Annuities and Selling It Like Serhant

Yet again, we’re starting the latest radio show with a question about annuities. I feel like this is becoming a common theme.

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This time it’s Barbara in Georgia who is 61 and recently retired. Single with no debt, Barbara was recently pitched the idea of investing in a fixed immediate annuity and is now trying to weigh the pros and cons.

I love real estate, and I know I’m not alone because we’re constantly getting questions from you guys about mortgages, the housing market, interest rates, etc.

Maybe some of you like real estate so much that you’re fans of the Bravo television show, Million Dollar Listing New York.

Today we’re joined by Ryan Serhant, one of three real estate agents featured on the hit show, who’s out with his first book, Sell It Like Serhant: How to Sell More, Earn More, and Become the Ultimate Sales Machine.

Think of it as a lively and practical guide to sell anything and up your business game from one of the top realtors in the world.

Serhant was a shy, jobless hand model when he entered the real estate business in 2008, just as the financial crisis was kicking off. Just nine years later, he has emerged as one of the top realtors in the world and an authority on the art of selling.

In this book Serhant shares the secrets behind how to close more deals than anyone else, expand your business, and keep clients coming back to you.

Serhant provides useful lessons, lively stories, and examples that illustrate how anyone can employ his principles to increase profits and achieve success.

Whatever your business or expertise, Sell It Like Serhant will help transform you into a master at sales.

Ready, set, GO!

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Blitzscaling with Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh


This year we’ve had some pretty impressive CEOs and entrepreneurs on the show. It continues today with Reid Hoffman. If you don’t know the name, you definitely know some of the products he was behind. How about PayPal or LinkedIn?

Today we’re joined by Hoffman and Chris Yeh, co-authors of the new book, Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies.

What entrepreneur or founder doesn’t aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb?  Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones that grow to become global giants?

The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion, as quickly as possible.

When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to the next level can require very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today.

In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company’s life cycle, such as:

  • How to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth

  • Strategies for hiring and managing

  • How the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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CBS This Morning: Economy Fact Check

The CBS News battleground tracker poll finds an overwhelming majority of Americans are optimistic about the economy, with 76 percent of voters rating it as "very" or "somewhat" good. I joined CBS This Morning to discuss why some economists say U.S. growth could "cool" next year.

Have a money question? Email me here.

What to Do with Old 401(k)

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Unless you're only going to work for one employer, which is exceedingly unlikely, chances are you're going to have some old retirement plans out there. What should you do with them? Leave where they are? Roll into the new plan? Consolidate? That's the question from Lisa in New Jersey on the latest bonus call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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Jobs, Markets and Midterm Elections

Jobs, Markets and Midterm Elections

The October employment report was not just good, it was great. The economy added 250,000 jobs, the unemployment rate remained at a 49 year low of 3.7 percent and workers enjoyed the best annual wage growth in nearly a decade (April 2009).

Annuities, Medicare and Social Security

This week we’re starting things off with Annamarie in Pennsylvania, who at 63, is planning on retiring in the next few years. She was recently approached by her financial advisor about placing her current 401(k) into an annuity. Good idea or bad?

Next up was Susan from Tennessee who is trying to navigate things after the unexpected passing of her sister. Named as executor of the will, Susan understandably has a lot of questions.

In hour two we brought back Steve Vernon, an old pal of mine from my CBS MoneyWatch days.

Steve joined us to talk about Medicare open enrollment as well as answer some of your Social Security questions.

With Medicare's open enrollment period running through December 7, you have a golden opportunity to make changes that might better serve you in the years to come.  

Many people assume that because Medicare is called "medical insurance," it's similar to their employer's medical insurance that protected them during their working years. But that's wrong.

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Employer-sponsored health care plans typically have one set of deductibles and copayments, and you only need to pay one premium to obtain comprehensive coverage. Not so with Medicare – it's much more complicated than that. Traditional Medicare has three different parts that cover hospital, outpatient, and prescription drugs – called Parts A, B, and D, respectively. Each part has its own set of premiums, deductibles and copayments. 

As a result of having these three different parts, many retirees mistakenly assume hat Medicare provides all the coverage they need. Or they think they're healthy and won't need additional insurance coverage beyond Medicare. Then they're shocked when they experience their first significant medical claim and are forced to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. 

You can guard against these surprises by purchasing either a Medicare Supplement Plan (aka Medigap) or Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans are both designed to reduce Medicare's significant gaps. By one estimate, millions of retirees make the mistake of not purchasing such a plan to help close Medicare's gaps. 

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The Fifth Risk with Michael Lewis

If you’re a regular listener, you know this show is not political in nature. We leave that stuff to the so-called experts.

But since next Tuesday is Election Day, we thought we’d talk a little politics with rockstar author and repeat guest, Michael Lewis.

A prolific writer, it’s highly likely that you’ve probably picked up at least one of his books, including Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short or Flash Boys.

In this interview, we discuss his latest work, The Fifth Risk, which focuses on the consequences we may face if some of the people given control over the government have no idea how it works.  

As you turn the pages, you’ll be taken into various departments of the government that at times resemble a rudderless ship.

In Agriculture, the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for people who wish to shrink the world to a worldview.

Thankfully, Michael Lewis also finds the heroes, those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

There’s a FIRE spreading in the world of personal finance. FIRE is the acronym that stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” It’s popular with Millennials (which Pew Research now defines as anyone born between 1981 and 1996, or ages 22 to 37 in 2018) who want to escape soul-sucking jobs that don’t reflect their values. The movement has added to the chorus of naysayers, who complain about the generation’s work ethic, but I believe that FIRE followers are doing what they should be doing: taking control of their financial lives.