Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Her Retirement Podcast. Welcome to 2023, and I wrote my first check the other day with the correct year on it. I didn’t write 2022, so that was my big win for the new year. But in all seriousness, today I have the pleasure of speaking with a gentleman named Dan McGrath. And what we are talking about is something maybe some people have never heard of, or if you have heard of it, you’re pretty unclear about what it means to you and your retirement. And what I’m talking about is an acronym called IRMAA. Welcome, Dan McGrath, to my podcast to talk about IRMAA and to educate all the women who follow my podcast and listen to it each and every week as we explore this important topic and how it could perhaps right, affect your pocketbook in retirement. So, Dan, welcome. How are you?
I’m doing very well, Lynn. Thank you very much for the introduction and allowing me the opportunity to speak on your podcast, Her Retirement.
Thank you. Happy 2023. So yeah, I’m a, I’m a glass half full kind of person, so let’s, is there any good news with Irma? Can you tell me what the acronym is and tell my audience what the acronym is and just give us a little quick background on that, and then I’ll probably ask you what you and your company is all about.
Sure. The acronym for IRMAA is just short for the income related monthly adjustment amount, and that is through Medicare. So ultimately what IRMAA is, is a surcharge on your income or surcharge in your Medicare premiums for those that happen to be earning too much income. Okay. So anybody in 2023 that’s earning over a certain threshold, which is $97,000, is going to pay extra for their Medicare part B and part D premiums.
Okay. And part B and part D cover what exactly?
So part B covers in Medicare, everything’s, it’s called the alphabet of health coverage. Yep. So Medicare Part B covers basically all costs that are associated with physicians. So a physician comes in and sees a patient, part B will cover it. If the physician prescribes drugs or medications while with inside the hospital or under that appointment, those medications will be covered under part B prescription. Part D, the other part of IRMAA that is prescription drug coverage. So anything that has to do with medications outside of the hospital is going to be covered under prescription drug coverage. So if you are earning too much income, that income is go, that, that income is going to reach a threshold with inside what is known as Irma, and then you’re gonna have to pay more depending on how much income you have. So the more income you have, the higher the threshold, but the higher the surcharges.
Okay. So is it safe to say that IRMAA doesn’t really impact people that are just collecting social security? It’s more, you know, you know, if they’re, if they are just high income earners from whatever they saved in their retirement savings, that kind of thing. Correct.
So the scary part of Medicare ZBA is Medicare ZM is based on income. Now, how they define income, meaning the Medicare Centers for Medicare Medicaid services, as well as the Social Security Administration, which works as the, the pocketbook of the piggy bank of Medicare. So anything financial runs through the Social Security Administration for a key reason which we’ll get to. So when you’re looking at, I’m sorry, I lost my complete train of thought.
That’s okay. <Laugh>. So we were talking about, I was so busy. Yeah, we can edit this out. Yes. But,
So No, no, no, no. Please keep it. So we’re talking about income sources. The way they define income is very simple. It is modified adjusted gross income. So that is your top line, which is AGI i your adjusted gross income. Now, when you’re looking at your tax returns, that’s basically line two, that is your top line, and then they’re not going to allow you to put deductions in. So whatever your gross income is, then they’re going to add any tax exempt interest. So if you have income from muni bonds, if you have no, that’s actually tax exempt interest is income from muni bonds. Yep. So if you have any dividends from that, as well as any income that you are generating, that’s going to count as your M A G I. Where this becomes an issue is the biggest production of income in retirement is your social security check and your savings.
So what happens at the age of 72, for everyone that has invested into what is known as a traditional 401k at the age of 72, they have to take out a required minimum distribution that R M D counts as income, which is on the top line. Okay. Now, what happens is that R M D, which counts as income, is then added to half of your Social security benefit. If that total half of your social security benefit and your R M D are over $34,000 as an individual, or over 44,000 as a couple, 85% of your social security benefit is going to be taxed. Now, what they do from that point is they take your new 85% social security benefit that’s taxed that amount, and they add it back to your R M D. So what happens to your income?
Now we got good news in 2023 or 2022 For 2023. The very good news is social security’s cost of living adjustment has gone up by 8%. So what does that do? That increases everyone closer to the taxation of social security, which means their overall taxable social security benefit, 85% of it can be taxed. Okay. And they’re receiving more social security benefits. Now when they speak to their financial advisor, their financial advisors trying to get ’em 35% rate of return and their traditional 401k. And then each year with the required minimum distribution, they have to pull more and more money out. So what ends up happening with Medicare IRMAA is eventually anyone that has made over $75,000 a year has already has about 50, $60,000 in their traditional 401k. Let’s say they’re 55 years old today, they’re going to reach Medicare’s Irma.
This isn’t just for the rich, this is for people that are saving money incorrectly, and that is 95% of everyone in the country that is saving money.
Okay. So if they’re saving incorrectly, i e in those deferred, you’re talking about tax-deferred accounts? Yes. What, what are the alternatives? So if you know, you’re like, okay, I’m, I’m maxing out my 401k, or I’m putting all of my eggs in that tax-deferred bucket. What are some options that don’t impact your top line, your M I M A G I and also, you know, all right.
Yeah. So first I’d like to say anybody that’s maxing out their traditional 401k, that is legitimately, if you’re doing it with tax deferred traditional 401k, you can’t do anything worse for your retirement than that.
Singularly there is nothing worse that you could possibly do. Even health-wise, even smoking cigarettes, there is nothing worse you can do than max up your traditional 401k. There’s nothing worse that you can do than put money into your traditional 401k. It is a complete utter waste of time.
The simple solution Roth.
Okay. Yeah, a lot of c that’s it. Offer the Roth 401k.
