Make It Last – Ep 109 – 5 Psychological Stages of Retirement, Electronic Wills, & Mindfulness

In today’s episode, Victor breaks down electronic wills and reiterates the importance of mindfulness. Victor also lays out the 5 Psychological Stages of Retirement as inspired by a study done by AgeWave, Ameriprise Financial, & Harris Interactive to learn more about the attitudes and worries of people before and after retirement.

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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.

For more information, visit Medina Law Group or Palante Wealth Advisors.

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Full transcript below:

Victor J. Medina:  Everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. I’m your host Victor Medina. I’m so glad that you could join us for another exciting adventure in the world of legal and financial retirement planning. I’ve got a great show for you today.

We’re going to go off the beaten path of the objective evaluations of retirement, numbers and what you can do.

I want to focus on a few fun items, some of the signs, the five psychological signs, or phases of retirement. I had a lot of fun preparing this one, so I’m really excited to go into it. Before I do, I found a few topical things that I wanted to go over, that are interesting tidbits that have come across my radar, that affect a lot of my clients.

The first one has to do with electronic wills. It’s interesting, because over the last, I don’t know, hundred years ‑‑ even less than that ‑‑ we’ve had so many technological advancements to the masses, including the computer, the Internet, smartphone, and these developments have changed the way that we live our lives and the way that we conduct business.

Everyone has access to a hundred percent of the knowledge in the world, just about ‑‑ at least the encyclopedia ‑‑ right in their pocket. I don’t know how many times I’ve been out to dinner where we’ve asked some question and I said, “You know what? We have the answer in our pocket. Let’s just look it up.”

All of the access to this has moved and migrated away from static paper to something else. Even instead of calling the receptionist of a company and asking for directions, if we just go to our cars app, put in the name of the company or the business, it automatically populates, and we’re off.

Instead of mailing documents or sending them on the Pony Express, we send them via email. We’ll send them now over text message or some other secure communications system.

Right now, technology is colliding with trust and estates laws through the use of electronic wills. Let’s take a look at what these are, along with how states are beginning to deal with them.

What is an electronic will? Everyone remembers the time where you used to have the reading of the will. You’d be at the lawyer’s office. There’d be a lot of pomp and circumstance. Everything would smell of mahogany wood and leather and we would open up this rich leather paper and we would sit down and we would have the reading of the will.

At least that’s what it is in people’s mind. I will tell you, I’ve been at this for over 15 years. I have never had a reading of a will. Ever. Not one.

A will is basically that document if you don’t know, that gives instructions on one’s death. What property should be distributed, who should be in charge, if you have minor children, who’s the nominated guardian for those people, what to do with your remains. Basically everything.

For a will to be valid, you have to follow certain formalities. One of the things that people are going to be looking at is how is the document executed. Signatures have to be on certain lines, or have to be certain witnesses or notaries. If there is a holographic will, is that acceptable? Should all the pages be numbered in initials? Does the will need to be recorded?

The whole idea about all of these formalities, all of the rules about how things are supposed to get executed, that’s there largely to protect the person making the will by only allowing valid wills to be admitted into probate, which is the system that wills are validated and we go off on a state administration.

We want to also alert…The thing’s more of a psychological behavior or game in there. We want to alert the testator, the person who is making the will, about the gravity of the decisions that they are making through the complexity of the formality.

If it was as simple as saying, “I want my stuff to go to Bob” and you could just say it out loud into a recorder, we wouldn’t take the decision as seriously. So it’s a combination of this protection as well as raising the level of the seriousness of what we’re doing to its proper status.

Now, as you might expect, electronic wills are essentially wills that are signed, written or notarized electronically. If a holographic will is acceptable in certain jurisdiction, how about a will that is typed? By the way, a holographic will, if you don’t know is a will that you write in your own handwriting. That’s basically a holographic will.

Well, how about a will that is typed? This is often referred to as an offline will. It’s typed and signed by the testator on some form of an electronic device and stored on the device’s hard drive.

An online will, brings in another private actor such as a will posted to Facebook, which is stored on somebody else’s server or on the cloud, and can provide information such as a time stamp, or some form of authentication of the account.

Finally, a custodial electronic will is created when a company that is deemed to be qualified as a custodian can create, execute, and store the will with the work of the person who’s making it. These companies are all controlled by state laws and regulations.

I have a friend of mine that is in the real estate business, and he and his partner prepare a lot of documents for execution on real estate matters. What he’s noticing is, more and more, there’s a series of electronic notary statutes that are starting to sweep the country.

