen, Victor, when someone comes in and says, “Look, I know that stock may not be the greatest, but…” or that stock may be the greatest, “my granddad gave it to me so I don’t want anything to happen to it.”

You’re like, “Well, I bet granddad gave you that stock that you could use it for something that you need [laughs] down the line.” He didn’t give it because that stock meant the world to him, or maybe it did, I guess, but did you ever had that, or someone gets emotionally tied because somebody handed down something to them and they’re like, “Well, I can’t mess with that”?

Victor:  I have. It’s come up to two different ways. One of the ways is exactly that, it’s been in the generation, granddad give it to me, it’s his last memory of that.

The other way that it actually had shown up is sometimes you’ll have a widow come in where, not to be too gender‑specific, but they often happens with women, where the husband passes away and the husband was chiefly responsible for financial management and their household. They don’t want to upset anything that the husband had done with the plan.

Like this is the way he had it set up. We have to actually spent a lot of time with both of those groups. The first one that we have to understand, in terms of all of the emotional attachment to it, is that we don’t have to own all of it in order for it to carry the same weight off of it.

I’ll often say to them, “Look, it’s OK that in this world you keep let’s say, five percent of what is in your total nest egg, in order for you to keep that particular holding.” Then we’ll manage the other 95 percent towards success.

That’s OK for me because I know that by putting a great plan in place, the other 95 percent, I’m going to help them be successful. They didn’t submarine our plan.

The phrase that I use, Mark, and say, “Listen, we’re in a boat, if you keep five percent, you’ve drilled a hole above the waterline. That’s OK. You want to keep more than that. You want to keep 50 percent of your money in this one holding. You’re drilling a hole below the waterline, and I’m not staying in the boat with you, because we’re not going to make it to shore.”

I think that we’re OK with that at certain levels. When it comes to the actual strategy that we inherit, and they don’t want to move from the strategy, because it had helped them be successful in the past. Actually, spend a little bit more time with those families.

What I say to them is, “I think that the biggest goal that that person had, was for you to be OK. That’s what they were worried about. They wanted to make sure that you were OK. They were putting their best ideas in place that had not created too many problems. That’s why you still have the money that you have for you to be OK.”

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to figure out whether or not being OK also includes changing the strategy. I would imagine that if we were having this conversation, and this person was still around, and we gave them the same education.

A lot of these people are already inclined to the education we’re giving. They understand the purpose for the plan that we’re putting in place. They started agreeing with it, but they’re hesitant because it’s changing what it was that was in place before.

I’ll say to them, “Look, if it comes down to it, if this person was still here, you think that they would probably agree with you like they would feel the way that you do, that these ideas make sense?” The answer is usually, “Yes.”

I say, “Well, OK, let’s do this. Let’s try it for a little while. The overall goal for your husband was for you to be OK, that’s what they care about. I have the same care. The team has the same care for you. We want you to be OK. What we believe at the bottom of our heart is that if you follow these strategies, you’re going to be OK.

“You’re going to be the best form of what you can be, safety‑wise, making sure it’s there for you to be able to navigate changes happens in the future. This is going to help you be OK. If you want us to do that, let you do it.” Some people get to that point in time, quite candidly, Mark, and some people don’t. Sometimes they’ll come back later, but I need them to be OK with our strategies.

I never want it to be a heavy‑handed approach. I want them to be largely an idea that they accept, that they agree to. That emotional thing always overrides their rational thought, until we get to the rational thought.

More importantly, the emotional on when we attach the emotion to the rational decision that we’re making, it’s always going to overwhelm it, but we’re willing to invest the time that it takes in order to get some to that spot, because we firmly believe that they’re going to get better for it. That’s one of the best things of working with us, working with the law firm, working with the financial services firm.

Nobody here bills by the hour. Nobody cares how long it takes to get it done, except obviously we want it done soon to be, because we know we’re going to get better. You don’t have to worry about, for example, we’re getting bills for portions of an hour.

We’re going to spend as much time as it takes to get you comfortable with the plan we have in place before we move it forward, because we know that your emotional attachment to what we’re proposing and the fact that you believe that you’ll be better forward is just as important as emotional attachment that you had before you came in and willing to invest as much time as it takes to get you there.

Mark:  Well said. I appreciate that. You think about it. We’re talking about the retirement toolkit today on the program. You think about all the things you have whether it’s IRAs, 401(k)s, real estate, whatever it is, stock, bonds, which funds and insurance tools, whatever. What’s the purpose? Is it doing what you need it to do for you to retire the way you want to?

