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When to Use Bonds

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You're saving and saving and saving for retirement. Most of it is in stocks...but what about bonds? Do you need them and what's the best way to start mixing them in? That's what we chatted about with Dee from Seattle on the latest bonus call.

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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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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

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.

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

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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.

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

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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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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

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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Should I Buy an Annuity?

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Michael in Illinois is considering a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract. What are the pros and cons he should keep in mind when it comes to a QLAC? That's the discussion on the latest bonus call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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Retirement Planning, ARMs and An Inside Account of the Financial Crisis

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We opened the show with Ben from Houston who wanted to run his retirement plan by us. He’s got a variety of accounts, an adjustable rate mortgage and some college funds for the kids. As you’ll hear, this guy is a risk taker. Is he taking too much risk? What about that mortgage…should he pay it off? Or should he consider refinancing and locking in a long-term rate?

The rest of the hour was spent on emails. The good news is that we’re actually making some serious progress. We’re finally into the month of October. That’s the good news. The bad news is that next week is already November. A good problem to have!

In hour two we get the inside account of the financial crisis from Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

As you’ll hear, the discussion is basically a play-by-play of how the Treasury Department bungled the financial bailouts.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the inspector general in charge of overseeing administration of the bailout money.

It’s fascinating to hear him talk about how from the onset, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts.

Barofsky offers an insider’s perspective on the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. There’s no holding back as he reveals the extreme lengths to which our government officials were willing to go in order to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public, and at the expense of effective financial reform.

Just like the book, this interview delivered an incredible account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political hot-seat of Washington, as well as a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Estate Planning Done Right

Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin…these three amazing and wildly successful musicians did not have a will. How could that be, you ask? Don’t they have agents, lawyers and accountants? Didn’t they know at some point they were going to die? “That’s irresponsible,” you say, but welcome to the real world, where even famous people can’t seem to get their acts together to address this difficult topic head on.

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According to a Caring.com survey, only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents, including a will. Shockingly, for those with children under the age of 18, the figure is even lower, with just 36 percent having an end-of-life plan in place. Of those who have not done any estate planning, 47 percent said, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

I get it…contemplating one’s death is not exactly high on anybody’s to-do list, but it is important that you overcome the anxieties associated with this emotional topic and take control.

So that’s why today we’re doing an estate planning bootcamp with Russell Fishkind, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

If you are ready to finally begin or revisit the planning process and seek the guidance of a qualified estate attorney (yes, you should pay up for a lawyer and not do it yourself), here are the basic documents to consider:

  • Will: A document that ensures that assets are passed to designated beneficiaries, in accordance with your wishes. In the drafting process, you name an executor, the person or institution that oversees the distribution of your assets. If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian for them.

  • Letter of Instruction: This may contain appointment of someone who will ensure for the proper disposition of your remains, creepy, but important if you are choosing a method that is contrary to your family’s tradition.

  • Power of Attorney: Appointment of someone to act as your agent in a variety of circumstances, like withdrawing money from a bank, responding to a tax inquiry or making a trade.

  • Health Care Proxy: Appointment of someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so.

  • Trusts: Revocable (changeable) or irrevocable (not-changeable) trusts may be useful, depending on family and tax situations. For 2018, the first $11.2 million of an estate is exempt from federal estate taxes. If an estate is above the threshold (or twice that for married couples), you may want to consider a trust.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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Investing Extra Money

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You just sold a piece of real estate and walked away with 75 grand. What should you do with it? Is paying down another mortgage the best option? That's the question from John in Houston on the latest BONUS call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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