Key Elements for a Great Retirement

 July 7, 2016

Thanks for your tremendous contribution to financial literacy for lay people such as myself. With all the noise out there, it is very easy to be confused, scared, and get lost. So thank you for separating fact from fiction, and explaining everything in simple language. – Aseem D.

Dear Friends,
My New Video for CPAs and You

I’m pleased that some of you have taken advantage of this special offer to access “Financial Fitness Forever,” a video I recorded for the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants. Once purchased ($10), you can share the video with family and friends by sharing your email and the password you created for access. For those who’ve watched it, I’d appreciate your feedback. If you passed it on, what feedback did you receive? Please let me know by emailing me here.

Another Videos on Investing That You May Enjoy

Comedian John Oliver on “Retirement Plans” offers a very funny (if you aren’t offended by some obscenities) and spot on discussion of what he learned while setting up a 401(k) plan for his employees.

Why Save More?

I am not a financial planner but I think everyone either needs a financial planner to help put together a plan, or hire one to review the plan they have done on their own. My experience is that people who have not included a professional in the process will likely underestimate the savings rate needed to meet future cash flow needs.

I enjoy Mary Beth Franklin’s articles in Investment News, as she is knowledgeable, a good writer and teacher, and doesn’t sell any products. I’ve recommended this site before, as it reports on a lot of the scams that go on in the investment industry. Here is a link to a recent article that supports my point that investors need to save more and the study that is mentioned in the article.  

Charitable Distributions and Gifts
I’ve had several conversations lately with older investors (like myself) who want to understand the limits of the charitable distributions that can be paid directly from your IRA. Here is a piece from a CPA/investment advisor who does a good job of explaining some of the limitations.

Rolling-over Your IRA
I rarely address tax issues but this article on rolling over an IRA could be important for many of you.      

How My Retirement Portfolio Is Managed a recent Scutify “Live Chat,” I mentioned that half of my retirement portfolio is managed using market timing, while the other half is managed using buy and hold. Here is the pdf showing details on how that part of my portfolio is managed.

The first thing you will note is the firm that manages my timing account is Merriman Wealth Management. While I founded the firm in 1983, I sold my ownership in 2012 so I could retire and start my foundation. While I no longer have any ownership in the firm, they still manage all of our investments.  

Q: Are you still providing copies of the trust you created in 1994 with $10k in a Variable Annuity for your grandson? I’m thinking about establishing similar trusts for my five grand children.

A: Here is the document that we used for one of our younger grandchildren. With each of our grandchildren we have invested $10,000 under a Crummy trust they can’t touch until they are 65. The investment is held in a no-load variable annuity. At 65 they will receive 5% of the trust value each  year for the remainder of their life. At the end of the grandchild’s life, the balance is given to a non-profit that is chosen by the grandchild. While I am happy to share the document, I encourage you to meet with an attorney, as I can’t give legal advice.


Please check out the many questions I answered on June 21 at about ETFs, bond funds, allocations and much more.

The next Scutify “Ask Me Anything” live chat will be July 20 at 1p.m. EST. You can go here now and leave your question(s), or visit the site on the day and time.

For more Q&As, listen to this week’s Podcast which answers a number of your questions about ETFs, helping grandchildren with educational costs, selecting the best small cap value ETF and where to put emergency money, as well as money you need in the near term.

Recommended Podcast
One of our listeners kindly shared this comment about “12 Lessons we must teach first-time investors.” “Superb podcast, Mr. Merriman. One of your best! All the lessons you so eloquently teach are wrapped up in this one podcast. Essential listening especially for those starting out.” –  Harry C.

To your success,


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