The Triple Whammy
Have you ever been Whammied? It is not fun especially when it is tripled!
For a decade my radio show has aired on multiple stations weekly. My shows air in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, but people from all over the country listen to me. I get calls from people who are in town on vacation, traveling for business and visiting family. One of the things I look forward to every week is the variety of calls I receive.
I have people call in and ask about every topic under the sun including things like Social Security planning, tax planning, how to roll over accounts from previous employers, and what to do when you receive an inheritance. The topics are genuinely endless. But there is one thing that comes up in almost every call I receive: SAFETY! Nearly every caller wants to know how to keep 100% of their principal safe. They are just tired of losing money, and they hate paying their advisor even when their accounts go backward.
In January of 2019, I was flooded with calls from people who had received their December 31st year-end quarterly statements from their brokerage accounts. I can tell you what almost every single caller said. In a nutshell, it goes something like this: “I just received my most recent statement from my broker, and I lost a lot of money. I am so upset. I can’t afford to keep losing money at this rate.”
I’ve had people tell me their most recent statements were down $10,000, $17,000, $35,000 and yes, even over $80,000. It doesn’t matter the size of the person’s account, losses are real, and losses hurt! Whether it’s $10,000 or $80,000, no one is happy when they see their accounts go backward, and it adds insult to injury when you still have to pay your advisor even when you lose money inside your account.
I believe there are a lot of great advisors across the country and I know a lot of them. There’s no one advisor or team of advisors who could serve all the people who need help with their retirement planning, so thank goodness there are a lot of great ones to go around. However, you should be very careful when you decide who to work with when it comes to your retirement planning because not all advisors are equipped to meet your stated purposes. So make sure you are working with someone who is committed to keeping your money SAFE!
I often say on my radio show that most people seem to suffer from short term memory loss. Our country was devastated during the market crashes of 2001 and 2008. These crashes shut down businesses. They caused the loss of thousands of jobs. People lost their homes and their retirement accounts. But guess what, when the markets started heading back in the right direction and continued to do so for almost a decade, people seemed to forget just how devastating this was.
Most of the people who called me in early 2019 had lost as much as 20% of their brokerage accounts in the last quarter of 2018. And when this happens, you can probably guess what the broker tells them. “Don’t worry, stay the course, and this is only a paper loss. Markets fluctuate. The market always comes back.” And you know what, I might agree with this advice if the client was 25, 35 or maybe even 45. But this is not the advice a 60-70-year-old wants to hear. Why? Because they don’t have the time, it takes for the market to come back. Especially when they are in danger of what I call:
What is the Triple Whammy? I talk about this in my book, Safe Money Matters. You see friends when you are retired and you taking distributions from your account, and you simply cannot afford to lose money and pay fees on top of experiencing losses.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you have $100,000 in your retirement account and you start taking a $500 a month distribution because you need the income. This would amount to $6,000 a year in distributions. Now, let’s say that same year market conditions were like they were in the fall of 2018 and during that year, you lose 20% from your retirement account. Of course, you must still pay a 1+% management fee that is deducted from your account, even when the markets go down. In just one year, even though you had only taken $6,000 in distributions, your account would go down from $100,000 to $73,000 because of the TRIPLE WHAMMY affect. And to make matters more realistic, let’s say the market corrections and market losses continue for up to 18 months like they normally do during the average market correction. Imagine the losses aren’t 20%, let’s say they are 40-50% like they were in 2001 and 2008. And during that 18 month correction period, you continue to take your distributions, while experiencing losses, while paying fees.
It doesn’t take a math professor to realize what the impact of the TRIPLE WHAMMY is in retirement. If you are taking distributions while experiencing losses while paying someone fees, you will be upside down in your accounts so fast it will make your head spin. If you are above the age of 50 and you are nearing retirement or are in retirement, you cannot afford to do this.
I recently met with a family who had heard me on the radio. They knew it was in their best interest to start using a different method for investing. They had their money in brokerage accounts, and they were tired of the risks it involved. They were getting too close to retirement to continue taking this level of risk. When we met in my office, they brought their most recent statement. Upon reviewing the statement, I noticed the date on their statement was about three months old. I asked them, “When was the last time you called to get your balance or looked online to see what your current balance is?” They said what most people say, “Oh, we haven’t looked. We’ve been too busy with work and life.” Then, they asked the dreaded question, “Why? Should we be worried?” These clients came to see me in the late fall of 2018. You probably remember what happened in the markets in the fall of 2018. I suggested they call their advisor to find out what their balance was and I listened as they made the call.
I watched their faces when they received their balance. I saw anger and fear when they found out their accounts were down over $38,000. They already knew they wanted to make changes in the way they invested. They knew they wanted to keep 100% of their principal SAFE, but they had no idea they had lost $38,000 in the past couple of months because of fees and market fluctuation. And they weren’t even taking distributions. The money was simply GONE! I know many of you have experienced something very similar. I wish that weren’t the case, but I know it is because I talk to people just like you every single day. And people are tired of losing their money!
I’ve got great news for you.
This doesn’t have to be your story. You have the power to change this forever, and you can change it today. Take the time to find a safe money retirement planning advisor in your area who specializes in keeping 100% of your money protected from losses and fees. Avoid the triple whammy in your retirement accounts and get on an elevator that only goes up!