In the final episode of season 1 on The Great Retirement Debate, Ed and Jeff discuss the topics covered over the last 18 episodes and what to expect from The Great Retirement Debate going forward.
[00:00:00] Intro: Hi, I’m Ed Slott. And I’m Jeff Levine. And we are two guys who just love to talk about retirement and taxes. Look, our mission is simple to educate you, the savers, so that you can make better decisions because better decisions on the hall lead to better outcomes.
[00:00:14] Intro: And here’s how we’re going to do that.
[00:00:15] Intro: Each week, Jeff and I will debate the pros and the cons of a particular retirement strategy or topic with the. Helping you keep more of your hard-earned money.
[00:00:26] Intro: Yeah, but we won’t know which side of the debate we’re taking until we flip a coin winner of the coin flip gets to pick which side of the debate they want to argue, and both of us will have to argue in favor of our respect positions, whether we agree with them or not.
[00:00:40] Intro: At the end of each debate, there’s going to be one clear winner you, a more informed saver who can hopefully apply the merits of each side of the debate to your own personal situation to decide what’s best for you and your family.
[00:00:52] Intro: So here we go. Welcome to the Great Retirement Debate.[00:01:00]
[00:01:02] Jeffrey Levine: All right, welcome back to the Great Retirement Debate. Ed. How’s it going today?
[00:01:06] Ed Slott: Pretty good. We’re down to the end now. Uh, this is our 19th episode coming up.
[00:01:11] Jeffrey Levine: That’s right. And the last of season one. So this is gonna be, uh, a special episode for us. This is our last episode for season one and, uh, a little bit of a different format today, instead of our typical debate, we’re gonna kinda look back at, uh, some of the discussions we’ve had. And Ed, you know, we, we’ve covered a lot of ground this, uh, this season. A lot of different topics.
[00:01:35] Ed Slott: Well, I’m looking at the list. I have it in front of me and I’m amazed how many questions, you know, it’s based on listeners.
[00:01:42] Ed Slott: We we’re out in the field a lot. We hear a lot of these questions people have, should I do this or should I do that? And that’s the point of this debate to give you both sides of the pros and cons and benefits and drawbacks. And we did cover a lot of ground, but the big items that people are [00:02:00] asking about.
[00:02:01] Jeffrey Levine: So lot of big items as you just mentioned. Let me ask you, looking back at, at, at the first season, what, what was your favorite debate? Like, which one, like, which one sticks out in your mind as perhaps the one where, whether you just had the most fun discussing it or whether it was a surprise as we went through it? You know, what, what, what, which one was your favorite?
[00:02:22] Ed Slott: Well, I have to pick two. Our recap of Secure 2.0 deal or no deal, part one and part two. Those are the two. That was a, a shift, a lot of new provisions, but as we found out, there was nothing earth shattering there. It wasn’t transformative. It wasn’t groundbreaking like the original secure Act was, but there was still so many provisions, so many little ones.
[00:02:46] Ed Slott: I think there were over 90 retirement provisions and secure 2.0 a little something for everybody and a lot of little things that you have to know. And it took us two episodes to go through it and some people are still [00:03:00] surprised of what’s in Secure 2.0.
[00:03:02] Jeffrey Levine: Yeah, we probably could have done four or five episodes to cover every provision as, uh, as we look back at that one.
[00:03:08] Jeffrey Levine: You know, that was one where we had 90 plus provisions in a, in a bill, and boy, you know, if you like secure Act one, the original that was roughly a dozen, there was a lot more to look at. As you said, maybe not anything as impactful as perhaps the death of the stretch was in the original secure act. But lots of things with more modest impacts still add up to potentially very important things to know.
[00:03:35] Jeffrey Levine: I gotta say on on my end, maybe a little bit of, um, you know, nostalgia, looking back to episode one, but I really enjoyed our debate about should I take social security or use my ira? And that, you know, that just continues to be a question I hear all the time. Uh, there continues to be new research in fact.
[00:03:54] Jeffrey Levine: Uh, just in this last January, Ed, in January of 2023, I don’t know if you saw, but there [00:04:00] was a, uh, a really interesting article in the Journal of Financial Planning by, uh, Steve Parrish and Wade Pfau, uh, two, you know, retirement, uh, experts.