Now, where the problem arises in, what people have to pay attention to is companies are not, they’re not incentivized to put their company match into a Roth 401k. So what happens with many firms that you decide to put money into a Roth and then the company in order to make a benefit, so they get a tax break, if they match the money, they put it in the traditional 401k. If they don’t put it in the traditional 401k and they don’t, and they put it in a Roth for the company match, they don’t get that incentive from the federal government for giving money to their employees for saving for retirement.
Oh, okay. Did I see legislation that they were trying to change, that
They are trying to change it? They’re not going to, but they’re gonna sit there and say that they should be able to contribute to the Roth and it there being an in a monetary incentive for the employer to do that. It doesn’t behoove the federal government for people to put money in a Roth
<Affirmative> in any way whatsoever.
Right. Now, would you say it’s okay to put just enough to get that match? Because isn’t that free money? No.
Nope. No. Nothing’s free. So the way retirement works, again, when you’re looking at your social security benefit, if you’re making $34,000 an individual, or $44,000 as a couple, 85% of your social security benefits gonna be taxed. So that company match, you’re putting money into a Roth, your company’s matching that Roth with a traditional 401K asset, that’s free money. When you pull it out at the age of 72, that free money’s taxable at your tax rate. We can have a discussion on where we believe tax rates are going. Some could argue they’re going up. The sunset provision states in 2026 that the tax, the tax brackets revert back to 2017, which means they’re going up. So not only are you gonna be in a higher tax bracket later on in retirement, your social security benefit because of that r and d is now going to be 85% taxable.
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So basically the free money that you got is negated by the taxes you will end up having to pay.
That’s why it doesn’t behoove the federal government to give an incentive to the employer to give the match in anything other than a traditional 401k.
Okay. Now, if you’re self-employed, you can open your Roth 401k and Bingo. Just Yeah, just do it.
Just do it. The other, the only other alternative, so for self-employed, there’s a couple other alternatives. You can work with a financial professional by setting up life insurance, however they do that. I’m not a financial advisor. I just am the, the person that speaks about Irma. Yep. That’s all. I am Medicare, I work, I work with people on helping them find the right Medicare plan, and I help them setting up Irma. I am not licensed. I don’t sell any product. We just provide information to people. Okay. So they can use life insurance. And also for self-employed people, they should all be using a four one [inaudible] plan.
And what is a 401k?
So a 4 0 1 H plan, as we like to kid, is new legislation that was passed by Congress in 1984.
So that’s been around for quite some time. And no one in the financial industry has acknowledged that this even exists. So have you heard of a health savings account? I have
Hsa. I was actually just on the phone with Mass Health Connector because it’s that time where you can choose a new plan and I’d like to have an HSA account and I need a high deductible health plan, but the two different people I’ve talked with at Mass Health Connector are like, we have no idea what you’re talking about. And <laugh>.
So if you’re going through mass connector, that’s a state exchange. Yes. So under the state exchange, and I haven’t looked at Massachusetts they may not have an h s a high deductible plan. Okay. For the simple fact that Mass Health is Massachusetts is structured health insurance wise different than all 49, all, all 50 states. It’s, it’s its own entity.
They may not have that. Now, the reason why I would deter you from looking at an HSA is in order to have an hsa, we say this on stage and it does infuriate people, and I’m sorry, but it’s the reality. You have to have a really bad health plan in order to have an hsa.
You have to spend $12,000, or it’s 8500, 80, 900, whatever the number may be, but you get, spend an exorbitantly large amount of money in order to start getting the benefits of an H S A while also paying premiums on a monthly basis. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So it’s gonna cost you, if you actually do need healthcare, it’s gonna cost you $15,000 of after tax money to take advantage of your hsa.
Yeah. So what is the That’s insane. Yeah. So what is the benefit? I mean, I know it’s triple tax free, but
For the employer Yes.
Benefits the employer.
Yeah. But if you, you put in your money tax free, you take it out tax free. Yep. It grows tax free. So I guess you just have to run that analysis to see all that extra money you paid in deductible. If that’s more than what your HSA is gonna give you down the end when you start
To use it. If you are not using healthcare, meaning you’re in shape, you’re healthy, you’re not going to the doctor HSAs are absolutely fantastic vehicles. You should be plowing in the money up to the maximum every single year.
If you need healthcare in any way whatsoever. You know, I like to joke, if your kid’s a soccer player or you, you, you’re active in sports, may not be the greatest thing to look
At. Yeah. We just joined a ski race team. This might not be the year
<Laugh>. Yeah. And, and the big guy needs a knee replacement this year, so that’s probably not,
Not, yeah, you’re, you, you may wanna look at something else. Yeah. so what we do do is if you do need any help I can do some digging and tell you the differences between the plans you’re looking at. And that’s one of the things we do at earn a certified planner for people we work with. Yeah.
I mean the, the, the whole healthcare is just a whole nother issue. I mean, we, our healthcare just went up another $300 this year. Yep. $2,500 a month for a family plan here in Massachusetts. And that’s, that’s probably with a pretty high deductible also through Harvard Pilgrim healthcare anyway, through the Mass Health Connector. But that’s, that’s, that’s another topic. <Laugh> a whole nother topic,
<Laugh>. It’s, it’s not it’s a convoluted mess that is only going to get unfortunately worse. Yeah. There is no, there’s no need or there’s no reason in any way whatsoever for the problem to be fixed.
