social security

When to Take Social Security?

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When should I take Social Security? A classic question in the personal finance world. It's not always a black and white answer as there's a variety of factors that should be considered. That's the discussion with Kevin from Minnesota. 

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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.

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When to Take Social Security

This week we kicked things off with Troy from Seattle who was wondering if he's being charged too much by his current advisor. Does he even need an advisor? I gotta say, this is quickly becoming a very common question on the show. 

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Next up was Kevin from Minnesota with the million dollar question of when is the right time to start taking Social Security? Great question, and also a very simple one to answer if you can give me one key piece of information...

If you’re working in an office environment, it’s hard to ignore the massive shift that’s taking place in the workplace. In today’s average company, up to 80% of employees’ days are now spent working in teams.

And yet the teams most people find themselves in are nowhere near as effective as they could be. They’re often divided by tensions, if not outright dissension, and dysfunctional teams drain employees’ energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.

How can we fix it? That’s where today’s episode comes into the picture, and our chat with Chester Elton, who along with Adrian Gostick, recently published The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance.

Throughout the pages of their latest book, the duo share the proven ways managers can build cohesive, productive teams, despite the distractions and challenges every business is facing.

The pair studied more than 850,000 employee engagement surveys to develop their “Five Disciplines of Team Leaders,” explaining how to:

  • Recognize and motivate different generations to enhance individual engagement
  • Ways to promote healthy discord and spark innovation
  • Techniques to unify customer focus and build bridges across functions, cultures, and distance

They’ve shared these disciplines with their corporate clients and have now distilled their breakthrough findings into a succinct, engaging guide for business leaders everywhere.

Throughout the pages you’ll find practical ways to address the real challenges today’s managers are facing, such as the rise of millennials, the growing number of global and virtual teams, and the friction created by working cross-functionally.

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

The China Hustle + Asset Allocation

We started off the show this week with a great call from Bill in Salt Lake City. Bill knows he's in it for the long haul. In fact, Bill may never need to touch his 401(k), so he's not too spooked by the recent market volatility. That said, he's concerned that his current allocation may be too aggressive. While he doesn't need to access the retirement account, he certainly doesn't want the money to disappear either. 

After chatting with Bill for a couple segments we wrapped up the first hour by answering a handful of emails. 

The new documentary film The China Hustle begins amid the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, when we meet protagonist Dan David and a band of Wall Street outsiders. These detective-like investors operate on the fringes of the financial world, scouring global markets for money making opportunities. With the U.S. economy and markets in a tailspin, they turn to China, where there is what seems like a modern day gold rush. Chinese stock market indexes are doubling every year and the potential seems endless.

There’s one problem, though: U.S. investors can’t participate because they are barred from investing directly in Chinese markets. But this is America, and people always find a way. A few Wall Street operators create a novel solution by bringing hundreds of promising Chinese companies directly to U.S. stock markets. All of the sudden, US investors can get in on the Chinese miracle, without leaving the comforting confines of the NYSE and the NASDAQ.

It all seems to be going well, until detectives discover that most of the companies they’re investing in are frauds, producing phony balance sheets, claiming sham inventory levels and celebrating non-existent profits. The investors flip their strategy on its head and begin to master the art of short selling - essentially, betting that a company will fail.

With the help of a team of Chinese researchers who risk their freedom to uncover the truth behind these fake companies, the investors discover the frauds and bet against them in the market.

There are no good guys in this story. But there are a few people who are sick of a financial system built on lies. The China Hustle follows their story through Wall Street, China and your retirement savings to uncover the biggest heist you’ve never heard of, and to challenge all of us to wake up and demand accountability and transparency in our markets before it’s too late.

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