[00:04:10] Ed Slott: I know them both from the American College.
[00:04:12] Jeffrey Levine: That’s right. That’s, that’s exactly right.
[00:04:14] Jeffrey Levine: Two professors from the American College and, you know, they, they look at not just the insurance value of social security, which we often talk about, but they went a step further and said, um, if we’re just concerned about leaving more money to your heirs, what does that look like? And you know, we, we could spend a lot of time just covering this, but we, we already did.
[00:04:37] Jeffrey Levine: Uh, but, but there are new research basically showed that even if we’re just talking about I want to leave the greatest legacy, like what, what leaves me at death? Forget about the insurance element of social security and delaying, but just the idea of can I, do I get more money when I die on average? They actually found that you would have to have a particularly aggressive allocation [00:05:00] in throughout your kind of retirement and have good fortune of the markets in order for, uh, using, uh, in, in order for using your own money not to work out well. Right? So in other words, delaying social security still really comes out to be a winner for many, many individuals and there’s just more research about that. It continues to be the single most asked question of any that I think we had. Maybe along with should I use the trust as a beneficiary.
[00:05:27] Ed Slott: Yeah. I was surprised at that one.
[00:05:29] Ed Slott: Back on the social security, that’s something we can do all the time because so many people have different types of questions and the demographics are there where you have the baby boomers moving in, into social security area. So, uh, the demographic is just tens of thousands of people, uh, applying and starting to collect or making a decision on when, when to begin each day.
[00:05:53] Ed Slott: So that’s always going to be a big issue, especially like you said, if they have other assets, IRAs, which to use, where to invest, [00:06:00] but the trust is beneficiary. That was actually our second episode and one of the most popular, and that surprised me. And maybe because people, a lot of people had these trusts that seemed to work before the Secure Act.
[00:06:14] Ed Slott: The original Secure Act and the Secure Act really put the kibosh on a lot of these trusts with the 10 year rule in higher taxes for the post death protection. So I think, uh, people got a lot out of that episode.
[00:06:28] Jeffrey Levine: So I, I got another question for you, Ed, like, was, was there a particular episode where, where you really felt that one of us had the short end of the stick?
[00:06:36] Jeffrey Levine: You know, like…
[00:06:37] Ed Slott: Oh, yeah. Uh, you did. I, I’m trying to, I’m looking at the, the list. Uh, I, I can’t remember.
[00:06:43] Jeffrey Levine: Well, I’ll, I’ll give you one. I mean, one of us had to argue in favor of 72 T payments.
[00:06:47] Ed Slott: Oh yeah, right.
[00:06:48] Ed Slott: Yeah. That, no, I think it was Roth related, where I had a sweet, or one of us had a sweet deal because I think we’re both Roth IRA fans because we like the idea of, uh, having, uh, locking in tax [00:07:00] free, uh, savings and income in retirement.
[00:07:03] Ed Slott: So it’s hard to argue against that, but it’s not, but that’s the point of this program. It’s not for the, the answer is not the same for everybody. Everybody has their own customized facts and circumstances and family and financial situations. So I’m glad we give both sides even a side that we’re both on, because we both kind of like Roths, but for some people it’s, it’s not for everybody.
[00:07:27] Jeffrey Levine: All right. So I, I, I got, I got, I’m gonna rapid fire here and I got another one for you. Did, did you change your mind about anything after having one of our debates?
[00:07:38] Ed Slott: I’m looking through the, uh, through the list here. Uh, I, I’m trying to think. I don’t, I don’t see. Uh, I don’t see anything where, you know, I felt we gave, uh, good sides on both of them.
[00:07:55] Ed Slott: And it’s not a question of changing my mind. I think we gave both [00:08:00] sides of the argument, uh, whatever the, whatever the debate was. We, we gave, like I said, the pros and cons on each one. So I think those were all good. And, and when we talk about these things, you can go by episode and look at the ones we’re talking about.