Right? Yep. Yeah. So back to Irma. Oh,
So before we go back to Irma, yes. You as I’m assuming you are, are self-employed. Yes. Okay. So you need to open up a four one H
Oh yes. That’s
What we were talking about. What a 4 0 1 H is, is to piggyback to your company the way it’s structured to their retirement account. Now, like in hsa, any money that you place into a 4 0 1 H is fully tax deductible. The money grows tax deferred. If you take the money out like an HSA to pay for the health benefits of you, your spouse, or any dependent, it is tax free. The difference between a 4 0 1 H and an HSA account, besides it being piggybacked to a corporation’s retirement account, is you can put an unlimited amount of money into a 4 0 1 H and again, it’s fully taxed deductible.
Now, that should be something every single self-employed person has not up for debate, not up for conjecture. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they have to have it. Because the argument that we make here is what is your greatest asset
Yeah. Bingo. Your health.
You’re the first person to know that. People say, oh, my house, my car, <laugh>. No, you’re, you’re hell.
Think of it. If you have a slip and fall and you break, you know, you break your hip and can’t walk all the money in the world, doesn’t mean anything. You can’t walk.
Unfortunately, if you contract cancer, the only thing that matters is cancer. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> worse. It’s the person you care most about contracts, cancer. The only thing you care about is that
Health is the greatest asset. Quick question, how many people have actually planned for it?
Not very many.
So, back to Irma, how to get around it is basically have assets that the i r s does not see in any way whatsoever. And that’s, again, assets that don’t show up on line. It’s, it’s line two and 11 of the 2021 IRS tax form. I believe it’ll be the same for 2022. Okay. So it’s lines two and lines 11. So the only things that are available, believe it or not, are Roth Life Insurance. 4 0 1, 4 0 1 H or HSA Home equity. And the last thing that you can use in retirement is if anybody has a non-qualified annuity, if you annuitize or work with the right annuity company, if you take that annuity and you annuitize it, that income will have what is known as a tax exclusion ratio. Okay. And you can generate an income that is excluded from your tax return.
Okay. Yeah. When you mentioned home equity, we do talk about reverse mortgage and how that greatest,
Greatest thing everybody should be looking at.
Yep. Tax free, tax free income buffer for retirement.
It’s than that as well. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> for the simple fact that we, I ask a very simple question when speaking to the general public, and I ask for a raise of hands and you can imagine what the, the, the reply is. And the question is, how many people here believe they’re gonna go into a long-term care facility?
Speaker 3 (00:21:10):
Now what do you think the reaction is when I ask for raising hands?
Yeah. Not many.
Okay. And I see, congratulations, you’re all a hundred percent correct. I know for a fact, none of you, none of you are ever going into a long-term care facility. Now I also know that 70% of you need to go into a long-term care facility, but none of you are going in. Now, here’s the reason why, and I’m gonna use old numbers for setup. Back in 2015, the US Census, as well as the Kaiser Family Foundation as law, as well as the Bureau of Labor, believe it or not, released reports stating that there were 15,648 long-term care facilities in the United States of the 15,648 long-term care facilities in the United States. There was about 1.6 million beds of the 1.6 million beds in the 15,648 long-term care facilities in the United States. 1.31 million of those beds were occupied as of 2018. So there are less than 300,000 beds available in the United States. The long-term care. Now, baby boomers comprise about, let’s call it now, I know the numbers off of 80. I haven’t computed them for 70, but let’s say it’s still 80 million baby boomers. Of the 80 million baby boomers, 70% of them are expected to need some form of long-term care. Meaning they can’t do an adl ac
Activities of daily living.
Living Yes. Activity deal living of that 70%, which is about 54 to 56 million people. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, 20% of them are going to need to stay in a long-term care facility. That’s about 12 million people. So here’s the question, ladies and gentlemen. How are 12 million people gonna fit in a 1.61 million beds?
Speaker 3 (00:23:34):
So where are you gonna convalesce when you get older?
Yeah. With family?
So now, quick question. Quick question. Does your hallway, can it accommodate two walkers, husband, wife? Is it wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Have you adult proofed the bathroom, those kitchen cabinets today? Can you reach them? What do you think’s gonna happen when you’re 85, 90? Is your laundry room on the same floor as your master bathroom, as well as the kitchen, and as well as the master bedroom? So what are you gonna do when you’re 85, 90 years old? Oh, I know. Cuz your financial advisors already told me, I made you a super duper bunch of money in your traditional 401k and y’all gonna rip it out of the traditional 401k. And then what happens to your Medicare premiums? Oh, by the way, how do you pay for your Medicare premiums? Which we didn’t talk about. So how do we pay for IRMAA through your social security check? So what happens to your social security check? So now you rip out even more money to offset that. And now do we see the vicious cycle?
So why you need a reverse mortgage is you are not leaving your house wherever you are living when you retire, that’s where you’re living.
Now, quick question, or I’ll make a statement. My mother who has equity in her house, god forbid she, and there is some signs, but God forbid something happens medically and she needs help. I really don’t want to go back to her house and mow the lawn every other Sunday. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I, I really don’t want to pay another tax bill every month on a, on a piece of property I’m not living in. I really don’t wanna repair the roof. I’d rather see her take the assets out and live a comfortable life than worry about inheriting something that’s just gonna cause me headaches.
Everyone that’s retiring, the second thing they should be doing after getting rid of all of their visible assets to the i r s. Yeah. They should be lining up a reverse mortgage.
Yeah. We’ve talked about reverse mortgage a couple times here on my podcast. Once with a, a great guy named Luke Cintron. And yeah, he’s, he’s a wealth of information about reverse mortgage. So it’s definitely one of the key strategies that we talk about at her retirement. So I appreciate you shedding some light and giving some real like, case study like this is gonna happen. In fact, when we purchased this home, our realtor kept saying, this is a great aging in place home. And Brian kept saying, can you stop saying that? And I’m like, well, no. Like, other than the cabinets, I was going through the list in my mind I was like, yeah. Other than the cabinets, we just, we wouldn’t be able to access any food above the certain height of the cabinets. But, and you know, we’re super competitive, so we’d be, we’d be racing each other to see who could get their walker in the hallway before the other guy. But or the other gal <laugh>. But I mean, I think we’re, I think we’re, I think we’re good cuz everything you said we’re like one level, you know,
Fantastic. Might need a little, actually, might need a little ramp, but other than that, you know, yeah.
