Make It Last – Ep 179 – Stuck in the Middle

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In this episode of Make It Last, Victor & Mark discuss building the financial house that will get you through retirement and all the materials you need to make sure the Big Bad Wolf doesn’t blow your house down.

They’ll also be talking about how “The Great Resignation” has affected the United States economy.

Similar to Baby Boomers, Gen X will also be facing the challenges of being in “The Sandwich Generation” Listen to learn more about how Victor helps clients who are stuck in the middle!

Finally, Victor and Mark will wrap things up with a discussion around being semi-retired versus fully retired. What’s your vote? Yay or Nay?

Are You Paying Too Much In Taxes In Retirement? Click here to find out.

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Make It Last is hosted by Victor J. Medina, a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP™). Founder of Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors, Victor and his companies are dedicated to empowering people through education about estate planning and their finances.

Full Transcription Below

Mark Elliot:  Welcome to “Make It Last” with Victor Medina. I’m Mark Elliot. Now, Victor has two companies, the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Medina Law Group started back in 2006. You can find out more on the website,

Palante Wealth came from the clients of Medina Law Group going, “How come you can’t help us with all of our retirement stuff?” The hints Palante Wealth came to be in 2014,, P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E,

Victor also is the author of three books on retirement planning under his acclaimed Make It Last series. He’s been featured on national television, “The Wall Street Journal,” “The Huffington Post,” “US News,” and World Report.”

Look, Victor’s probably going to say some things today that you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know that. I’d like to learn more,” or “Wait, I don’t have a retirement plan. I don’t know how to build my financial house. What do I do? How do I come up with some help in this area?”

Well, it’s easy. You just call the team, 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost. There’s no obligation. There’s no pressure. There’s no judgment. 856‑506‑8300.

Glad you’re with us today. Victor, there’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to retirement. I think most of us think about our investments, that’s our retirement world. One of the things I think is a cool analogy, is to compare our retirement planning with building our home.

We’re going to build a financial house today on the program. I know you told your kids the story, the fairy tale, the “Three Little Pigs and the Big, Bad Wolf,” right?

Victor Medina:  Yep.

Mark:  Back in the day.

Victor:  I knew it. Yep.

Mark:  The wolf would huff and puff and blow every house down except for the last one, was made of…What was it made of? We had straw.

Victor:  A big brick. We had straw. What else we had? We had sticks.

Mark:  Then we had brick.

Victor:  Then we had brick.

Mark:  Exactly. The brick house, the wolf couldn’t blow it down because it was strong. That’s what we’re talking about today. How do you build a financial house to get you to, and even more importantly through retirement? Let’s get into this, Victor.

I think it’s an easy way for us to understand what you do, how you help people when it comes to retirement planning. Is it really starts with building that strong, sturdy financial house, doesn’t it?

Victor:  It does. It’s interesting too, because those people that know me and our clients have heard me talk about the story that was me rebuilding the house that we live in, because the house that we live in is an old home built in the 1878.

We took the thing down to the studs and we actually found brick in between the studs. That was part of the reason why it was so quiet and stable. The people that were building the house said, “Reason why this thing doesn’t move left or right is because they put bricks in between it right before they had any kind of plywood.”

It is important to have a sturdy house for retirement because unlike opportunities to rebuild things when you’re facing retirement it’s super important to make sure that the plan that you have in place is one that can withstand time because you can’t go back to work and you can’t go in and add to the pile.

This decision is a crucial decision and one that needs to factor in all these things about what happens if the stock market takes a tumble in the future. What happens if your care cost increase?

All these elements that they are factoring into their planning that everybody needs to be thinking about, they need to build it to withstand the threat of the big bad wolf of retirement. It’s really important to make sure that they’ve got a sturdy house.

Mark:  All right, so you think about it. We want to build a strong fiscal financial house for our retirement. Where do we start?

Victor:  First of all, I think that the idea that someone is thinking about this as something that you should do, rather than just going into it blindly or just assume that they’re going to pull money from some account when they need money that needs to be congratulated, needs to be rewarded, and heralded because the idea that you want to put a plan in place or want to build a house around it doesn’t land for everybody.

Not everybody recognizes the need for a way of creating the retirement that is stable and can withstand the rest of the time that they need to live. It first begins with me with the decision that they care more about creating a plan than they care about the specific products that are involved in there.

We have a way of approaching in our practice that really supports that because for everybody that comes through the process we create a plan for them.

Now, the plan is eight‑page document that goes through income, investments, taxes, and estate planning, each of those four elements. I think that they are all of equal value. I want to make sure that you have great income and I want to make sure that your investments are supporting the income. I want you to avoid paying taxes.

You have to have your estate planning place. Each one of them has a role, but it really is the idea that they are all in one place for you to look at.

The plan is this eight‑page document that reviews all these areas. What it does is help you understand how you can gain a successful retirement. What that means for you is that you have the opportunity to rest easy knowing that you have a great plan in place.

Where do you start? You start by making an assessment of where you currently are, identifying where you want to get to, which, by the way, isn’t as simple as saying, “Well, I don’t want to be poor,” or “I want a vacation.”

It is about outlining your goals for retirement and then being able to determine the way that you’re going there, which I think probably dovetails into another concept around building homes. You need a blueprint. You need some way of building this so that you know how to create it competently in a way that will stand up.

You’re going to have the inspectors of life come in and give you your approvals or not. You definitely need that plan to be able to know how to put these things together, because that’s the way that you create and make all of these elements work together.

Mark:  You don’t start with the roof, when you’re building a house, you better start with the foundation. We’re going to talk about what goes in the foundation, what goes in the walls, what goes in the roof and all those kinds of things when you’re building that sturdy fiscal financial house for your retirement.

Here’s the deal. If you want to talk more about this, your retirement, income plan, investment strategies, tax efficient strategies, healthcare, legacy, estate planning, social securities and the income part, Medicare is in the healthcare part, a lot of moving parts.

You’re like, “I’ve never done planning like that. I’ve looked at my investments and tried to figure out, hey, could I do what Victor said to start with? Pull out that 30, 40, 50, 60 thousand dollars out of my accounts every year and I should be good.”