Do you have questions about income, investments, estate planning, taxes? Would you like to work with somebody that actually specializes in this area of retirement planning? Retirement planning is much different than just being in there.

There’s nothing wrong with insurance agents or stock brokers. They all have their purpose. Retirement planning is a different deal, because now we’re trying to make sure that everything last for the next 20, 30 years and make sure that we don’t run out of money before we run out of life.

How are we going to leave things at the end of the day, the estate planning and all of those types of things. That’s a lot of stuff on your plate. If you don’t have somebody to be a team mate, a coach to help guide you along the way.

Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth and Victor Medina are here to help you. 856‑506‑8300 is the number. Again, there’s no cost. There’s no obligation. There’s no pressure. There’s no judgment. We’ve all made mistakes. 856‑506‑8300 is the number. I don’t know why you wouldn’t pick up the phone because there’s no cost.

Let’s find about more about where you are. Victor and the team are here ready to help, 856‑506‑8300. We’re back with our final segment right after this. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina, Medina Law Group, and Palante Wealth.

Mark:  Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Medina Law Group, that’s Victor is a practicing estate planner and certified elder law attorney. Medina Law Group, M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A,

Victor started that company in ’06 which led to him those clients saying, “Why can’t you help us with our retirement planning as well besides just the estate planning side of things?” Victor thought, “Well, why can’t I? I guess I can. I just got to go do some work. I got to become a certified financial planner, professional registered investment advisor.”

He did all that. That’s Palante Wealth. The holistic planning for your retirement, P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E,

Let’s talk about the two companies individually a little bit. Medina Law Group is estate planning. Is that doing trust, wills, the transfer on death…I need those powers for attorney for my financial, for my health. Do you do all of that in Medina Law Group?

Victor:  Yeah. If we’re going to look at the paper itself, all of those elements are there, Mark. We take a look at wills, trust, powers of attorney, health care directive, HIPAA releases.

Some people need, they ask for protection, trust. They might need a special stuff list for when they pass away. Really that is encompassing in a form of an estate plan, because a lot of people come in. What’s most important to them is making sure that if they leave an inheritance behind to their kids, that it is protected from divorce and creditors.

If their daughter gets divorced and their son‑in‑law, they want their son‑in‑law to get any of that money. We want to think about that as part of an overall plan because the documents that we produce are going to help people make sure that they’ve secured those assets.

When we think about that, estate planning is one crucial element to the way that Medina Law Group works. That is, unlike other law firms, which is that we have a client maintenance program or client care program.

That’s really, that after those documents are done, we’re in a regular habit of meeting with clients to check to make sure that those documents are still in compliance relevance to new laws. Still the right plan for them if the client’s financial and personal circumstances have changed, so we want to do is make sure that the piano that we put in tune, let’s say in 2021, is still in tune in 2023.

That it’s still playing the way that we want, because again, things can fall out of focus just a little bit in the way that it’s in there. That client care program is really designed to make sure that clients plans work when we need them.

The thing about estate plan is, is that it’s not a set and forget it. If we knew the day that someone’s going to die or get sick, then we could do the planning documents just a couple days before that, and we would know it’d be perfect, but we do this because we can’t predict when that’s going to happen.

Since we can never predict when it’s going to happen that we owe it to ourselves to make sure that we’re regularly updating that. Now, we started just focusing on the documents that you talked about, wills and trusts and powers of attorney.

Slowly what was happening is that our clients weren’t planning to die, they were planning to live. We found people that were concerned about dementia in the family and needing a long‑term care facility, or not going to an assisted‑living facility, like a skilled nursing home or something like that.

What we needed to do is really get specialized as certified elder law attorneys to be able to focus in on those needs. Those needs are about asset protection so that the bad health of one spouse doesn’t devastate the estate and make it difficult for the other spouse to continue.

Here we start to see, Mark, the easy way to shift into making sure that we’re doing financial services for them as well becoming financial planners. If we’re talking about asset protection, then we got to make sure that what we’re protecting is worth protecting in the first place.

Whatever it is that people own as part of a plan that we have, this one spectrum of an overall plan is total wealth planning, this total retirement plan, it’s all meant to work together.

The legal is focusing, make sure that those documents are in place, but it still has that planning umbrella where we think about things more than just servicing a needs. You’re not asking for a ham sandwich, say give me a power of attorney, it’s make sure that if I become incapacitated, my wife doesn’t have a problem accessing my IRA.