It’s besides, you know, being in the area, let’s say the northeast, that’s, you know, e every house has got multi-level stairs. So for you to do, pull that off in the Northeast, that’s fantastic. A
Ranch, you gotta buy a ranch.
I did, I did the, you know, the big 4,000 square foot colonial three floors, you know, all that. And I’m like, I ended up in a ranch where I started my life with my mom. But it’s not a bad thing.
There’s there’s a lot of reasons why those that were before us built things the way they built <laugh>. We’ve unfortunately forgotten a lot of information. Yeah.
Pretty smart people. Yeah. So what do people do that already have those big 401ks and they want to pay attention to this issue and plan for it before they retire?
So I would highly encourage them to start looking at taking up, well, first stop putting money in traditional 401k. Okay. Stop whoever’s listening to this, and if you want to argue or debate just keep this in the back of your mind. I have the federal government backing every single thing that I’m saying. So unless you can come with information other than the federal government and how they’re gonna attack you, I winded aey. Okay, stop putting money in a traditional 401K yesterday. That’s the first thing. The second thing, you gotta start taking the money out, spending down. So let’s say you retire at the age of 62, 63, you still have a couple more years to Medicare, spend down that money. You’re 59 and a half years old, you can start taking money out of your traditional 401k. You want to go on vacation, use that money. Your kid needs to go to college. You happen to have children later in life. Pay pay for the college education out of the traditional 401k. Get rid of the traditional 401k yesterday. Yeah. Now for those of you doing research, everyone’s gonna start googling and hitting IRMAA after you see me, because I’m it, unfortunately, and I’m not saying it because I’m the smartest, I’m not. My mother will tell you I’m not that bright <laugh>.
I just happened to have got here first. It’s the only thing that separates from me, from everyone else. I just got here first. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. 15 years. Okay. I actually started a company with our former governor of Massachusetts years and years and years ago. And then he became governor and I, I went my other way and left that company because he’s really passionate about people planning for healthcare. And God does, does, does Charlie Baker know a lot about the subject <laugh>? So I just got here first. Yeah, that’s all. It’s, I’m not smarter than anyone else. I just got here first. Yep. So if you want to debate and argue, when you start looking at Irma, you’re gonna find out that ooh, 5% of the population in Medicare hits her. That’s not the case. It’s actually more like 30%, but we are not gonna go there. I’m sorry, not 30. It’s more like 11% this year. By the time 2030 rolls around. So in seven years, the Medicare Board of trustees report is stating about 30% of everyone on Medicare is going to be an erm
Because they’re gonna be starting to take all those RMDs.
Correct. Not only that, because they’re gonna start taking the RMDs, but more importantly, the frightening part of what’s going on with our country, Medicare is officially broke. There is no more money. Sorry. So there’s only two alter, well, three alternatives that the government actually has. The first alternative is to raise everyone’s taxes, which they can’t do. The next alternative is to how Medicare works. Real quick for alternative two, how Medicare works. You are on Medicare, you go see your physician. Your physician doesn’t hand you a bill. They take your Medicare card, they put your name number Medicare card, and they give the codes for that. Identify the procedures that were done on you. They then take those codes and they build the federal government or Medicare, the amount of money for the services provided. Medicare then reimburses the physicians or the healthcare providers, the amount of money that they’re charging.
Now, the reimbursement rate for Medicare by law is 80% of what the insurance companies are paying your physician. So let’s say you go in for, I don’t know let’s use a colonoscopy. Everyone can, everyone I’m assuming is subject to that at some point. Yep. Let’s say the colonoscopy is a thousand dollars. Well, the insurance company’s only gonna pay the healthcare provider, let’s call it $900. Well, Medicare only has to pay 80% of that 900. So does the physician actually get all of their money? They do not. So every year the physician has to raise their prices to make up the loss. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, hence why healthcare costs continue to rise. So one of the easiest ways for Medicare to save money is to cut the reimbursement rate from 80% of what the health insurers are paying, cut it to let’s say 60%. But what it will end up happening to healthcare costs, they’ll just skyrocket. So what’s the other easiest way that Medicare can generate income to make sure it doesn’t go insolvent? Anybody ever hear this thing called Irma? All they’ve gotta do is increase the surcharges and they’re gonna generate a bunch of money if they leave the brackets alone and they just follow the path that they’re supposed to be following the federal government between today in 2030, the federal government’s going to collect $355 billion. That’s what they’re projecting in the report. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So going forward, they’re gonna collect $355 billion off of seniors. That’s where we’re headed. Quick question that we like to ask, how many people have actually planned for this?
They just don’t know about it.
There’s a reason. Yeah. It doesn’t behoove the federal government or the financial industry to inform anybody of this. The thing that people have to realize is, I’ve been doing this for, let’s call it 15 years, and I did it with the former governor of Massachusetts. IRM has only been on the books since 2020. I’m sorry, since 2003. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> IRM is only 20 years old. How does people, how do people not know about it?
And it gets worse for the simple fact that it isn’t just for supposedly affluent people, the way the rules and regulations are set up for Medicare. And I’ve already asked the question, which you’ve answered properly, how do you pay for your Medicare premiums through your social security check? So as Medicare is going insolvent or going broke, and they need to generate more and more money, the other easy, simple way is to just increase the premiums. So if I increase the premiums as the federal government, and I don’t give out a cost of living adjustment for Social security because you pay the bulk of your Medicare premiums to your Social security check, what happens to your social security benefit?