That is not a plan. Palante Wealth is about holistic planning for your retirement. If you would like to call the team and say, “Hey, I’d love to get started. I’d like to hear where you think I am. Am I on the right track? Do I need to make a tweak here or there? I like the idea of having a written plan for my retirement.”

Call the team. They’re here to help. It’s 856‑506‑8300. 856‑506‑8300. Again, no cost for this at all, because the team, they’re here to help. They don’t know if they can help until they hear your situation. Why not call? Find out. Let’s get started. 856‑506‑8300.

We’re building your strong sturdy, financial house for your retirement. As you said, it starts with a blueprint. The retirement plan that you create for your clients at Palante Wealth starts with a blueprint probably, doesn’t it? You don’t come in and say, “OK, in 10 minutes you’re done. Here’s your plan. Good luck to you and hope everything works out.”

Victor:  Not at all, Mark. It’s like showing up with lumber and a hammer, start swinging things and say, “I think that there should be a room over here. Why don’t we start building a square?”

Nobody would go about doing that. It’s this idea that a lot of people start with that element of, “I want to go pull money out or I want to start moving forward or whatever else,” without really taking an opportunity to assess. You’re right.

What we do in our practice is, we help people create their blueprint. These blueprints are not uniform. They’re not cookie cutter. They are built to the specifics of the clients that we have in mind, because they’re each going to have different goals or each going to have starting resources that are different.

They’re going to have different obstacles that they’ve got to overcome. For that reason, each blueprint is custom tailored for them. Each plan that we create is something that is specific to the client that we are working with at that time.

While there are some general principles that needs to be followed in order to have a successful plan, you have to understand physics and you have to understand that it needs plumbing, and here’s how heating works.

All of those are uniform in the way that you would build a house. The way that they get implemented is going to change from clients to client. We want to follow some principles. We want to make sure for example, that people have enough income to get through all of their days.

They’re going to be able to afford the lifestyle that they have or recognize that they’ve got to make some adjustments in those areas. The blueprint always consists of the HVAC, the plumbing, the electrical, and the framing off of it. This is similar in the way that we would do our plan.

We’ve got the income and the investments, and we’ve got the tax planning and the estate planning. None of these can be ignored. None of them can be overlooked. None of them can be passed aside. You can’t look at a house and say, “That house doesn’t need electricity. I don’t want any put that in a part of the blueprint.”

It’s an essential part of making all of these things work together. We do that for all of our clients. It’s the base part of how we create a plan, but it’s also important to know that things change.

When I was rebuilding my home, because it was an older home. As you start to do a little bit of the demolition, you figure out that there are some areas that weren’t what you expected when you start to peel away the onion.

We had a window that was missing underneath the patio that all of a sudden, it was going to rain that evening. We had to patch that thing quickly. We need to be able to have some flexibility built into that.

The idea of the plan isn’t that you follow it without regard to what you find, but it is a guiding principle to making sure that you create something that is structurally sound, is stable and sturdy, and gets you through retirement.

Mark:  All right. This, you were mentioning the HVAC. I have a friend of a friend, and this is a true story. They’re building their second home. They thought, “It’s not going to be as nice as our full‑time home, but we want a nice place we can go get away.”

They said, “We’re not going to hire anybody to do it, we’re going to get the contractor to do this and the HVAC people to do. We’re going to separate it. We’re going to be in charge.” They get it done, because nobody was talking to anybody, they get done and they found out, “Oops, we did forget heating and air.”

They had to go in and do it on the outside of the house, because it would cost a fortune to go back in and tear through and build it in. When it comes to retirement planning, all those areas we’ve talked about, the income, investments, taxes, then legacy planning, and all of that, the estate planning. If we overlook any of these areas, there could be major problems, couldn’t there?

Victor:  Yeah. It really can. I’ll relay my true story as well, which is when we had the plumber coming in and looking at what was going in. I talked to my general contractor, whose name was Eric.

I said, “Eric, your guy Theo,” because it was his plumber. “Your guy Theo comes in and he stares for about an hour, and then he walks out of the house.” I said, “I don’t know if he’s doing any work. He comes back in and he looks up and he looks left, he looks right, and he walks out.”

Eric says, “You do realize the medium that he’s working in. He’s creating the stuff that’s going to handle your toilets and your shower. There can’t be any detail that he overlooks. He needs to understand where all of this is going to be flowing and the direction is going.”

It’s a good jumping off point to underscore this idea that no, details can’t be overlooked and part of the planning that you do. It’s one of the reasons why you need an expert in that area to help. There’s a reason why the general contractor brought in his own demolition team to do that kind of stuff.

He brought in a master plumber to do the plumbing, and a master electrician to do the electrical work. Didn’t try to handle on their own because he recognized the risk involved if there had been a detail overlook that would have been identified by somebody that was an expert in their area.

Just to anchor it back into the way that I built my home. The experts that this contractor brought in were experts in dealing with older homes. I already said that our home was built in 1878. They were people who were accustomed to dealing with construction in that time.

Similarly, you need somebody who’s an expert in retirement, if you want retirement planning. In other words, the home that you’re building isn’t the vacation home, or isn’t the second home that’s going to be on the shore or someplace else that’s completely different.

You have a very specific kind of home that you’re trying to build in retirement. It makes sense that you bring in people who are versed in those areas. You want to be in a situation where you’re like, “I know exactly what this looks like,” and we can help guide you the way. You need somebody who does that in your financial work specifically to retirement.

Mark:  The Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth serve the Pennington Greater Mercer County as well as Bucks County. Victor has clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania as well. If you would like to learn how the team might be able to help you. Don’t know if they can, because they don’t know your situation.

They’d love to find out. They’re here to help. The Medina Law Group, Palante Wealth, they’re here to help you. Give them a call. Let’s get started. There’s no cost for this. 856‑506‑8300 is the number. Again, 856‑506‑8300. We’re talking about building your fiscal financial house, comparing it to building your house that you live in.

That’s what we’re talking about today. One of the most important pieces of the house is the foundation.

Mark:  Not the most exciting to think about when it comes to retirement, but it might be the most important piece. That’s where we’re headed next. Stay with us. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. We’re back in one minute.