Courts have had to deal with unconventional wills in recent years. A will that was typed on a phone was ruled as valid. In another case, there was a computer generated signature that was deemed valid. Technology, just by virtue of the current societal landscape, how accepted it is, how ubiquitous it is, people may not have two nickels to rub together but they’ve got a cell phone.

This technology has now drifted into a states and trust law, and some states are putting in statutes in place to address the changing time. The most recent, by the way, is Florida. Back when they had Governor Rick Scott, they had vetoed a piece of legislation similar to this in 2017.

This recent legislation has survived the process. As of January 1st, 2020, Floridians can notarize documents such as a will or a power of attorney electronically. The statutes specifies the requirements and standards of online notarization. It’s amending the current statute to redefine this technical phrase in the presence of a notary.

The way that they’ve changed it is that the definition of the words, appear before or in the presence of a notary, includes in the physical presence of another person, outside of the physical presence of another person but able to hear, see, and communicate by the means of an audio‑visual communication technology.

Audio‑visual communication technology means technology in compliance with applicable law, which enables real‑time two‑way communication using electronic means in which the participants can hear, see, and communicate with one another.

What does that look like, sound like? FaceTime, right? If you can FaceTime with somebody, that means that you can hear, see, and communicate with one another using an electronic device that gives you real‑time two‑way communication. You’re not just observing them, but they can communicate back and forth.

If you were FaceTiming with somebody, you could be in the presence of a notary. An electronic notary, by the way, a notarization, no longer has to have an official seal, and it’s different. A different form of signature is going to be used. The old notary used to have that stamp on there that you could rub with your finger, and that’s how you knew it was valid.

There are other states that authorize the use of electronic notarization on certain documents. Those include Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. We have a real handful of these additional jurisdictions.

The first jurisdiction to authorize this was Nevada. It was about 17 years ago, which is a long time. Think about all of the technology that has changed since then.

Here’s the law that they wrote. They said that an electronic will is the will of someone, a testator, that is created and maintained in an electronic record and contains the day and electronic signature of the testator, which includes without limitation an authentic characteristic of the testator.

That can include a fingerprint, a retinal scan, voice recognition, facial recognition, video recording, digitized signature, or other commercially reasonable authentication, which uses a unique characteristic of the person. What’s cool about that is the way that they’ve defined it.

First of all, it sounds a little futuristic. How many retinal scans do you know that are out there, like retinal scanners. I’ve never used one. I’m sure the CIA has one. I don’t have one. I don’t know where to get one.

They did include this sort of catch all in there that said that it can include any other commercially reasonable authentication device using a unique characteristic. There might be a way, for instance, of mapping our face. They do talk about facial recognition.

Think about the newest iPhone. The newest iPhone allows you to open your phone by looking at it. It does a map of your face. It’s not just a picture. It can’t get fooled by a picture, but it has an authentication level to that. What if we were able to use that to create this record under Nevada law?

There are other things, by the way, that are included in there. They can only have one authoritative copy maintained and controlled by the testator or their custodian.

That’s important, because in the age of copy and paste, keeping multiple copies of documents in various places on all of your electronic devices, it may be difficult for somebody to do. Should they email copies to loved ones? What if they have a copy in their hard drive, in their laptop, but they also have a copy on their phone?

To keep this confusion, many testators find it best to keep the authoritative copy with an attorney or other professional custodian.

I know that in our office, when we do estate planning for people, we will hold on to a record of their estate planning documents. It just doesn’t include an electronic record, but for our purposes, we feel really comfortable saying that we are the holder of the A, but definitely one of the, if not the valid copy, of whatever the documents are.

I think that the people who oppose this and oppose to moving towards electronic wills are probably really steeped in the rich history of formalities. They find comfort in the integrity of the documents. They like to touch the linen paper, they like to feel the raised seal of the notary.

If we go the way of electronic wills, there are some pitfalls that we have to overcome and address that statutes may not consider. For instance, how do you revoke an electronic will? Back in the day, if we ripped up that copy, there’s only one authoritative copy on there, there’s a date, there’s a stamp. We can get rid of it.

What happens if you delete the authoritative copy? How do you replicate it? One of the things now that happens is that if we have to submit a will that is purported to be a will in New Jersey, and as a copy, we have to authenticate that in some fashion and have to go through a court process to get it in. There are also another set of perils that are inherent in here.

I know none of you are going to do this because you all appreciate what is the value of having a competent estate planning attorney. Electronic wills are definitely going to increase the number of do‑it‑yourselfers out there. The risk of that is not that we’ll lose business.

We will continually have a place in people’s lives who find value in working with a professional, but what happens if you write something that’s wrong? Who interprets that? How do we deal with it?