[00:08:15] Ed Slott: They’re all numbered, they’re all on there for you to, uh, listen to, and it might pay to listen to them again. Especially things you don’t hear a lot about, like gifting versus inheriting. That was a good one. Most people don’t realize the difference between the two or one that was uh, kind of interesting. A Roth IRA versus Roth 401k. A little confusing. And I think we got good points out on that because especially with Roth, uh, 401k starting in 2024, not having RMDs for Lifetime. That’s a big change that may change some people’s minds or keeping, uh, Roth 401K dollars in the plan and instead of rolling ’em out to a Roth IRA, I think it’s important to understand the difference because there were [00:09:00] many differences between having your own Roth IRA or keeping the Roth 401k in, in the plan.
[00:09:09] Ed Slott: Or downsizing my home in retirement. Uh, we, we had a debate on that. I think that was one where I said, I don’t remember which side.
[00:09:19] Jeffrey Levine: I, I, I took the, I took the side of, no, don’t, don’t, don’t take, don’t downsize in retirement. Enjoy it with your kids and your grandkids. That was my argument. Yeah.
[00:09:27] Ed Slott: Right. And I said, well, it’s good to simplify and things, but I like being in my home.
[00:09:32] Ed Slott: You know, like my father, he stayed in the home until he died. And then the minute he died, my mother went out, sold the home and got an apartment like she always wanted.
[00:09:43] Jeffrey Levine: Yeah. Yeah. I actually really enjoyed that one too. I think of all the discussions we had, that was one that really stuck out to me as, as one of the most earnest because we were both drawing from things, you know, in, in our actual lives that you know, that, that, that lead us to a certain [00:10:00] way. You know, again, you thinking about the simplicity of the situation, but enjoying your house and me, you know, having just finished building a house. You know, the, uh, the idea of just envisioning, you know, generations in that house to come. Uh, maybe my kids won’t want that, but you know, I hope to make that the place where we all come visit.
[00:10:19] Jeffrey Levine: And I, I thought that was a great discussion and the type of discussion that is so good to have with, you know, an independent person there, whether that’s your tax advisor, your financial advisor, uh, or in some cases just a good friend. You know, sometimes you, you, you have blind spots and a good financial professional can help you uncover those.
[00:10:40] Jeffrey Levine: But, but just even talking through it, you begin to understand what your, what your true values are in life and, and that today is what a great financial advisor can do for you, not just the numbers and the dollars and the cents and knowing the tax rules. Tho those are, I, I [00:11:00] hate to say almost table stakes because it, it’s a lot. You have to invest a lot of time and knowledge to, to build up that, that reservoir of information and wisdom. But it’s Taking that knowledge and information and the ones and zeros, right, the, the stuff that is factual, right? And then really helping you dive in and applying it to your specific values. You not only your set of facts and circumstances, as we say in every episode, but your values what’s most important to you in life versus someone else.
[00:11:34] Jeffrey Levine: And, and that just is different for every.
[00:11:36] Ed Slott: And it’s, you know, in many of the programs that we did, many of these episodes, I pointed out that there’s a generation between you and I. So we have different perspectives,
[00:11:46] Jeffrey Levine: Right. Mine is correct and yours is not.
[00:11:50] Ed Slott: That’s where you are. Uh, you see in 30 years if you still wanna maintain that house, but maybe it will.
[00:11:56] Jeffrey Levine: I like the idea of having the place where everybody comes [00:12:00] to for holidays and get togethers. Have a nice place like that. You know, it, it sounds like, uh, one of those Hallmark movies.
[00:12:07] Jeffrey Levine: That’s, that’s that. Well, that’s, that’s what I envision. You, you pretty much, pretty much have it. Ed, let me ask one more question here before maybe we we start to, to wrap up Season one.
[00:12:18] Jeffrey Levine: Insert tear emoji right there. All right, so, uh, Ed emoji, you know, is something that is like a picture that is, I’m just teasing. That’s a generation. So the, you know, as we, as we sit here, was there, did you get any specific comments? I know you know. Meet with a lot of people as you do. We speak with a lot of, uh, advisors and a lot of consumers.
[00:12:40] Jeffrey Levine: Was there one particular, you know, episode or topic that you got a lot of, you know, feedback on personally or any, any specific comment and you’re like, huh, that was, that was interesting. Or, or just that really stuck out to you?
[00:12:53] Ed Slott: Yeah. In the beginning we got a comment. I don’t remember if you saw it, but we always acknowledge in the [00:13:00] beginning when the other person, you or I made a good point, we’re arguing one side of the debate and I’ll say, oh Jeff, that is a good point.