Mark:  Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. You can find out more about the Medina Law Group. You’ve got questions about, maybe you need a certified elder law attorney. Victor and the team, they can help you with that certainly.

You think about estate planning and legacy planning and all the moving parts. Boy, they’re talking about changing some of the estate tax things and all these things. A lot of moving parts here. The Medina Law Group can certainly help you in that area. It’s if you’d like to find out more, M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A,

Then Victor’s other company, Palante Wealth, that’s the holistic planning side for your retirement, the investment strategies, income, taxes. How do we plan for all of that? What if we do need long‑term care? We have a health issue. How does that all play into this?

That is to find out more, P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E, Glad you’re with us today. We’ve done this show now for several months. You think about it, we typically are talking baby boomers. Would that be fair to say?

Victor:  Absolutely. Since the year 2015 or 2016, there was like 10,000 of them turning 65 every day for the next 30 years. It’s been our main focus.

Mark:  You think about it. That’s the generation retiring right now. There was the greatest generation from 1901 to 1927. The silent generation, 1928 to 1945. The baby boomers. I’m in that category. 1946 to 1964 is when you’re born.

I was born in ’59, so that means everybody that’s born in 1959 in the year 2021 will be Social Security eligible turning 62 in 2021. Here’s a stat about this. Think about this. All the baby boomers, the youngest baby boomers by the year 2030, will all be at least 65 years of age.

That means what generation is next, when it comes to retirement planning? That is probably your generation. [laughs]

Victor:  That’s mine. I was going to say Generation X. We’re always the forgotten one.

Mark:  Absolutely, 1965 to 1980. That is Gen X. When you think about all the moving parts…before we get in, because we’re going to spend the next couple segments talking about Generation X. What should you be doing as you get ready?

You think about it. Born in 1965 to 1980, which means the oldest are turning 56 this year. The youngest will be turning 41 this year. The age bracket of Generation X is basically 40 to 56 years of age. We’re going to talk. You’re right on deck.

Your retirement is coming faster maybe than you even realize. You think about all of the baby boomers that went off into retirement and rode off into the sunset. The number was something like a million and a half, and don’t hold me to the numbers. They’re ballpark.

About a million and a half baby boomers retired in 2019, but over three million retired or left the workforce in 2020. Those challenges, and those aren’t the reasons where we see companies and small businesses needing employees, I don’t think. When you lose that many people from the workforce, what does that do to our economy?

Victor:  That’s a big one because first of all, those folks that were on the retirement age, were the people that were typically the most highly skilled of the workers. They’re leaving a void if it hasn’t been properly filled. You look at what the impact on the economy is going to be.

I think it’s twofold. There’s one positive, and there’s one negative. The one that’s negative is we’ve had the skills drain that’s occurred as one of these people have gotten retired. I think that the pandemic probably caused a few more than average to make an earlier decision saying, “I’m just not going back.”

I have a client of mine that was in education and just realized when it happened in March, “That’s it. I’m done. I’m not going back in September.” It was completely unplanned.

I think that there is that effect off of it. I think that the positive effect that’s in there is that we get the opportunity to have sort of innovation and new thinking, draw and push things in a new direction. It’s probably stuff that wasn’t as anticipated before. It’s not to say that we can just group all these people by age and label them with one kind of thought over another.

We see all of these advances in more technologically based solutions for stuff. Whether we’re talking about electric vehicles, or looking at what’s going on with different services that can be provided, or how people are going to work remotely. Those kinds of innovations are coming from people that are challenging the status quo that may have been in the workforce expecting things to stay the same for a long time.

What’s important about that, from a retirement planning perspective, regardless of what generation you’re in, is that you really have to have a forward‑thinking plan that doesn’t rely on the same old, same old being there forever.

The same cautionary tale about relying on the biggest blue chips of stocks to be there forever, is going to be the same as we watched the changeover occur because the baby boomers were the biggest of the generations that were making this transition. So we’re going to see the biggest effect occur as those people get out of the workforce, just by growing older.

Mark:  It certainly puts more stress on Social Security, Medicare, and those government programs. Certainly with so many baby boomers, 10,000 of them turning 65 every day, basically, who knows how many are retiring [laughs] every single day.

Now, we’re going to focus on Generation X, Victor’s generation. Victor, I’m going to have you speak for your generation, because we know they’re all the same. But that’s really not true about any generation is it?

Think about this, you’re 40 at the youngest edge of the Generation X born in 1980, you’re going to be either turning 41 this year, you’ve already done it, or you will be. Then the oldest are 55 turning 56 this year. You think about that, that means the oldest Generation Xers are really getting close to retirement, and maybe it snuck up on him a little bit.

Are you sitting down with more of Generation X people, pre‑retirees now than certainly you were five years ago obviously, I would think, but are you seeing more Generation X come in to talk about retirement?

Victor:  We are and it’s actually happening in two different ways, Mark. I think the first way it’s happening is that we have been dealing with ostentatiously, what are their parents having already retired, understanding the smart decisions that we’ve helped their parents make about getting into a sound retirement. Because of that, wanting to have a conversation a little bit earlier, maybe then even they anticipated.

It may not be that they’re lucking at retirement per se, but they know that good retirement planning starts early. So, because we’ve been helping their parents, their parents will make a referral over and they’ll want to meet with us and they’ll start to talk to us. That’s one way that we’ve been able to see more Gen X people.

I think the other thing that is also true is that Generation X, basically people that are 56‑ish or so 41 in that range, in that 15‑year range, are looking at retirement as something that they have to grab by the horns that is not going to be planned for them.

There’s enough information going out there, especially because of the vast number of baby boomers retiring and all of the things that you’ve mentioned about the stress potentially in Social Security and this idea that they know having been in the workforce now for almost 20 years, that there is no magic pension waiting for them at the end. That they’ve got to do some pre‑planning on this.

They’ve got to go ahead and really understand what it is that’s going to happen for them in the retirement. If you’re in Generation X, you’re probably thinking about how am I going to be OK once I get into retirement? Maybe I need to start thinking about this beforehand, it’s no longer just something that I can ignore towards the end.

There’s definitely been enough information shared with you to know that. The sooner that you start thinking about this, the sooner you start doing some savings, starting with some smarter investing, the better off you’re going to be at the end and you’ve got to take control of it on your own.