So no one’s social security benefit is actually ever gonna get increased because the Medicare premiums are gonna consume all of that cola. So in order to avoid all of this is you take a step back, get out of the traditional assets, get out of tax deferred place money into vehicles that the I r s doesn’t acknowledge. Again, I, I cannot speak more for Roth accounts.
And then I know people despise life insurance, but it’s the only thing that hasn’t changed.
Yeah. The cash value whole life.
So the way we like to describe it, in 1913, the federal government passed and passed a law that brought taxation permanently to the United States. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> prior to 1913, it was never permanent. It was always because of certain situations from the federal government. Yep. There’s always been taxes for state. That’s a completely different avenue. But when it comes to an income tax that was created in 1913, the legislation that enacted your tax code in 1913, the tax code was 194 characters. It consisted of 194 words. You could have tweeted sort of the entire tax language in 1913. Today, what is our tax code? How many characters are in it? Oh,
Of, no, not hundreds. Yeah. Tens of millions of characters. Yeah.
Can you tell me the name of the financial product that hasn’t changed since then?
Yeah, life insurance.
What are we telling people not to buy
<Laugh> life insurance? Well, I don’t,
The only product that has never changed, ever. The only product that every bank owns, every senator, every house that rep owns, we tell people not to buy. And what do we tell people to do? Put money into tax deferred as much as humanly possible. This is all better for us.
Yeah. And I do a whole diatribe on why the financial industry hates women. I’m not sure if you want me to go down that path. I don’t know how much time we
Have. Oh, wow. That would be a good one. But I have a quick, quick other comment about people that have money in their 401ks, Roth conversions. Right. So that’s a way for people to get those funds out of those 401ks into Roths, but you have to do it intelligently.
Well, that’s why they work with people that I’m assuming they work with you.
Yeah. I I’m not a financial advisor. I’m an educator. Oh, you know what, no, I’m not a licensed financial advisor. No. I I am an educator and a coach. So I po focus on personal financial coaching and what I call retirement readiness. And I like to educate women on these various topics. And then you know, if they need help, I have a network of experts that I can connect them to, depending upon their needs. I help them figure out what exactly are their needs and get them matched up with that professional. So, and I am a co-owner of your Retirement advisor, which is a financial advisory practice. So on that side, that team can do the Roth conversions and help you figure out your 401ks and your retirement income plan and tax efficiency, which is very critical and all that good stuff. So, yeah. So her retirement, thank you
It. I’m sorry.
Thank you for doing that. That’s incredible. Thank you for doing what you do.
Thank you. Yeah, it’s it’s a passion project and helping a lot of women who are in the financial services industry. I feel like women in particular have a lack of trust greater than the population at large. For a lot of different reasons. You know, I, I could talk about all the, the issues. Women are a little overwhelmed, perhaps older women have been in a partnership where they weren’t the, the C F O, they weren’t making those long-term decisions. The average age of a widows 59, so like 90. Really? Yeah. 95% of women are going to eventually make their decisions. You know, 80, 80 or 90% of women die single lots. Statistics point to the fact that women are going to have to make these decisions on their own. They’re going to have to make sure because of longevity, that they have enough money, you know, that all their, their family money with their partner wasn’t used by their partner.
So it leaves them Yep. Unable to care for themselves. So that all these different factors that I am trying to educate and alert women too and give them objective information. Not, not you know, a financial advisor who just wants to take their money and, you know, manage it. Or not an insurance salesman who just wants to sell her, you know, a big fat annuity. Like never be sold anything because you get educated. You won’t be sold anything. You’ll make a buying decision. And that’s what I’m trying to impart to women is that base level knowledge. Give them some questions to ask. I was actually just communicating via email with a woman who said she’s talking to a few different financial advisors. She’s aware of your retirement advisor. Because when I first talk to women, I tell them that I co-own a practice, but I gave her a guide to financial advisors and I gave her a series of questions to basically vet that quote retirement advisor to make sure that that person they’re going to be working with isn’t just focused on investments. You know, that they know about reverse mortgage, they know about Irma, they know about all these topics because that person can serve your best interest. Not someone who just wants to manage your money and, you know, collect a commission on the assets under management and call it a day. Someone who’s truly going to look out for all these gutches. Right. Because there are a lot of gutches and it requires proper planning. And not, not a lot of advisors know all of these things.
No. And that, so here’s where we like to say, we step in and thank you for what you’re doing. That’s incredible work. And thank you for being the educator, not being licensed and having a ha ha having a horse in the race. That’s just incredible. Thank
Where, why we started IRMAA certified planner and all IRMAA certified planner is, is an educational stop certification for fi financial professionals have it be accountants, c CPAs, tax attorneys not, we are targeting the financial industry. We want financial advisors to be certified because they’re the ones that’ll end up doing the ultimate work. But we are targeting other financial professionals other than the financial industry. We’re, we like to say why IRMAA certified certification matters. Why IRMAA certification is the key out of everything that you’re going to speak about as a financial advisor, you’re gonna speak to the end client. What’s the only thing mandated by law? What’s the one thing that you have to have in retirement, or one thing you have to have to meet the requirements set forth by the federal government? You have to have health coverage. One thing government says you have to have it if you don’t, granted, they don’t have what is known as the individual mandate on the, the Affordable Care Act currently. So you can’t be taxed just yet. You used to be able to, it’s coming back. Oh. But by the way, if you don’t enroll in a Medicare when you’re 65 and older and you don’t have any other credible health insurance through an employer or spousal employer, you forfeit a hundred percent of your social security check. Hmm. So what must you have in retirement
Which financial professionals helping people plan for it? Hmm. You want to ensure that you have a list of people that they can go to that are qualified. Do you, what do you know about IRMAA if they don’t know it, don’t work with them. Yeah. Because guess what? They’re not following federal law then they should have to know about reverse mortgages, HSAs. They should have to know about everything else that goes into it.