That my kids don’t have a problem managing my health, that I don’t have a bad result. You’re really looking for the effect of what we’re doing, not necessarily the documents themselves. That’s really where we focus with our legal planning.

Mark:  When you think about it, “Will my loved ones be OK if something happens to me?” That’s a big concern for a lot of people. It’s crazy.

When you lose a spouse, the lower of the two Social Security’s goes away. Maybe some or all of a pension goes away. We also know that the surviving spouse is now going to be taxed as a single person.

Hey, your taxes went up. Congratulations. There’s a lot of challenges here in this legal side, which is why the Medina Law Group is what started it all for Victor back in 2006. To me, it seems like if you love your family, you will do this planning. If you do not love your family, don’t do it.

If you don’t have any of this done, and you passed away unexpectedly, you have left your family, your beneficiaries, your heirs a total nightmare, haven’t you?

Victor:  You’d have, and you’ve said it right. People don’t have to take this like…Of course, I love my family and maybe there’s some people say, “Oh, it’s not my responsibility. After I’m gone, let them deal with it.” They’re lucky to get anything. There are families like that.

Unfortunately, none of them have become our client, or fortunate I guess. None of them become our clients because those aren’t the people that choose to get help with us.

You’re right, this is actually planning that you do for other people. This is planning that you do because you care about other people. Because of that, it really is planning that’s best done before the event ever occurs, because that’s really when it needs to be in place.

If you happen to have dropped Humpty Dumpty, we cannot put it back together. Again, if you don’t have a great will, when you die, we’re left with that results. We want to make sure that we do that ahead of time.

Mark:  The deal is this. We don’t know when something might happen. We don’t know if our mental capacity is starting to diminish kind of thing. There’s so many things we can think of that we don’t want to think about.

That’s why you can’t wait and say, “Well, I’ll do all of this when I hit 75.” What if something happens in your 50s? This is something, don’t put it off. Get this in place. If you’d like to sit now with Victor and the team of Medina Law Group to get all of this trust, the wills.

Do you need a trust? That’s part of the question as well. Powers of attorney for healthcare, for financial aid. 856‑506‑8300 is the number again. No cost for this. 856‑506‑8300. Remember, everybody’s situation is different.

Some people just a will’s all they need. Others might need a more enhanced and more detailed trust. Everybody’s situation is a little bit different. It starts with the phone call, 856‑506‑8300.

Those clients you had at Medina Law Group when you started the company in ’06 were going, “Victor, why in the world can’t you help me with the rest of my retirement stuff?” You said, “OK. I think I could do that. If I could do that, how would I…What do I need to do to help them in that other area?”

In 2014, you basically go back to school to become a certified financial planner and a registered investment advisor, and you started Palante Wealth in 2014. These areas tied together, I think, but you think of the terms on the Palante Wealth side, independent company, fiduciary standard, duly licensed. What are those three, I guess, terms mean, and why should I care?

Victor:  It’s so funny, because being raised like the law raised me but spending the majority of my first part of my freshman career as a lawyer, I hear terms like independence and fiduciary.

When that doesn’t exist in the financial services world, I can’t imagine that being because it’s the only way that lawyers can exists, the only way that they’re allowed to exist. Their whole ethics are around the idea that they bring a client, they exercise independent judgment, that they’re not steered by anybody else, and that they put the clients best interests ahead of their own.

It’s weird to me that you could ever become a financial advisor and not do those things. As I was creating Palante Wealth, there were some clear points that I had to hit. There were remarks that I had to hit is what I was doing. When I was like, I had to be the same level of person invested in my client, if it wasn’t a lawyer, like I couldn’t trade one for the other.

Everyone who came to me and by the way, asked whether or not I would help them with their finances or doing it because what their experiences on the legal says, “Hey, you’re doing all this great work. I trust you with all of this stuff, you’re putting my best interests in mind, look at your ideas, look at the ethics, look at the integrity of what you’re doing. Can’t you do this for me this other side?”

It would never occur to me to not do that as a financial advisor. Even though there are plenty of folks that they do. In fact, this is the smallest percentage of financial advisors that exists are the ones that are independent and held to a fiduciary standard.

What it’s strictly means though, is that when we’re an independent entity, when we’re our own registered investment advisory firm, when we work with our insurance products as an independent insurance agent, what it means is that we can go and we can choose from whatever products are best for our clients.