I worry about the people that are do‑it‑yourselfers and essentially don’t get their intentions carried out in the documents that they have. Trust and estates law, it’s tedious. It is archaic in many ways. There are a lot of intricacies that sometimes cut against just common sense. As estate planning attorneys, we know how to navigate that.

What do we do with an electronic will drafted by a non‑professional that’s going to cause headaches for a family in the future? I might even go far as to suggest that these electronic wills, these things that require a higher level of technology, might only be valid if executed with the assistance of a professional. I know that’s going to invoke a whole kind of concern out there about that.

I think that’s one of the ways to avoid things like fraud. For instance, what if you had somebody that you trained the phone on the person’s face? You’re doing FaceTime with them, but you, the notary, can’t see that the oldest child that has been holding this senior hostage has got a gun pointed to their head, or their pills held over an open toilet, ready to flush them down.

What do you do about that? How do you determine undo influence in that? For the people that are in favor of this, they’re looking for ease of preparation and execution. We want something that is probably inevitable, that we’re going to do that.

In addition to Florida, by the way, Indiana has a statute authorizing an electronic will, and Arizona’s electronic will statute becomes effective on July 1st.

Here we are, timely with this show because that will be next Monday. If you want to go get an electronic will done, it’s easy. We’re going to book a trip, and you’re going to go out to Arizona, and you’re going to become a resident of Arizona. You’re going to sign your will out there, just so you can say you’re the first person to do it in Arizona.

I ate up all of the time that I had for other subjects, to talk about fun and interesting with this. I got to get back to the main purpose of this show or the main topic for it, which is dealing with the five psychological phases of retirement.

In the meantime, I’m going to take these notes from this and we’ll transfer them over so that in a future show, we’ll be able to take each one of them and talk about them.

Because I had a really good stuff, how to negotiate down your bills, which is great for people that are on a budget. We’ll learn about that. We’re going to talk about common medications that are implicated in or around Alzheimer’s. That’s important, too. We definitely want to know about that, as well.


Victor:  Let’s go to this. I’m going to take a quick break. When we come back, I’m going to talk to you about the five psychological phases of retirement. I’m going to help you learn how to mentally prepare yourself for that retirement you always dreamed of. Stick with us. We’ll be right back after this quick break.

Announcer:  Imagine if the attorney you trust to protect your legal interests could also be trusted to protect your retirement wealth. One trusted advisor, dual fiduciary rules, Victor J. Medina. Mr. Medina is an estate planning and certified elder law attorney with a national reputation. He is also a certified financial planner professional.

Through his law firm and independent registered investment advisory company, Mr. Medina provides 360‑degree wealth protection strategies for individuals in or nearing retirement. His unique approach offers advantages to high wealth individuals seeking conservative advice and a professionally managed approach to their retirement wealth.

Learn more. Call 609‑818‑0068. That’s 609‑818‑0068. Or, listen to the newest episode of Make It Last Radio, Wednesday mornings at 11:00 on 1450 Talk Radio. Investment advisory services is offered through Palante Wealth Advisors, LLC, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania registered investment advisor.

Victor:  Hey everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. I’m going to be talking today, first, about something fun and interesting, like new electronic wills and the way they’re sweeping the country.

I want to go back to this topic of retirement. I wanted to cover something that I think is a little more interesting in the ways of creating a budget. I think all of that’s important, by the way, super important. I want to talk about the five psychological phases of retirement. I had a lot of fun preparing this. People’s ability to prepare mentally can separate the good from the great.

I’ve been on record, here in this show, talking and extolling the virtues of mindfulness. Bringing and drawing attention to being present is a way, it’s like a super ninja skill, that will bring you out of the reaction world and into the response world, that you can think these things through and you can better adjust to whatever circumstances are happening.

We see this, by the way, in the greatest athletes in the world. We see this in the people who prepare mentally and can stay in the moment. By the way, one of my favorite examples of this is sort of two. There are golfers that have to stay in the moment of the swing and can’t carry with them a prior swing. I’m not really great at that. As a golfer, I kind of carry my past swing. I’m hoping the meditation helps.

One of the things, or one of the sports that that’s the case is if you’re a pitcher, and you throw a knuckleball. Now, a knuckleball is a ball that essentially has almost no spin. By the way, it doesn’t have no spin, because that would be too easy to hit, it wouldn’t dance.

It actually only rotates about one or one‑and‑a half rotations between the time it leaves the pitcher’s hand and when it arrives at the catcher’s glove, and so that is a perfect knuckleballer.

There are all kinds of techniques to doing that. You can hold it with the knuckles, like you can crouch your fingers up and push it out. The idea is you want to push that out, you can hold it with your fingertips and push it out. And so, there’s a whole delivery mechanism.