You know, what we’re trying to prevent is, as we were talking earlier before we came on about a, a particular call that I was on, that particular call that I was on is always with unfortunately a woman. And ultimately this call for your listeners woman who’s in her sixties, she’s unfortunately divorced. She’s not necessarily healthy, not by anything that she’s done wrong. She eats completely clean, she tries to exercise. She just has a disease that she was born with that she’s struggling with now because of the way she’s saved for retirement assets through a traditional 401k. All of her money is visible to the I r s. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. She needs prescription drugs that are extremely expensive. They’re looking at 15, 16, $17,000 a month for these type, it’s called tier four or five injectable of biologic drugs. They’re extremely expensive. She can’t afford them. And then also maintain savings. Her social security check is getting destroyed because of the Medicare premiums. So what does she do? She’s choosing to go without medication so she can save her money. So if she, unfortunately to her quote, unfortunately, if I live too long, I can at least stay where I am and I won’t be homeless. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, that’s a quote.
Yeah. It’s horrible.
And my only comment back, and hopefully people realize this, if you don’t have tax deferred assets, I get you your medications for free. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it’s that simple.
But we can’t do it for some reason, the financial industry just can’t do it.
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think of the 300,000 financial advisors in the country, they’ve been focused on the accumulation phase of life. I think that’s one of the issues. And there’s not a lot of quote you know, de accumulation phase of life focus. You know, it’s, it’s I know in my case, my partner Brian, he decided probably 10 years ago to start focusing on retirement planning and, and decided to rebrand the company to your retirement advisor to address that specific phase of life and why I’ve chosen to focus on her retirement as a brand and an education platform to do just that. Right. Because I, I also understand, I know this is perhaps a not a minor point, but with Irma, isn’t there like a two year look back or not look back <laugh>, but how would you describe that?
Wow. You want to go into the weeds <laugh>. Just
Quick, quick weed.
All right. Real quick. What Medicare, so the majority of your listeners, congratulations, all of you are going into Irma, not up for debate, not up for conjecture. Because what Lynn is just pointed out is the hard truth of retirement. So Medicare is always looking back at a two year tax return. The reason being is I’ll use the example planning for 2023. So what they do for those that are enrolled in a Medicare or those that are enrolling the Medicare, they contact the IRS electronically or your M A G I information. So when they’re looking at 2023 to see who’s in Irma, well unfortunately you haven’t filled out your tax return in 2022 yet. So they’re looking at your 2021. If you don’t have your 2021, they look at your 2020. If you don’t have 2021 or 2020, meaning you don’t have a tax return, Medicare automatically puts you in the highest Medicare IRMAA bracket.
So if you don’t have any tax returns, you go on Medicare, you get hit with the highest IRMAA bracket. So now Medicare is looking back at your two year tax return. That’s just what it does. So now let’s say you are turning 65 years old, or you’re 65 years old. In 2023, you’re gonna retire, go on to Medicare. Well guess what? Tax return they’re gonna look at. You’re 2021. Are you making more than $97,000? Well, you just reached derma. Granted, you have the ability to file an appeal, and you should, and you will. If you speak to lamb and you speak to your retirement is your retirement planner,
Your retirement advisor,
Your retirement advisor, you’re gonna automatically file that appeal. Okay? Now what happens next year in 2024? Well, they’re still gonna look at your two year tax return from 2022. You haven’t retired yet. You still have income. Y’all gonna be in IRMAA again unless you appeal. So yes, they’re always looking two years behind. This is a bigger problem. Now, let’s say you turn 72, you take out that R M D, you’re not really planning for it. Take out the R M D. You don’t get subject to tax of IRMAA until age 74. Now, when you get the letter in the mail at the age of 74 that you’re reaching IRMAA, the last thing you’re gonna do is file an appeal. You are just gonna pay the money.
The reason being is the Social Security Administration, which sets up to find out who’s in Irma. Again, I said it earlier, electronically contacts the irs. So every time you appeal an IRMAA determination, what you’re telling a federal agency, the Social Security Administration, is that the other federal agency, the Internal Revenue Service is wrong. So ultimately what you’re stating to the I R s is the tax information that you have about me is incorrect. Hmm. How many IRS agents is the current administration hiring?
Yeah, a lot.
Everyone thinks it’s to try to go after corporations or go after the rich. How many baby boomers are there?
10,000 retiring every day,
About 80 million. What do you think the i r s agents are going after? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
So yes, IRM is a two year lookback
Is like, what’s the average increase? What does, what does IRMAA add to that budget that you might not be prepared for?
So the first IRMAA threshold is about 40% more Okay. Than the second IRMAA threshold is double. So whatever the Medicare premium is, it’s double.
Then there’s two other bra, three other brackets after that. So it goes from 40 to a hundred percent to 160% to 240% to 260%.