I’m really seeing it from both ends. I’m seeing it just the natural outgrow of our clients having their kids come and see us and also, I think just this raising of awareness amongst people who say, it’s not something that you can avoid. It’s actually coming around the corner, even at my age at 46 until the youngest of the Generation X at 41.

You can’t help, but see that you pick on coming train. You just can’t avoid being that you have to plan for your own retirement if you’re going to want to have a chance of being successful at It.

Mark:  So you think about it. If you’re going to sit down and talk with somebody… We talk about this all the time. I think it’s a pretty good analogy is that when you have kids, they go to the pediatrics doctor, they work to the general practitioner. But as you get older, you get to my age at 61. I had a stent put in my heart. I obviously was seeing the cardiologist, right?

We get a little bit more specific with our healthcare as we age. It’s the same thing that should happen in the financial world. A lot of times people don’t change. They’ve had a somebody they’ve worked with since they were 35. They’re like, “They’re fantastic, but they’re not retirement planners.”

Here’s my plea to you Generation Xers, that one of the best times to sit down with somebody and talk about retirement is when you have time on your side. If you’re 10 years out, what a great time. Think how good your plan can be by the time you actually pull the plug on retirement. Maybe you’re 55 or 56 going, well, I want to retire at 60.

Well, that means you’re down to five years or last yet. The idea is get to talking with somebody that actually works in the retirement world that can help you in this area of planning. And that’s Victor and the team at Palante Wealth, 856‑506‑8300. A great time to start is right now. 856‑506‑8300, there’s no cost for this.

Of course, Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth serve the Pennington, the Greater Mercer County area as well as Bucks County. Victor has clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. They’re here to help. They don’t know if they can help you though ’til you give them a call, 856‑506‑8300.

What would you say to, let’s say, the mid‑50 Generation Xers, or the 50‑year‑olds, because now we’re in our 50s and now we are maybe starting to think about retirement? What would your advice be to that age group of Generation X?

Victor:  I think that there’s two things that we would have them focus on. The first is, as you cross into the magical over‑50 years off of it, you get to be able to save a little bit extra money, you have some catch‑up contributions you can make. You really want to make a good assessment on the distance that you need to cover between where you are right now and what you’re going to need in retirement.

In fact, that’s one of the best things that we can help people figure out is that if you’re in a position of not knowing what your number is or what your number could be based on some savings that you can do and some projections off of that, we can help you answer that question.

We can help you get into a position where you understand what steps you need to take between right now and when you eventually want to retire. The first thing is that you have expanded options because as you turn over 50, you can make some catch‑up contributions.

Hey, by the way, you probably want some smart advice on how to handle taxes off of that. Sometimes that means not always putting it into an IRA, but thinking about other kinds of savings that you want to do. Some of the best products that are available to help you with your planning take time in order for them to reach their fullest potential for you and your retirement plan.

If you start that in the 50s ‑‑ which, by the way, often means that you are younger, more insurable, healthier, all of those things are in place ‑‑ if you start that while you’re at that point in time, you probably have a better menu of options that are available for you. So that’s probably another element of what people in the mid‑50s ought to be thinking about.

The other thing that I would have people focus on with these next 10 to 15 years is really kind of get a sharp pencil on what their budget is going to look like in retirement.

What has happened for a lot of people that are in their 50s is they’ve just gotten off completing any college funding for their kids, all of this money that has been ploughed out the door, and they have been chasing those dollars to just service all the needs that they have. Very few people have this incredible savings rate.

Now that we’ve ended that, and this is often like a marker when you’re just at that point where you’ve put the last kid through, or stopped contributing to this last child for whatever their living expenses are, you’ve fully launched them, you have to make sure that you don’t take up the space of those dollars with spending on your own.

One of the most instrumental numbers that determine financial success in retirement is your savings rate. I want to make sure that I’m clear about that. It’s not about the balance that you start with in retirement. There’s tons of research around this.

It’s not whether you have one million dollars versus two million dollars versus whatever else, it’s really what your savings rate was relative to your income. The reason why that becomes important is that as you get into retirement your habits around money, saving, making sure that you’re spending within a budget and understanding what that is, the longer you can make that money last in retirement.

The closer you get to not living and spending on everything that you’re making, the better chances you have.

In these last 10 to 15 years when you finally are cleared the hurdle a little bit, and you’ve got these extra dollars, getting into the habit of understanding what that budget needs to look like and spending the next 10 to 15 years really understanding that and getting a clear picture of what that’s going to look like when you actually stop getting a pay check in and you have to manufacture your own, that’s definitely what you should be doing with these 10, 15 years.

Because the clearer you can get on that, and the better you can get your savings rate for those purposes, the more you’ll be able to live really, really wonderfully as you get into retirement.

Mark:  All right, so let’s talk about the other part of that Generation X. Now, Generation X, born 1965 to 1980, meaning the youngest are 40, turning 41 this year, the oldest are 55, turning 56 this year. So that was your advice to the 50‑something Generation X.

What about the 40‑somethings, which, they might be right in the midst of raising a family and doing all of that and their hair’s on fire. Is it too early to start thinking about retirement?

Victor:  I don’t think it’s really any too early to start thinking about retirement. If we want to go back to your analogy from before, I think that people know that they have to consider something like a heart condition that was in their family, their parents waited too long to take care of their own health.

They might be actually seeing the cardiologist much earlier than when the actual need comes and this would be the same sort of smart planning. Because I think one of the things that’s really more present for the folks that are in their 40s is a stress and a lack of potential Social Security benefits when they’re gone.

If you start looking at the way the trust fund’s been funded and Social Security, we’ve got people that are already on it and people coming into it that are totally fully funded, but in order to make this thing last, especially when we start thinking about the way that we’re going to have to pay for all of the tax credits that were given as part of the pandemic, you’re going to see that one of the avenues that they routinely uses to make sure that Social Security is a concept lasts, but they don’t have to run bankrupt or anything like that, is they start extending the age before you can start to claim it.