One of the best knuckleball pitchers in more recent history has been a guy named Tim Wakefield. Now, those of you who know me know that I’m a big Red Sox fan. Tim Wakefield was a Red Sox pitcher and he was a knuckleballer. He would talk about the mental preparedness, the level of attention that he had to pay in the moment and stay completely in the moment.

He had to be focused, confident, trusting in his process that and it helped him compete because if he rolled this ball, it became a 75‑mile an hour batting practice pitch that was going to get clocked out of it. If he threw it correctly, it was going to be nearly impossible to hit and to guess.

By the way, Bob Uecker had a great line about how to catch a knuckleball pitcher. He said it’s very easy. You sit behind the plate. The knuckleballer throws the ball. You wait for the ball to hit the ground and stop rolling, you pick it up, and you throw it back. He said that was the way that you caught a knuckleballer.

Anyway, back to this. Those who are mentally prepared for a job are going to be more successful than those who wing it. Mental preparation translates to proper execution, which is what we’re looking for.

Many people today mentally prepare themselves for retirement, but unfortunately, they don’t act on their thoughts in their head, and their retirement game plan takes a back seat. People often spend more time planning their wedding or vacation than they do retirement. It’s sad to think about it, but it’s absolutely true.

I guess we understand that vacations are fun and exciting, and your wedding’s supposed to be filled with joy and happiness. Isn’t that retirement too? Isn’t that what we’re doing? I think many people are scared about this next phase and they don’t know where to start. They let their emotions prevent them from building the proper plan for retirement.

Today I want to discuss five psychological phases that can occur in retirement and help you understand how to mentally focus for the particular phase that you might be in.

Here’s the thing. Typically, as I said, we talk about different investments, a way to plan for retirement. Again, I think it’s sort of refreshing to help explain some of the different psychological phases that can connect you to your retirement from a mental standpoint. I do think that this is a topic that is important to cover, because it’s often overlooked.

Even though I have a psychology degree, I don’t want to come off as a psychologist here…but I do want to give you information that will help you prepare, and I think one of the best ways that you can prepare is with a checklist.

Boy, do I have good news for you. We have prepared a checklist for you that you can download to help you prepare for retirement income planning. If you want to make sure that you have sufficient income in retirement, you should download this checklist. The way that you do that is you text the word “checklist” to 609‑554‑5936.

You type “checklist,” all one word, and you send it to 609‑554‑5936, and I’ll get over to you your retirement income checklist, and you will be on that first step to planning. It’s going to be fantastic.

OK. Where do we get this topic from? Today’s topic is all based on this new retirement Mindscape study, which was created in 2005 by Age Wave, Ameriprise Financial, and Harris Interactive. This was the first study created to understand people’s attitudes, worries, behaviors, ambitions, needs, both before and after retirement.

This study uncovered five distinct and predictable stages of retirement, which I’m going to discuss with you today.

Constructing a framework for your retirement is suggested to start, at least, three to five years before your retirement date. Assessment and course correction occurs about a year before your retirement date. The honeymoon period will likely have faded after a year or so of retirement, so it’s now time to review how things are going.

A couple of years later, your retirement will be your new normal. This, in total, can be a six to eight‑year journey that’s going to require flexibility and resilience. I’m going to dive into that right now.

By the way, I had a meeting with a client today, and this was one of these rare meetings where I was talking to somebody who was younger than me. Most of the time when we meet somebody, they’re older than I am, I’m typically younger than them, which is OK.

My dad told me as I was to enter this field, he said, because my dad’s really supportive, “You’d be very successful.” That’s what my dad says. “You’re going to be very successful.” He goes, “Here’s the reason why.” This is my dad, he’s older, “I’ve learned that as you get older, you want two things.

He says, “You want an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor that’s younger than you are, you can’t outlive them, and you want a doctor with small hands.” I’ll let that sink in for some of you. Anyway, going into the first one, psychological phase number one, imagination. This is the first phase.

This is approximately 6 to 15 years prior to retirement, where retirement is still a long ways away. In this stage, typically, people tend to have very positive views about retirement. They have high expectations of adventure and empowerment in their retirement.

Although people have positive views about retirement in this phase, only 44 percent say that they are on track in terms of preparation. That’s why we call it imagination. It doesn’t actually exist. Just as with everything in life, and most things in life, people don’t think it’s very important to plan with something that’s so far away. Instead, procrastination is what people end up doing.

I’m encouraging you, not only to be optimistic about retirement in this phase of life. If you’re 6 to 15 years away from retirement, you should be optimistic. You should let your imagination run wild about all of the things that you’re going to do, but also make sure you are saving as much as you can so that you’re not part of the 56 percent that isn’t on track for retirement.