We are not dictated to in saying, “Well, you have to choose this,” or “You have to choose from this menu.” A lot of people like when they have their 401(k), the investments on that 401(k) and that menu, they were already chosen for them. They can’t go out and choose whatever they want.

They have to choose from what’s on the menu. Us, when we have our independence here we just whatever is best for the client so allows us to scour the Earth to find the best thing that’s for them and not stop until we get it.

That independence is extremely important because it helps clients get the best solutions, and ones that are arrived at with independent thought objectivity and what they’re doing. Now, what drives the independent thought and objectivity is the fiduciary standard.

Again, as I say, in the lawyers, you don’t know any other way to be. In the financial side, what it means is that we always keep our client’s best interests ahead of our own. What does it strictly mean? We don’t pick a product because it pays us more than another product.

We don’t pick something because we get some kickback off of it that we never have to tell a client about. In fact, if there is any form of a kickback not that we’re going to choose it, but if there is something we have to disclose that to the client. We have to be transparent about that.

The whole fiduciary standard helps clients rest comfortable that the advice that they’re getting is in their best interest because it is a statutory obligation. It’s a legal obligation. We’ve adopted it as an ethical and moral obligation. Anytime somebody speaks to us and asks our advice, what they get is our advice in their best interests.

It may be just our opinion, maybe we’re going to differ about that opinion. It will not be because it’s somehow paying us something different. It is only because what we think is the best for that client. Those ideas have melted together, the last one terms in terms of registered investment advisory firm.

Most people who are financial advisors work as brokers for broker dealers. The largest names we can think of, the largest entities with their bulls, their mountains, their lions, whatever else is out there is in this arrangement where their employer is really that big entity. The person you are talking to is an employee of that big entity dictated to.

The registered investment advisory firm is an independent firm that can choose from wherever we custody our client’s money at a custodian of our choosing, a big institution. We use Charles Schwab for it. It allows us to work at that level of independence.

All three things work together so that what the client is receiving, the same way that they are on the legal side now they’re doing on the financial side. In fact, they are getting it across both of them. Anytime they are part of a client family is a plan that is arrived at with complete independence with their best interest in mind and it’s meant to help them achieve their goals.

Mark:  Well said, and I think there is so many moving parts here, which is really what is so cool about your companies. The Medina Law Group, it’s all about the estate planning, trust, wills, the powers of attorneys, those types of things, that we all really need to some degree. Others need a little more in‑depth certainly.

Then when it comes to retirement planning, income planning, investment strategies, tax‑efficient strategies, we didn’t have time to get into that today, but we certainly will in future shows.

There’s so many moving parts that…if you don’t work in the financial world, I host the show every week with Victor. I’m gaining…I’m 61. I’m supposed to know this. I don’t. That’s why, I think, this is so important for Victor educating us as we move along and talking about different retirement topics and estate planning topics and all the things that we’ll cover on this program.

Again, there’s two websites you can check out, Medina Law Group, that’s for the estate planning side, M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A, The retirement holistic planning side of retirement, Palante Wealth, P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E,

Remember, the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth serve the Paddington, Greater Mercer County as well as Bucks County. They have clients in New Jersey. They have clients in Pennsylvania, as well. They’re here to help. They just don’t know if they can help you until you give them a call. There’s no cost for this. There’s no cost to come in and sit down with them either.


Announcer:  Taxes are just a fact of life. You can’t avoid it, even in retirement. But what if I told you there are ways to minimize what you pay in taxes? Victor Medina and his team can help. To learn more, visit to get your free copy of Victor Medina’s tax guide, That’s the numbers,


Announcer:  Palante Wealth Advisors are an independent financial services firm that utilizes a variety of investment and insurance products. Medina Law Group is an independent estate planning in elder law firm. Investment advisory services offered through Palante Wealth Advisors, LLC in New Jersey in Pennsylvania‑registered investment advisor.

Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Investing involves risk and potential loss of principal. Any references to protection, safety, or lifetime income generally referred to fixed insurance products, never securities or investments. Insurance guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims‑paying ability of the issuing carrier.

This radio show is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a sole basis for financial decisions nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual situation.

Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth Advisors are not permitted to offer and no statement made during the show shall constitute tax or legal advice. Our firm is not affiliated with or endorsed by the US government or any governmental agency.

The information and opinions contained herein provided by third parties have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth Advisors.

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