People in the 40s, like me, are going to be the first tour of generation because we don’t vote as often as the older people, the voting block. They’re not going to come up and raise their arms and start riding. Those folks or us, I suppose, in the mid‑40s are going to probably have a lower overall Social Security benefit relative to our contributions, but also probably a longer start time.

All of what that means is we’ve got to self‑insure our retirement. We have to go ahead and be our own savings bank, be not relying on Social Security generate the income.

If it’s a number that’s going to come to us and maybe a smaller number starting later than we expected, which means we have this time, the time that it’s in between your 40s and when you reach your 60s to go ahead and compensate for that by what we’re setting aside to create our own retirement income in there and not be relying on Social Security.

I really stress that for a lot of folks just because the numbers are pretty clear about where the stressors are to make this thing happen. You realize there’s only a couple of levers that they can move. They can lower the overall benefit and they can extend the age. That’s going to be one of those…They’re going to use one or both of those mechanisms in order to get this thing to continue last.

They’ve already done it, though, Mark. I’m not releasing new information about a strategy. This is exactly what they’ve done every time they face a challenge like this. We’re just going to have to see it one more time.

Mark:  You think about all these moving parts. You think about it. You think of Victor’s company, Medina Law Group. Helping you with your estate planning, and you think, “Well, I don’t really need Victor’s company until I’m probably in my 80s, because that’s when I need to worry about that.”

What if you have a health issue before that? We don’t know what tomorrow holds. The idea is we don’t want to be reactive because something happened, we want to be proactive. This is a great opportunity especially for Generation X, because you do have a little bit of time on your hands, probably for most of you.

We’re seeing more and more people retire younger all the time, but it’s time to start doing something about it. Maybe you’re not necessarily putting the plan, lock, stock, and barrel in place if you’re 45, but you’re getting an idea of where you are. Maybe I’ve got…Hey, I’ve got 15‑20 years to put myself in a better position.

What a great opportunity for you, because maybe…I would doubt if you understand all the moving parts of retirement. Victor and his teams do, because they do this day in and day out. What a great idea to get a head start. If you’re in your mid‑50s, it’s really time to start getting serious about this planning part of retirement.

856‑506‑8300 is the number. The team is here to help. They would love to help and answer any questions or concerns that you might have. 856‑506‑8300, no cost, no obligation, no pressure. 856‑506‑8300.

Mark:  We’re talking to Generation X today on the program, but if you’re already in that baby boomer generation and your retirement is even closer, there’s going to be some good advice for you as well when we come back. This is, Make It Last with Victor Medina.

Mark:  Welcome back to Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Those team’s here to help you with any retirement questions or legal questions when it comes to your estate that you have because the teams can help you come up with an income strategy. Got to replace those paychecks that are no longer coming in when you get into retirement.

Where’s your income coming from? Investments, will your strategies change the older you get? Everybody’s situation is different. We always focus on that. Taxes, we know there’s tax changes coming. What’s your plan for that?

Estate, we know there’s maybe some possible estate tax planning changes, so there’s just a lot of moving parts. The team’s here to help. It’s 856‑506‑8300 if you have any questions. 856‑506‑8300.

Today, we’re talking about Generation X, born 1965 to 1980, which means the youngest are 40, turning 41 this year. The oldest are 55, turning 56 in 2021. There’s already some 56‑year‑old Generation Xers. Victor is a part of that group.

You think about this, we’ve talked about this I think some when we talked about the baby boomer generation. Some of the challenges to that generation for retirement was being part of the Sandwich Generation. I’m thinking that’s going to be a factor for Generation X as well. Can you explain what is the Sandwich Generation? Do you have clients you have to help in that situation?

Victor:  Sure. Sandwich, right. Sandwich usually has got the meat in the middle and two pieces of bread on either side. What we have is our clients being the meat with bread on either side. They’re sandwiched between their parents and their kids. Most notably, what they’re sandwiched doing is actually helping with their care.

They get in a position where they’re still raising their kids, but because their parents are also getting older, they now have to have been responsible for their care, to managing their finances, managing the care they need.

That Sandwich Generation was first introduced as a concept when we were having people, the baby boomers deal with the World War II, the greatest generation and their parents going in.

What’s different now, though, and it’s more interesting to a planner, I suppose, is the options for planning around how to care for an older parent are starting to shrink because all the rules that were in place that allowed us to really take care of protective assets are getting smaller and smaller and smaller. There’s all kinds of outside pressures for that market.

We’re seeing long‑term care insurance companies stop offering personal policies. We’re watching people who were able to qualify for Medicaid if they ran out of money. We’re watching those rules change. When Gen Xers are in a position where they’re going to need to care for their parents, we see that there’s a lot of advantages to having taken care of planning ahead of time.

One of the reasons why we’re seeing this more and more exactly right now is the incidence of Alzheimer’s is increasing at an alarming rate. True Alzheimer’s, because everyone talks about dementia being Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s is a very specific diagnosis. It’s starting younger and younger.

Alzheimer’s as a dementia‑related condition is that time when we start to see people in their mid to late 60s and the beginning 70s have this cognitive decline. Guess what? That’s exactly where our baby boomers are. We started this change over to age 65 a number of years ago. We have those people already turning into their 70s and they’re into their mid‑70s going forward.

We do have the people exactly where they would start to first have these cognitive issues. What’s important for people who are in that Sandwich Generation where they’re taking care of parents, like if you’re in a position where you’ve had a parent be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia‑related condition or they’ve got Parkinson’s or something like that, Mark.

What’s important for folks like that, if you’re in that position, is that there are things that you can do to help protect their assets, save the home and do things to make sure you’re managing their care, especially providing a great quality life for the other spouse. The one that’s healthy, but you have to get in front of it.

One of the things that we do is we actually offer a guide for people to download, to understand how to protect people’s wealth off of it. We actually created a special website for that, that you can go to. If you go to, you’ll be able to download this free guide that’ll help you understand how to make sure that your health changes don’t destroy your family’s wealth.

It is especially helpful people in the Sandwich Generation. You can download it for your parents, or you can just tell them that they need to download it. If you download that guide, it will help you understand what you need to start to do to help protect assets and increase the choices to maintain quality of life as you get older.

Mark:  Yeah, so that is There’s no cost for this. You just download it. There you go, you’ve got the information. Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina, I’m Mark Elliot.