[00:13:07] Ed Slott: But it’s the other side of the debate and people say, well, we wanna hear, we don’t want to hear that you agree with each other. We wanna hear opposite sides.
[00:13:07] Ed Slott: But it’s the other side of the debate and people say, well, we wanna hear, we don’t want to hear that you agree with each other. We wanna hear opposite sides.
[00:13:15] Jeffrey Levine: That’s right, that’s right. So we try to, you know, look like everything else Ed you. You start something and you refine it over time and hopefully here by our 19th episode we’re, we’re a little bit better at this than we were when we started. And, uh, you know, for, for me, I think the episode that stuck out for me in terms of feedback was episode 10 when we talked about tax diversification.
[00:13:36] Ed Slott: Yes. That was one of the most popular, I’m looking on the list. It was the third most popular of all of them.
[00:13:43] Jeffrey Levine: Yeah. And, and, and it stuck out for me because that was one where I really felt that we had a good earnest debate and I, I actually got feedback from a number of people that after we had a discussion about that, they they really [00:14:00] reframed how they go about thinking about things. That was one of the ones where I, I felt that we really changed some opinions or created, uh, a different viewpoint amongst people where they didn’t have it before.
[00:14:11] Jeffrey Levine: So to me, that’s what this is all about, right? Is, is not, again, that you pointed out earlier. Not that the thing is right or wrong, but that there’s two sides to, to, but…
[00:14:20] Ed Slott: To learn from it!
[00:14:21] Jeffrey Levine: That’s right to learn, and that’s what we set out to do.
[00:14:24] Ed Slott: There’s so much bias stuff out there that sometimes people hear what they want to hear or they’re told what they want to hear and they’re not giving, you know, it depends who has, is there an ulterior motive from the person that’s telling you that.
[00:14:37] Ed Slott: What I like about this is there’s no such, it’s independent, objective, unbiased, this, these are the pros, these are the cons, and you know, these are factors you have to take into account before making a major financial decision. And if I just go through, so the list of the topics we covered, I think almost every one of these are major financial decisions and some of which you don’t [00:15:00] even get a second chance at.
[00:15:01] Ed Slott: Like, should I take social security early or not? Name a trust as a beneficiary. Should I take a pension, lump sum, or the, uh, an annuity income stream? Should I buy long-term care insurance? Every one of these titles, these are separate episodes where you can gain a lot of insight. Should I use a Roth IRA or life insurance?
[00:15:21] Ed Slott: Should I pay off debt before I retire? Should I use a Roth IRA or 529 plan to save for college? That was interesting. Many people don’t look at Roth IRAs as a a education funding vehicle. Uh, should I own maybe in, should I own cryptocurrency? Maybe we’ll wait on that. I, in my retirement account, uh, was that before or after the crash we had that episode? I don’t even remember.
[00:15:47] Jeffrey Levine: I, I think maybe like during the crash. Yeah, it was, uh, yeah. You know, there was just a lot of ground covered this season and. You know, I guess Ed now would be a good time to, uh, to, to let people know [00:16:00] the, the good news, at least we hope you would find it to be good news, is that The Great Retirement Debate has been renewed for season two.
[00:16:06] Jeffrey Levine: Yes. We’ve, we’ve got approval to go. Of course, when I say it’s been renewed and we have approval, basically, Ed, you and I said, hey, we’ll do this again. Like it was, it was, uh, it was, it was fun. We had a good time doing it.
[00:16:17] Ed Slott: Things change too. Like we did that two part series on secure 2.0 that wasn’t on the, uh, blackboard or, uh, planning when we started this.
[00:16:26] Ed Slott: That, that’s right. But a lot of people were asking about it and we took a different spin there rather than pro or con, we said deal or no deal. Which provisions are good, we’re more useful, less useful, more impactful. So we’ll be doing things like that. As laws or changes develop, and they’re always changing these things.
[00:16:44] Ed Slott: Look at the secure 2.0, there are provisions going out for 10 years. Do you really think that any of those provisions or many of them will hold for the full 10 years? I don’t think so. I think we’ll see lots more changes.