The second phase is called anticipation. Anticipation occurs about three to five years prior to your retirement date. If the first one is 6 to 15 years, this is going to be three to five years prior to retirement date. Your past imagination and all the fantasies, hopes and wishes that come with it. Your friends are retiring, and you might be tired of working. The finish line is in sight.

According to the Mindscape study, about 80 percent of people believe that they will be able to achieve their dreams in retirement during the anticipation phase. Much like the imagination, phase two, they’re totally optimistic, but retirement is much closer, and they start thinking about it more. About one year into retirement, we want to do a check in.

This is not considered one of the five psychological phases based on that study but it’s an important time. About one year from retirement, it’s time to do a pre‑flight review. What do you want to do the week after you retire? How about six months after you retire? Try to visualize exactly what you want your retirement to look like.

There’s a retirement transition expert named Nancy Schlossberg. She came up with a helpful preparation tool that I like using with clients called, the four S’s of coping with life changes and assessing your social and emotional strengths and weaknesses.

They include, here are the four S’s, your situation with work and family at the time of transition, your sense of self, your outlook, resiliency, spirituality, your support. What’s your self‑esteem like? What’s your social network like? What are your role models like?

Your strategy, re‑framing, self‑management, optimism. How are you going to cope? These are going to be four coping mechanism to deal with it and they can either be your situation, your sense of self, your support or your strategy. These are all part of anticipation.

In fact, this check in and these four S’s are going to be what I recommend you take a look at to make sure that you are essentially on track with each of these phases, and that you’re correctly positioned for them.

When we get to the next or third phase, we’re talking about liberation. From your retirement date to one year following, comes this third phase known as liberation. During this phase, according to the study, you’re going to feel great, excitement, relief, and enthusiasm.

78 percent of people say that they are “enjoying retirement a great deal.” That’s in quotes. I think that basically the way to think about this is you’re…It’s like your honeymoon. By the way, and I hope that your honeymoon lasted forever.

My honeymoon with my wife has lasted forever. It’s just still the best part of being married. There is no honeymoon and it ended. This is the best part. The honeymoon of retirement is when you get to soak in the first year of not having to work.

There are several types of retirees out there, and then going back to Nancy Schlossberg, that are identified. We’ll discuss this in a second but, ask yourself which type of retiree you think you are or you might be if you’re earlier in this.

You could take on several of these personas especially in the initial period of retirement because, again, in the honeymoon phase where you’re still trying on the clothes, you might take one off and try another one on.

Here are several types of retirees. You can get adventurers. Those are people that are shaking things up, trying new things, you’re going to go bungee jumping for the first time. You’re going to travel to a foreign country with no plans. You’re going to stay at a hostel and eat all the street food. You’re going to be out there sucking the marrow from life.

Searchers, people who are looking to fit in. This happens a lot with people whose identity has been wrapped up in their work. When their identity has been wrapped up entirely in their work, it’s difficult to find a new identity so they’re trying to figure out where do they fit in in life.

That’s totally natural because we as human beings, even though we are super good at charging out in a direction on our own and forging new roads, we are still pack animals. We still have this need for belonging.

There’s a reason why we congregated in tribes. We have this really, really thin skin. We scratch very easily. We needed this group for protection, to provide sustenance, and that level of security still exists to retirement. Who are going to be the people that we fit in with?

Then we get the easy gliders. They’re not adventurers. Easy gliders aren’t people that aren’t going to try to shake things up. Easy gliders, they’re just taking one day at a time, man. There’s no plan. They’re are going to do whatever. Whatever happens today, that’s what I’m going to do.

Then we have these involved spectators. These are people that are still connected to their careers. They sort of separated. They filed the papers. They put the stuff in the box out of their desk. They got the gold watch. They took their clock home and the pictures of their family, but they’re still connected to their career in some fashion.

Maybe they’re still doing some work in that area. Maybe they’re still researching about it. Maybe they’re still connecting with other colleagues even though they’re retired.

Then we have retreaters. These are people who pause to regroup and they basically don’t do anything. They don’t leave the rocking chair. They are just in a stasis, not doing anything.

Think about these personas. Are you going to be an adventurer in retirement? Are you going to be a searcher? Will you be an easy glider, an involved spectator or a retreater? More of one, some of the other and go back and forth? Because it’s important that you understand what your honeymoon period is going to be like.

If your initial evaluation of who you’re going to be is someone that you don’t want to be, then you’re going to want to make some form of a change and start to plan around that. How will you set the conditions to be in another persona?