We’re talking about Generation X. You bring up healthcare, and I think a lot of people think, “Well, Victor, once I get to 65, I don’t really have to worry about my healthcare anymore because I got Medicare.” Medicare, basically looks at it, if you’re going to get better, we’ll probably help you. If you’re not going to get better, we’re out.

I think when it comes to long‑term care, Medicare, that’s not going to be a part of that, which is where your Medicaid comes in. Talk about the health care part of this.

For Generation X, I think it’s hard. I remember being 20 and in college and thinking, “I’m never going to hit the age of 60 and here I am 61 going, how did that happen?” When we’re in our 40s and 50s, and we’re in really good health and we can’t wait for things that are coming and our families growing and going and doing and, all of those kind of things, it’s hard to think about healthcare issues down the road.

But you said it earlier, what a great time to plan is when you are in good health and if you want insurance to help it’s a great time to get it. Talk a little bit about some of the challenges of healthcare and retirement’s probably the number one reason, probably that working families, but retired couples have to file for bankruptcy. They had a major healthcare incident and didn’t have any coverage for it.

Victor:  Isn’t it sad and a travesty there was something like that, that devastated their plans and then there was completely uncontrollable by them. They didn’t know that they were going to have healthcare events or didn’t plan for it.

By the way, there’s probably not a lot they could have done to avoid something catastrophic like that, that caused them to need to either devastates their entire life savings paying for this or actually declare bankruptcy. It’s really quite sad when that happens.

What people can do if they’re already younger, so if you’re in the Generation X and you understand that this is something that I need to control for on my own, you can actually take advantage of your current healthy state right now, your good health by looking at the insurance solutions for things like long‑term care insurance and being able to apply for policies like that.

Now, these get a very confusing world, because you’ve got policies where you pay into, and if something happens, great, they have coverage, but if nothing happens, you’ve thrown all that money away. You also have other kinds of policies that will pay you back if you don’t use that policy.

What’s important is for you to get fitted with the right one and every person is going to have a different solution. You’re going to have something that’s very specific to you. They all depend on you being healthy enough to qualify for it because insurance companies don’t want to write policies on people that are already sick. The sooner you can do that, the better it can turn out to be.

We were talking before about people in their 50s, having to the kind of done paying for their kids, and what are they going to do with this extra money? One of the things they can do is fully fund a long‑term care insurance policy that when they’re done paying that, let’s say over five or 10 years, they don’t have to ever pay for it again, it stays there for them as a resource.

If they never use it, they either leave it behind his life insurance that’d be left for their kids. Or it’s something that they can draw on in retirement and get the bulk of that money back. A lot of great solutions for that, but the sooner you get started with it while you’re still healthy, the more likely we can get something like that in place for you.

I think the other element of it in terms of healthcare is that if we watch these Medicare elections that are going in there, we got to realize that the A, B, and D are just the base level plans, going to the doctors, going to the hospital, paying for prescriptions. Anything else that’s going to be outside of that is usually some form of Medicare Supplements.

Now, we offer the ability for people to shop their Medicare supplements and recommend the right policies for them. That’s usually something for people who are already on Medicare between October and December that we’re doing that in the open enrollment period.

What’s important for people in their 40s is if you’re in a generation X right now, you’ve got to realize that those plans have been changing and the costs and the contributions for that keep getting modified.

What you need to do is start to budget for the amount that you have to pay for your additional health insurance, for the things that are covering what Medicare isn’t covering on that basic level.

Mark:  At the end of the day, it seems to me that things are always changing. There’s always new tools that pop up in the investment world. There’s new tools in the insurance world. Things in policies, they’re always changing because of what’s going on in the world, right?

We get it. That companies that create those kinds of tools, they’re also in the business of making money, but they’re also going, “Well, people need some help in this area, let’s create this tool.”

That seems to me to be part of your job is really to help educate us a little bit, if you will, like your parents being teachers, right? It’s, you have to educate us and then you give us the options more than you telling us, “Hey, Mark, you have to do this, you have to do that.” No, here’s some options.

I think maybe this would be a great way for you to go, but at the end of the day, it’s your client’s final decision, I would imagine.

Victor:  There is. There’s one other layer to that too, it’s not only here are some options for you to go. Understand that as an independent and fiduciary advisor, the options that we’re providing for you are things that are in your best interest.

They’re independent, meaning that there is nobody driving our recommendations except what we can go. It’s like not going to one car dealership, or you only getting that brand of car, but really understand that you’ve gone to a broker be like, look, we can get choose from anything that’s out there, what do you need? Do you need a truck? Do you need a car?

What is it going to help you get to where you need to, and then we can make the recommendation for the best one for you, regardless of the specific company that’s offering it.

That independence and that fiduciary obligation layered with this idea that we’re presenting options for people because we can know the entire marketplace of what’s available and be able to help people narrow their decisions, and then it’s ultimately theirs.

I think it’s those two things together, Mark, that really makes working with somebody like us so helpful as they’re planning their retirement.

Mark:  For the Generation X, just quickly, what would you say would be the best time to come in and sit down and talk with you? Is it 40? Is it at 45? Is it 50? Or is it whenever retirement questions start popping up in our mind, and we see the retirement on the horizon?

Victor:  Yeah, I guess the most self‑serving answers, like the moment you come out with any money, you come and see us. I think that if you pushed me on giving you an age, I think once we get to age 50, that’s a great time to begin that conversation.

We start to open up the world of additional things like cash contributions towards retirement, you get a good understanding, like you mostly done with the most expensive parts of raising kids, maybe most of them are through college, but we can now see retirement on the horizon a little bit more clearly.

We’re talking about this before, but making sure that we’re in the right direction. You might think about like you’re driving this big, huge aircraft carrier. We just don’t want to be hundreds of miles off course, because we didn’t stop and realize where we were and the direction that we need to be taken.

Even minor adjustments at age 50 are going to lead you much better in a place that you should be when you’re looking at final retirement like age 65 or 70. I would say that probably that’s the best, earliest time if we were looking for a particular number or age.

Mark:  Yes, absolutely. If you’d like to chat with the teams at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth, find out where you are on your road to retirement, a great time to do it would be right now. 856‑506‑8300.