So now here’s where people need to take a look at real IRMAA. I don’t know how much time we have under the Medicare Monetization Act, which started Irma, that was back in 2003. The IRMAA thresholds are supposed to adjust based on the C P I U. So the consumer price index of IRMAA consumers. So each year they’re supposed to look at what the C P I U is on average, and it’s supposed to go up by that percentage. It has not done that in the history of Medicare zma. It didn’t even do it this year. When it jumped from 91,000 to 97,000. It’s really supposed to be at 111,000. So it still hasn’t done that. Yep. Now, through the years, the Medicare IRMAA bracket threshold has gone up. Now, what people have to realize in 2014, the president of the United States and the Vice President, who is now your president, passed legislation through the budget in 2015, that decreased Medicare’s IRMAA brackets by about 40% on the coup on the, the, the couple side. It also increased the surcharges by 25%. Now, that was supposed to take effect in 2017. What ends up happening is the next president of the United States comes in and enacts legislation. It’s called the Bipartisan Budget Act that happened in 2018. Enacts legislation, which blocks the legislation that happened in 2015, and then readjust the herba brackets and states that they cannot be adjusted. The the bottom tier. So the, the highest tier, the the 500,000, that can’t be adjusted through at least 2028. So unless Congress creates another act, hopefully the IRMAA brackets don’t change.
But have they’ve already been enacted to be lowered. They have. Is it coming? Yes, it’s coming. And it has to because Medicare’s broke.
Yeah. Yep. Before we wrap up, and I may end up breaking this into two podcasts. I’ll have to see how how it pans out. We’ll make uhoh we’ll leave, we’ll leave it on a cliffhanger like Netflix to get, you know, when you’re watching Yellowstone and you know, Beth shoots someone in, don’t know if they died or whatever. She’s hit someone over the head. I don’t know if you’re a Yellowstone fan, but they leave you on a cliffhanger. So you have to watch the next, next episode. So we may end up doing that. But there’s, there’s 30 trillion that’s going to transfer the greatest wealth transfer of all time. And women are probably going to inherit a lot of that money. So my question is, what does that inheritance do to women’s incomes? And it’s probably when you’re gonna need a financial slash retirement advisor to help you when you inherit that kind of money. Because it can have impact. Right. Cuz it’s, it’s it’s taxable.
So I don’t know how much time again I can assure you 30 trillion isn’t going to be transferred. It’s not gonna happen. The government’s going to take 29.9 trillion of it. Women are gonna be left with nothing. As again, I do a whole presentation on, I do a five minute real five minute quick why the financial industry hates women.
Okay, we got five minutes for that cuz this might be part two of the podcast.
So let’s take a typical scenario of husband and wife. Currently 45, 50 years old today. They sit down with a financial advisor. The financial advisor’s going to tell them to invest as much money tax deferred. So you get a tax break today cuz it’s all about putting money in your pocket today when you’re working and you can afford it. They’re going to tell the person to buy term insurance to protect themselves. God forbid either one passes away and you want to invest the difference. There is no reason to have life insurance later on other than term because we’re gonna invest your money and you’re gonna have so much money you’re not gonna know what to do with it. They’re gonna tell them to work until the age of 70 and they’re gonna tell ’em to do the third worst thing you could possibly do in retirement. And that is maximize your social security benefit. Newsflash, you don’t wanna really do that, especially if you have tax deferred assets. There are times when you should do it and we’ll show you when. So let’s say the couple continues. Life, life goes on now they’re about to retire. They have a lot of money in their traditional 401k. They’re gonna maximize their social security check.
They don’t have any life insurance. They don’t buy an annuity because annuities are bad. Reverse mortgages. Why would you ever want to do that? You want to give your house to your children. Correct?
Do i, does does this sound off the wall?
Sounds pretty common.
Okay. So what ends up happening in the real world, and I’m sorry this is gonna sound sexist, but this is just the way it is because women are smarter than us as they get older, the husband’s gonna collect more in social security benefits because the wife stayed at home and raise the kids. She did the most important job for our society, for them, for their family, is they raised sensible normal children. That’s the most important job. I don’t care what anyone says. And by the way, by the way, as a, as a male, you don’t want me raising my own kids cuz I’m a moron. <Laugh>. And I’m gonna get there to a point. <Laugh>. So she’s collecting half of his social security benefit. Now what happens? Every single, I don’t care what anyone says, the man gets sick. Correct? Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, is there any long-term care insurance? No. So what does the woman do? Takes care of him. What happens to her health? Is she starting to take care of the man?
Hmm? Her health deteriorates. So what ends up happening is he passes away. But because his health was deteriorating did they take money out of the traditional 401K to help offset the medical situation? Did they reach Medicare’s? Irma, did their social security check start going down? Now he passes away after he, he’s depleting some of the assets. The assets really don’t have much. Hmm. She’s now stuck with a social security benefit. She’s now in a higher IRMAA bracket because it’s no longer married. She’s an individual. There is no life insurance. There is no stream of income. All she has is her house. So she has very little assets cuz they got bled to take care of the husband. She’s collecting a social security benefit that’s being chewed up by Medicare’s Irma. And she has a house and that’s it. So what happens to her?
Oh, they move her to a long-term care facility and they take the house. And the only thing that she had in the, in her entire life, everything she worked for vanishes. Oh, and by the way, when you go to a long-term care facility and you see women that are there by themselves and they have nobody visiting, it’s not because they’re bad people. Not even remotely close. The reason is when you decide to make yourself look indigent to get on a welfare or, or to get on a Medicaid, which is unfortunately where women are headed by law, they can move you anywhere to a long-term care facility that’s a 50 mile radius of your home. How many times can your children get out to visit you if they’ve gotta drive 50 miles each way? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So how does the women end up ending their lives? Homeless and a long-term care facility with no loved ones and broke.