If you want to be an adventurer, how early do we have to book that first trip? How outside of the comfort zone? Who do we have to make us friends in order to draw us out from that? Those are all super, super important. Let me take a quick break. I’m looking at the clock right here. We’re up again to break.

When we come back, we’ll deal with the other two phases, as well as the rest of the planning stuff that you should know as you approach to your retirement. You have five psychological phases of retirement. Hope you’re enjoying the show. We’ll be right back after this quick break.


Announcer:  Life is better when you have your legal ducks in a row. One area attorney can help you get your financial ducks in a row as well. Victor J. Medina fills dual fiduciary roles, an estate planning and certified elder law attorney, and also a credentialed certified financial planner professional.

Through his law practice and independent registered investment advisory company, Mr. Medina serves high wealth individuals seeking conservative advice and a professionally managed approach to retirement wealth management. Learn more about Victor’s 360‑degree wealth protection strategies call 609‑818‑0068.

That’s 609‑818‑0068, or listen to the newest episode of Make It Last Radio, Wednesday mornings at 11:00 on 1450 Talk Radio. Investment advisory services offer through Palante Wealth Advisors, LLC, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania registered investment advisor.

Victor:  Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Make It Last. We’ve been talking about the five psychological phases of retirement. This is based on the new retirement Mindscape study, which is conducted by a few different agencies. We’ve covered the first three of the psychological phase.

Number one is imagination. That’s when you have your best dreams about what retirement can be, but the risk is that you have no planning around it. Phase two is anticipation that happens three to five years prior to your retirement date. You still have some of these imagination‑related stuffs.

You’re still optimistic, but you’ve done more planning about it. I’m recommending that you do a check in to make sure that you can start to visualize what retirement is going to be like and your coping mechanism because there are a lot of people who feel that they’re not comfortable or they won’t be comfortable.

The third phase is liberation. This is what we call the honeymoon phase. You want to be thinking about what kind of persona you’re going to take on in retirement. You’re going to be an adventurer or you’re going to retreat. You’re going to search. You’re going to be easygoing and just take one day at a time.

Psychological phase four is a reorientation. This happens approximately two years after retirement and goes out until about 15 years after retirement. The honeymoon is over in this phase. That typical phrase is the honeymoon is over. The honeymoon is over here.

Now you’ve taken some twists and turns and you’re finally settling in. With my parents, when they retired almost immediately afterwards, they started having some health crises. Somebody’s knee went out and something going on in their esophagus. There’s a lot of medical stuff that was going on.

This dealt some blows to their idea about what retirement was going to be. They had gone through that honeymoon phase. They had been out to travel. They exchanged one summer home for a different summer home, but then they were there just to battling through that. In the reorientation phase, retirement is normal for you. You’re accustomed to the lifestyle.

Unfortunately, people say that the joy of retirement has passed in this phase. Now don’t let that affect you, or don’t let the prospect of that happening affect you. This is the opportunity to reinvent yourself and pursue what you’ve always wanted but never dared to chase. Make sure that your retirement strategy and your financial planning allows for you to chase that, but go after it.

If you’re worried in this phase and don’t believe that you can do that, seek advice from a retirement specialist who can help you get on track. You shouldn’t be short‑cutting these dreams and what it is that you are going to be doing simply because you are worried or you are anxious because the joy has been taken away.

Solve the problem about what your retirement looks like in the way that you have your assets and your income and your long term care‑planning or whatever it is that you are doing, your legal planning, whatever that is. Whatever is keeping you up at night, solve that problem so that you can go back to enjoying it.

The fifth psychological phase is reconciliation and this happens 16 or more years after retirement. Here’s the great news. The great news is that this stage involves increased contentment, increased acceptance and personal reflection. I can’t think of a better way to be in retirement than with increased contentment, acceptance and personal reflection that most people have come to terms with all that retirement has had to offer by now.

Whether that legacy is being the assets that they pass on to their loved ones or how are they going to be remembered by others. Legacy is what is drawing their attention at this time in their life. They want to figure out what they are going to be leaving behind. This is not the time to sit in the rocking chair and grow old. This is the final phase of your life that you want to enjoy if you are able to.

Legacy planning can be very important in this phase so that your assets are passed on in the most tax efficient manner and in the most protected manner.

I just came back yesterday. June 25th, I had a speaking engagement over at the Monroe Senior Center and we were talking about ways to protect your principal. We were covering both financial and legal tools that would help you protect your principal. There was a great conversation that happened in the group about what protecting principal meant and why to do it. Why should we engage in that?

The discussion started to involve things that people wanted to be remembered for. If we’re going to end up having a legacy or leaving stuff behind, what is that going to be there for? What are we going to use that for? People had all kinds of reasons to get that done.