There’s no cost, there’s no obligation, there’s no pressure. The team is here to help. They would love to help. 856‑506‑8300. Actually for Gen Xers, it’s a great opportunity because you’re way ahead of the game.

That’s a positive. 856‑506‑8300. Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. We’re headed to our final segment right after this. Stay with us.

Mark:  Welcome back to Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. I’m Mark Elliot, glad you’re with us today. We did the yay or nay, the RV retirement, we got another yay or nay topic because there are so many big decisions you have to weigh heading into retirement.

We’re going to call today’s yay or nay working in retirement. Victor, I’m retired. I don’t want to work.

Victor:  [laughs] Wasn’t it the whole definition of retirement that you didn’t have to work. When you think back, the concept of retirement was actually foisted on folks who couldn’t work any longer. The definition of retirement back in the day was that you were physically unable to work any longer.

You got re‑tired. Basically, you were done, and the nature of work has changed and the nature of people’s desire for what their life is going to be like, where it’s just not going to work until you’re unable to work any longer has changed as well.

By the way, so should the definition of retirement or what a successful retirement should be. I think that it’s probably for folks that have toiled away, it’s something that they’ve hated.

The idea of being a retired and not having to work probably may be very attractive, but if we take a little bit of a more hippy‑dippy view off of it saying, “Well, maybe retirement is really about working at what you want to work at. Maybe you get paid for that, maybe you don’t.”

For purposes of this segment, we’re going to think about you getting a check in exchange for you working. What would that look like if you were going to be at situation where you were still working for money, and you were doing something you liked in what we would typically think of as retirement or retirement years. What would it look like? It’s probably a great topic to go into.

Mark:  Here’s what we’re going to talk about this today, because there was a survey by Express Employment Professionals staffing agency. They indicate that 79 percent of workers between the ages of 57 and 75 years old say they would rather be semi‑retired than fully retired.

You think about it. You have some clients, I’m sure. Palante Wealth, the Make It Last plan. They’re like, “Victor, I still like to do something.” Maybe it’s a hobby type thing, or maybe it’s another job, but I don’t know, it’s maybe a little bit more positive for them. Give me some of the pros of working in retirement?

Victor:  I do have folks that go through that, especially when we can start to illustrate for them maybe a way that they can take a different job. Still work at something they want to do but be successful in their retirement.

Like, our Make It Last plan said, “You may not be able to get fully retired, but you don’t have to work at the job that you’re at. If you work on something aside, here’s the way your plan will help you be successful in retirement.”

There are some pros to that. The first is, and I mentioned to you, is you can go, from what would consider be a full‑time position to a part‑time position. Maybe you’re doing that at your current job. Maybe you’re still doing your work, but it’s still getting the benefit, kind of being with your friends and having the social aspect of it, but you’ve got more flexibility in your schedule.

Mark:  It’d be like me going, “You know what, today it’s 75 degrees. I think I would rather play golf today, but I’ll be back tomorrow when it’s 40.”

Victor:  [laughs] Or if it’s partial, you say, “Victor, I’ll join you for segments one and two, but you’re on your own for three and four because I do have that tee time down that’s in there.” I do see this by the way, especially with higher‑level executives where the business values them not disappearing entirely.

They don’t want to grind to full‑time work. What they want instead is, some deal that they work out the company. Say, “Listen, I’ll come in two days a week, three days a week for fractions and percentage of what I was doing before.”

They feel like they’re still engaged. They still have something to contribute. They’re high‑level employees and they’re doing great work, but they don’t have to be working full time. Another benefit could be that, you can leave your job entirely, find a different job.

Maybe you will get health benefits as part of it. You don’t have to go through Medicare if you’re too young if you’re before age 65. You don’t have to worry about paying for COBRA, which might be too expensive. Maybe there’s a benefit in bridging your healthcare situation off of it.

You might have a benefit financially on Social Security. How much are you earning towards your record? Are you increasing that number? Are you delaying your needs to elect Social Security, or potentially offsetting it? If they had to delay it, and then started working.

You have some financial aspects of it. My favorite one by the way, is that you can do something that’s completely different. You can define yourself in a completely different way. I have some people that have gotten great into technology, and they love Apple computers.

Apple will be more than happy to give you a part‑time job in their retail establishments. They love older folks because they can talk to other older folks who might be having trouble with their computers.

Getting one of these genius bar gigs that can be part‑time it’ll allow you to do something that’s fun, that follows an avocation without having to necessarily give up on work altogether. You’re not doing the job that you had before and you’re doing something that you like. Lots of pros there.

Mark:  That is, because you think about it. I’m 62, and if I go in, I don’t understand. I don’t even understand my phone half the time. I don’t need iPhone 13. iPhone 1 was plenty for me.


Mark:  I do agree that having somebody older, instead of some youngster looking at me like I’m a total idiot. I’m like, “Hey, you know, I didn’t get a cell phone till I was 35. We didn’t have computers back in the day.” That’s a good point. What about maybe some of the possible cons for working in retirement?

Victor:  Let’s take one that’s related to the specifics of your planning. If your plan for you to be successful in retirement was one where you had to continue to work in order to make enough money to last or to have it be on the budget that you want, there’s a commitment level that’s in there that can introduce a lot of anxiety.

You can feel almost like it’s a second prison sentence, where you have to continue to work in order for it to be successful. I never like introducing anxiety into the plan. The whole purpose of our plan is for people to choose to work if they want to, but to come out of it with peace of mind.

When we go through their income, investments, tax and estate planning on our Make It Last plan, what we’re doing there is we’re giving them a roadmap to peace of mind. Sometimes we have to have conversations about how much they can spend and what will be successful.

If that plan includes, “Boy, you got to work for the next five years at a part‑time basis.” That can introduce a lot of stress and anxiety, feel like they have to keep the job. That’s a negative especially if it’s component of your job.

The other negative is that, you’re going to have a lot more complexity with your tax planning, because you’re going to be getting wages that’s going to be taxed like ordinary income. You’re going to have investment income, and then you’re going to be limited in some of the tax planning that you can do off of that.