Correct. Now how easy is this? Same couple sits down with their financial advisor. Who doesn’t hate women? Hmm. They buy life insurance. They invest money instead of into their traditional 401k. They put it into a Roth. They get the, they ex, they excu, they, they take away the company match. Don’t even want it. Just put it in a Roth. Don’t even want the company match just before retirement. They sit down with their financial advisor. They take some of the money that’s been in a Roth. They buy annuity. They it over two lifetimes. Now, no matter what anyone says, the guy’s getting sick. And the reason the guy’s getting sick is men are dumb. Men are stupid. To give you the quick example of how stupid we are. Couple years ago when I was married, I’m out in my backyard with a machete. You can think of where this is going. <Laugh>. I’m drinking beer while using a machete to cut a path for my children to play in the woods. I sink the machete into my shoulder <laugh> and like a genius. I pull the machete out and then I pour beer on it and say it’s alcohol. I cleansed it. And because I’m a moron, I continue to do the work. A couple days later I get an infection and my, my wife at the time who’s a nurse tells me, Hey stupid, you’re not sleeping in this bed because your arm smells cuz it’s infected. You need to go to the doctor
Speaker 4 (01:03:20):
Now, couple weeks later, my wife again a nurse at the time, she goes out, she’s a runner. She has some pain in in her hip region. She immediately stops running, immediately goes to the doctor, comes out, she’s got a crack pelvis from whatever it may be. They put her on a regimen for rehab. She follows it to a T. She’s healthy. Within three months she’s back to normal. So out of the two stories that I just gave you, which person deserves to live?
Speaker 4 (01:03:53):
Women outlive men. Because men are stupid. There’s no other reason. <Laugh> women are intelligent. Sorry. Anybody wants to argue, debate? I can. We’ll just go to a cemetery and we’ll look at the headstones. <Laugh> there. Proof women are smarter than men. Proof. So John still gets sick. I’m sorry the, the husband still gets sick, but they have long, they have life insurance inside the life insurance. What do they have? Long-Term care rider. Long-Term care rider kicks in. There’s money spent on John. It doesn’t come outta their savings. Ah. Now instead of the wife getting sick, getting unhealthy from taking care of the husband. Well the long-term care coverage allows somebody to come in. She maintains your health, huh? No assets are being spent. Now when he passes away, what happens? There’s a death benefit. Huh? So now she gets half of the social security benefit, but she’s no longer in IRMAA because she’s got Roth assets also. They have the income from the annuity coming in and she has life insurance. Huh? Does she have to worry about anything else?
Can she stay in her house for the rest of her life and be surrounded around people that love her? Yeah, but we can’t do that. Why? Cuz we hate women. So, I’m sorry if anybody wants to say it. A financial advisor that doesn’t understand IRMAA and doesn’t understand federal law, you shouldn’t not work with, you should run away. You should report, you should sue, get away from them. Yes. I’m sorry. The financial industry to this day still and will continue to hate women because it’s really not that hard to make their lives extremely easy for everything that they’ve given to us. Mm-Hmm.
So that’s, that’s my little spiel.
Love it. Yeah. I did a podcast with Larry Kotlikoff. Not sure if you’ve
Heard of it. Oh, quick guy. Yeah.
Yeah. I know Larry. He went into a whole diatribe during the podcast on, you know, how the Social Security system is not friendly to women. And he just, he just, he just brought out things that I just never even thought of. And it was,
Larry’s a great guy,
So insightful. Yeah. He’s he’s fun to chat with. Very, very, very nice man. We’ve actually been to his townhouse oh, back, back, probably five or six years ago. We went into Beacon Hill and visited with him. But so if we could just summarize, if somebody is listening, what are like the three most important things that they could do with this information like today?
All right. So the first three things that we like to talk about is the biggest mistake you can make in retirement. The number one biggest mistake is placing money into tax deferred today. Just, just don’t do it. There’s no reason to put any tax deferred money in. Don’t get what anyone says. The third thing we tell people is never maximize your social security benefit until speaking to a financial professional. Now, if you have all assets in a Roth and life insurance, by all means maximize your social security benefit. But you have to realize if you have any tax deferred asset, if you maximize your social security benefit, you just get quicker to 85% of your social security benefit being taxed and
Irma. So when you say maximize social security, are you saying to wait in as long as Yes, not as as
Possible. Do not wait, unless of course you have non recognizable assets to the I R S, then by all means, yeah. Get as much money as you possibly can. Right. Social security is a tool to strip away your retirement assets.
So, and that leaves us to the second one, and this is the running joke in retirement. Don’t start a land war in Asia. So that’s an ode to the Princess Bride. So those are the three things that we tell people not to do. Irma, very simple, is a surcharge on your Medicare premiums for those that earn too much income. That’s all it is. It’s really not that, not much more to it than that, unfortunately. It’s all encompassing to your income with the exception of a few things. You need to work with a financial professional that understands these federal laws and understands what income is so you can maintain your healthcare costs and keep as much of your social security benefit is humanly possible.
Yep. Great. Dan, thank you so much. This was quite a topic. We covered a lot of ground. We went over my typical podcast time. So like I said, I may divide this into two part one and part two, get people to listen to us two weeks in a row chatting about all of this. I came into it thinking we were going to be talking about Irma, but we covered life insurance, annuities, reverse mortgage. So many important topics for women to understand. And I always say, you know, retirement is about not only risk mitigation, like under identifying your gaps, your risks, but also opportunities. So on a positive note, I always take a look at, you know, don’t be afraid of these things. Look at these things as opportunities, right? And opportunity to change your outcome. You have control to do that. The sooner you do it, the better. <Laugh>. That’s what I also preach is, you know, cuz I talk to so many women where they think, oh, it’s too late, but I always say it’s never too late to make some change. So as I always say, retirement, her retirement is about knowing more and having more and getting her done. Thanks for listening. Thanks Dan, for participating in this episode of the Her Retirement Podcast.