They might have wanted a legacy in terms of charity that they’ve created, or ways of helping other people or making sure that a special needs child was provided for after they were gone. These were all things that people were paying attention to, and it’s right. It’s right for people to be focusing on that because this is that final phase.

You want to make sure that what you’re leaving behind, whether it’s money, ideas, the help that you’ve given is done, is something you can rest easy with.

One of the largest barriers to retirement, of course, is the lack of planning or the failure to plan. Those that have planned ahead are typically the ones who are most successful. The ones who don’t plan at all are usually ones that have to stress.

Don’t feel like your retirement is ruined if you haven’t done much planning. People are living longer today than ever. There’s always time to do planning, even if you’re already retired. I want to end this show by giving a few ideas of different age categories when it comes for planning for retirement.

Let’s take people in their 50s. Most people think of retirement as being something that happens or begins age 65 and ends 15 to 20 years later, but that’s not the case. People are living longer than they ever were 30 or 40 years ago. It’s not out of the norm to plan for 25 or 30, 35‑plus year retirement.

With that said, you still have plenty of time to plan if you’re in your 50s. Here are a couple of discreet, specific recommendations for you.

First, you’ve got to be maxing out your contribution to your 401(k) or company plans. I had a meeting with a younger person who wanted to make sure that they were on the road to retirement. They said, “Should I do this? Should I do that.”

I said, “Look, you’re number one step is to max out your contributions to your company plans because that gives you the most amount of money that you can save, even with a deduction to your taxes, and that’s going to be about $19,000.” If you are over age 50, so in your 50s, in this category, we can have some catch up contributions, as well and get that number up to $25,000.

You might want to contribute to an IRA or Roth IRA, if you can. That’s going to be based on your income limits. If you are a married couple, you are phased out of contributing to a Roth IRA once you’re over about $200,000. You kind of want to take a look at that.

Money earning a market return, just whatever the market is doing that time, has historically doubled every 10 years. Now is the time to save. It will give you an opportunity in your 50s to be in a great position in your 60s. Speaking of which, let’s get to in your 60s.

In your 60s, you probably already have a nest egg. It’s important to start dialing down the risk exposure. By the way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you go all to bonds. You may want to think about getting some of that money out of harm’s way, so that if a downturn in the market happens, it won’t affect all of your retirement, maybe just a portion. You have some other stuff that’s secure.

If you know that you’re still going to be working well past age 65, and your work income is secure, then maybe in that circumstance, you’ll be able to tolerate more risk in your financial strategy. You also want to start thinking about in your 60s, Social Security.

If you do not absolutely need the income at age 62, consider putting off social security to at least full retirement age. Depending on what year you were born, for most people kind of approaching retirement in the future, it’s going to be age 67. By the way, you may even want to delay that to age 70.

The reason for this is that Social Security is going to increase about eight percent every year you delay it. Given, of course, that there’s no reduction and benefits in the future with any law changes, you want to sort of plan around that eight percent, because there’s no place in the world that that eight percent is going to be guaranteed other than in the rules of Social Security.

You want to start repositioning your assets in your 60s, and make sure that you’ve got this income thing solved for.

In your 70s, you definitely want to start saving in some low volatility accounts for emergencies. If you are in a situation in retirement, and everything’s invested, and you have an emergency crisis, you don’t have a steady flow of income to kind of go to that money, or you can’t withdraw money from your nest egg, and then re‑contribute it with money coming in.

It’s important that we’ve got an emergency fund so that we don’t have to worry about the volatility in the stock market, when we need a big distribution of money to live on or something like that. If you don’t have enough money and need help generating, you may want to consider downsizing your home.

If you raised a family in a home of 3,000 square feet, you may want to think about reducing the footprint there. Use some of that equity that you’ve been building up to add to your nest egg.

By the way, this is also the time to spend money that you’ve been building up in your nest egg if you need it. Don’t throw in the towel and think that retirement is over in the 70s. Meet with a financial professional even in your 70s, who can look at your situation and figure out exactly what’s best for you.

You also want to think about, in your 70s, doing some legal planning in order to shield assets if you need long term care. The thing is that the there are two big bites that can come to your retirement money. One is in the form of income taxes.

If you have not properly planned for income taxes, that failure to plan can cause more money to be paid out in income taxes than you absolutely needed to pay.

The other one and the one that I see in my office every day, every day, every day is long term care costs. What is going to happen is, if you need long term care, the cost of that is very, very significant.