There are also elements to Social Security. If you’re claiming it and you’re starting to work afterwards, you can have a negative offsets to that. There’s a lot of moving parts to that and you want to make sure that you understand what the impact of it is.

That’s where the help of an advisor becomes so instrumental because you have all of these moving parts. When we deal with clients and we put these plans together. There’s one element where we’re putting a plan together, and we do that in the beginning and say, “Hey, here’s your plan.”

Then there’s an element of our ongoing service to them, which is to work with them as circumstances change. If you’re in a situation where you may have been retired, but now you are thinking about going back to work.

You want to know what the impact to a plan might have been, that you have by somebody else, or whatever else, or your own plan. This would be a good time to reach out to us because we can help you assess what the impact of that plan is, and see how it changes your retirement picture.

All you have to do is by the way, just reach out to us. We’re at 856‑506‑8300, that’s 856‑506‑8300. Start the conversation with us. We can tell you in the creation of this plan about how successful you’re going to be with this change in circumstances including the tax projections and what’s going to happen. You have to take that first step, then we can help you with that. Again, 856‑506‑8300.

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. You brought up Social Security, and there are so many moving parts here. Back in the day for retirement age for Social Security was 66.

I’m 62 which means I was born in 1959, but people who were born in 1960 are turning 62 this year. You think about it. The old adage was, if you take Social Security early in your full retirement age of 66, you’re giving up 25 percent.

Your benefit is going to be cut about 25 percent. Today’s 62 year olds that turned 62 this year, were born in 1960. Their full retirement age is 67. They’re going to get docked 30 percent from their full retirement age, Social Security.

Then you start talking about, “There’s a 50 percent tax on Social Security.” Some of you will be taxed up to 85 percent. You go, “I’m probably not in that category.” The modified adjusted gross income is at $25,000 for 50 percent. Up to 85 percent if you make over 34,000 as a single.

As a married couple, it’s 32,000 is 50 percent, and up to 44,000 is 85 percent. You have to look at that though, when you’re going to get a part‑time job if that’s important that you’re going to end up having to pay more taxes from this?

Victor:  Yeah, it is. A lot of people are surprised to learn that how much they get taxed on Social Security is a function of their other income. It is not a straight‑line [laughs] calculation. There is a schedule aide that does that for you. Actually, we do that.

We have a specialized piece of software that will project out somebody’s income tax returns on a prospective basis, as opposed to you doing it for filing this year. That helps us do plan and say, “How much can or should we be taking outta IRAs?”

It also helps us have conversations with people who are in part‑time retirement. In fact, I just had a conversation with a client today. She went back to work. She was wanting to know what the impact was to her $1,000 a month that she was getting. It was just a few hours a week at a very reasonable amount.

She was getting nearly paid 15 bucks an hour for 25 hours’ worth of work. That generated about $1,000 of income. Well, that $1,000 of income then affected her claims on Social Security and how much of it was taxable and also affected what we could do with the rest of her planning and her IRA.

She was complicated even further of course by being single, which means that she had different tax brackets and not as much room in there.

You highlighted a perfect example, Mark, of where part‑time work introduces complexity. That’s specifically in the calculations of your Social Security taxes. Now, sometimes the work is just the work. We can even help for example, it’s good to do and get paid. We’re going to help figure out what should your withholding be, so that you don’t have a tax bill at the end of the year.

Or what can you do to offset that if you have wages because a lot of people think about doing this. Can you somehow contribute onto a retirement account that will lower your taxable income even it’s money that you’re going to take back out in two to three years when you’re fully retired? Maybe that’s worthwhile to again lower the amount of your Social Security taxes or what your overall tax picture is going to be.

There might be something worthwhile doing there as well.

Mark:  All right, I’m going to give you the final two minutes to wrap up this show. I’m going to finish with this question. We’re talking about 79 percent of workers, 57 to 75 years of age. 79 percent want to be semi‑retired not fully retired. Do you think we’re seeing a transition into the retirement world like we’ve seen in years past? Is this, people do want to be more engaged than just retire? I don’t know.

Victor:  It’s a great final question to end on. It’s something that’s been a passion of mine, which is how do you find successful retirement. I do believe that we’re going in a direction where the typical retirement is not what most people are looking for. They’re looking for something that is different. That different can be partially working.

That different can be having different stages of retirement. Some people retire for a little while in their mid‑50s, work again, then retire again afterwards and multistage retirement. The answer clearly is, I think yes. I think we’re going to see different forms of retirement.

We’re going to see a trend and there’s a lot of value that people can bring in a work environment that’s no longer in the factory where their physical body isn’t a limitation where they can continue doing this well into traditional retirement age, well into their 70s, 75.

A lot of value that folks that have been in a career for a long period of time have to share with the rest of the world and I think that’s going to continue, but here’s what I think is the important part of how to be successful in doing that is to figure out who your guide is going to be throughout that period of time.

Because as your decisions change, you want to know what the effect of those decisions are going to be on the rest of your picture. You don’t want to be shooting blind all over the place and saying, “Well, I hope it works out and I hope that I’m going to be OK, and I hope this doesn’t have a negative impact,” and then dealing with it afterwards.

You want those answers ahead of time and that’s what a partner who helps you with retirement planning can get for you, specifically advisors, like working with us. If you know that you don’t have that partner right now or you know that the person that you’re working with isn’t providing that value, it would be worth you just reaching out to us to figure out if we’re going to be the right partner for you.

Victor:  The best way to do that is to reach out to us at our phone number. It’s 856‑506‑83100. If you call over the weekend, we’ll take a message. We’ll give you a call back. If you give us a call at 856‑506‑83100, we’re going to be able to start a conversation, figure out whether or not we’re going to work well together.

Whether we’re going to be the partner for you, the advisor that you’re going to need and somebody is going to help give you the peace of mind that you do so richly deserve in your retirement. Whether you’re going to be working part time, working no time or working all the time, you deserve to have those answers, but you’ve got to take that first step. You should do it now. Call us at 856‑506‑8300.

Announcer:  Taxes are just a fact of life. You can’t avoid it even in retirement. 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 and elder law firm. Investment advisory services offered through Palante Wealth Advisors LLC, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania‑registered investment advisor.

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

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