[00:16:56] Jeffrey Levine: I, one thing that we can almost always bet on Ed is, [00:17:00] is, is change, especially, you know, with a divided Congress, or I should say divided political parties.
[00:17:06] Jeffrey Levine: You know, one party gets in and their agenda’s completely different than the other. As soon as they have control, they pass laws. Uh, you know, and, and you know, we focus on tax policy, Ed. Which is, you know, we, we look at some other things, but we focus primarily on tax policy. And, and that is different than just about everything else because of the special congressional rule, um, or the senate rule on reconciliation, right?
[00:17:30] Jeffrey Levine: You can do things with a simple majority in the Senate for taxes that yucan’t do for, for just about all other types of major issues. And so that just means that there’s more likely to be changes here. But hey, it’s, it’s more fodder, it’s more, uh, it, it’s more topics for a potential or not a potential, but it’s more topics for season two of the great retirement debate.
[00:17:52] Jeffrey Levine: And you know, as we’ve talked, Ed, we, we’ve got a couple of surprises . Up our sleeves here. We won’t, uh, we won’t reveal them yet. You’ll have to tune in. [00:18:00] This’ll, this’ll be our big cliffhanger, Ed. Yep. I mean that I, you could see, I, I, I feel that people are sitting on the edges of their seats. Uh, I think as you mentioned before, we, we got on and started recording, Ed, this will be our, our big who Shot JR moment. Like what will they do for season two? Same, same level of interest i, I’m sure.
[00:18:18] Ed Slott: And Jeff, how would you even know who shot JR? How old were you even alive then?
[00:18:26] Jeffrey Levine: I, uh, Nick at night when I, I think that might be the answer. You know, when they, when they show the oldies or something like that?
[00:18:33] Ed Slott: Yeah. But the bottom line is, the reason we’re doing this is this, most of people’s savings, that’s called the Great Retirement Debate. Most of people’s savings are sitting in tax deferred accounts, IRAs. 401ks and taxes will be the single biggest factor that will eventually separate you from your, uh, from a decent retirement or not.
[00:18:53] Ed Slott: You know, the decisions you make will be the determining factor of how much of your saved retirement [00:19:00] funds you get to keep and how much goes to Uncle Sam. So hopefully these programs help you have more, keep more, and pass more on of your hard-earned money, you can only keep when it comes to retirement savings, what you can keep after taxes.
[00:19:15] Ed Slott: Every dollar you save in taxes is another dollar in your bank account. You can save a fortune over a good lifetime of planning in taxes, and that will make a difference in your life and beyond. So that’s what we hope to continue in our next season.
[00:19:31] Jeffrey Levine: Yeah, and, and it bears remindi dYou know, while, while we didn’t necessarily have a debate t day, one thing that regardless of our, our different or same viewpoints that we always agree on, is the fact that whenever you have a big financial decision, like any of these, any of these questions that we discussed this season, whether it’s should I name a trust as my beneficiary when to take Social security, have a Roth or not, should I downsize.
[00:19:56] Jeffrey Levine: It’s best to talk through these . Decisions [00:20:00] with a independent tax or financial advisor so that you can understand both sides of the issue. Understand the pluses and the minuses, the benefits, the drawbacks, the advantages, the disadvantages. Insert your words of choice here, but to understand what it means for you and your family, and that is something we continue to agree on. We hope that we can continue to bring you more valuable information and insights in season two. And, uh, Ed, you know, when we, when we set out to start this, I thought we’d have a lot of fun doing it and, uh, and, and I, I won’t speak for you, but I will just say I did.
[00:20:37] Jeffrey Levine: I had a lot of fun this season and I can’t wait for season two.
[00:20:40] Ed Slott: Me too. So onward and upward.
[00:20:43] Jeffrey Levine: We’ll see you next season on The Great Retirement Debate.
[00:20:46] Outro: Jeffrey Levine is Chief Planning Officer for Buckingham Wealth Partners. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as specific investment accounting, legal or tax advice.
[00:20:56] Outro: Certain information mentioned may be based on third party information, which may become [00:21:00] outdated or otherwise superseded without notice. Third party information is deemed to be reliable, but it’s accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The topic discussed in corresponding arguments are those of the speakers and may not accurately reflect those of Buckingham Wealth partners.