If you need somebody to help you in the home, they’re going to get billed out at about $20, $21 an hour, maybe even so much as $22 an hour. They are going to require a three‑hour minimum. That will include 75 bucks. That will cost you 70 bucks a day.

If you need to move to an assisted living facility, you are going to pay about $5,500 a month off of that. If you need a nursing home, you’re going to be up nearly $12,000 or $14,000. If you don’t have unlimited funds, if you don’t have money that you can just keep throwing at long term care, you need to do more planning for long term care.

You need to shield these assets. You need to take them out of harm’s way so that if you need long term care, you don’t have to spend them all down. A couple of things, by the way, you want to make sure that you are working with a certified elder law attorney that is specialized, has all of the experience to work with a senior population to protect assets.

This certified elder law attorney is a designation that is bestowed on people that, first of all, meet the recommendation of their other peers. You can’t get into the club of the best elder law planners, unless other elder law planners, those good people themselves, recommend you.

Then you have to demonstrate that you have a sufficient experience with it. The attorneys that get this designation, and I’m one of them, are going to show a list of matters that they’ve worked on, that demonstrate, that helped other families, the elders, in all of the areas that are important for this kind of planning.

Then on top of that, you’ve got to pass an exam. By the way, this is a difficult exam. This is harder than the bar exam, or, at least, has a lower passage rate than the bar exam. When I did the bar exam, I want to say that well over 50 percent of the people passed, maybe even 60 or 70 percent. In this exam, the elder law exam, you’re going to see a passage rate of about 30 percent or so.

When I took it, 11 people passed out of 33 that took it in that session. This is one of those designations that is not a BS‑credential. It is the end‑all and be‑all credential for elder law planning.

If you’re looking for somebody, maybe it’s not me that you want to work with, you just want to make sure that you’re working with someone that is a certified elder law attorney. If you’re looking for this designation, what you should do is go to the National Elder Law Foundation,, and search for people in your state.

Maybe you’re a podcast listener, and you’re not in New Jersey, and you can’t work with us. You’re going to want somebody that is in your state with a CELA designation, C‑E‑L‑A, in order to do that. In order to work with somebody that knows what they’re doing.

It’s really important, in the 70s, to be thinking about this because this is the time that, historically, you will find your first long term care event, basically aged 76. You need to do planning, and the best planning actually happens about five years before you need it. That’s when you can safeguard the majority of assets, the most amount of money.

You definitely want to be in front of a competent elder law attorney. Most importantly, a certified elder law attorney to address your long term care needs. So that if you need a nursing home, if you need an assisted living facility, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your money in that scenario.

Listen, wrapping up today, if you need help, mentally, preparing for your retirement, if you need help adjusting your game plan to help you feel more confident in any of the different scenarios, whether it’s imagination, reconciliation, whatever you are, psychological phase one through phase five, it really would help you to work with a professional.

I encourage you to give us a call today at 609‑818‑0068 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Again, that number is 609‑818‑0068. You can also visit our website at, that’s M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A, or you can visit our financial services site at, that’s P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E‑W‑E‑A‑L‑T‑, either one of those.

If you just want something free, hey, I got a free thing for you. We have a checklist that’s going to help you with your retirement income planning. All you do to get that is you text the word “checklist” to 609‑554‑5936. That’s (609)554‑5936. You text the word “checklist” to that, and we’ll send that right out to you to help you with your retirement income planning.

What did you think about today’s show? It’s a nice change of pace talking about these five psychological phases. I had a lot of fun preparing the show for you. I hope that you have as much fun listening to it. If you did, do me a favor. Go on to Apple podcast and leave a positive review, a five‑star review for how much did you like this show.

Share this show with a friend. A lot of people that are entering retirement or even in retirement are friends with other retired people. Knowing about the five psychological phases can help people avoid a lot of stress and headache as they navigate retirement.

You can share this show with them by going to Apple podcasts or going to We’re even on Spotify, which is a free service that you can go and search podcast. Go into one of those, that podcast station or on Spotify, will allow you to go back and listen to any of the other 108 shows that we have produced. There might be a topic there that you are thinking about.

It’d be great if you could be a friend to someone else by sharing this great information with them, and sharing that, “Hey, I got this great podcast. This nut, Victor Medina, he talks for an hour on retirement planning. There’s five psychological phases. You should listen to It.” Get them subscribed so that they can get whatever they need done with this legal and financial planning.

I hope you had a lot fun with this show. We’ll be back next week. We will have a show even there’s a day before Independence Day. We’re going to have a lot of fun with that show, as well, celebrating some of the tradition of Americana on that.

Other than that, we will catch you next week on Make It Last where we help you keep your legal ducks in a row and your financial nest egg secure. Bye‑bye.


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