How do you adjust your financial plan to cope with inflation, higher interest rates, and an up-and-down economy?
Our most popular blogs and podcasts of 2023 all touched on that question in some way, especially from the perspective of retirees living on a fixed income.
Our discussions also eventually arrived at a similar conclusion: you need to have a plan!
Comprehensive financial planning puts tools at your disposal that can keep you on track for a successful retirement, no matter what’s happening in the outside world. And working with an experienced advisor, like my team at Keen Wealth, could potentially eliminate so much of the worry and uncertainty from figuring out what moves are going to keep your short-term needs and your long-term goals in sync.
Let’s run down some more important lessons from our most-downloaded and most-clicked podcasts and blogs of 2023.
Top 5 Podcasts
After graduating from Benedictine College in Atchison, Teresa Hannon took a job at Black & Veatch, where she spent her entire 38-year career. Teresa joined us to talk about how Keen Wealth’s comprehensive financial planning process has given her the means and the confidence to live her best life in retirement.
Matt Wilson, CFP®, my podcast co-host and Keen Wealth’s Chief Investment Officer and President, puts together outstanding webinars for our audience throughout the year. And our audience always does an outstanding job of following up with very thoughtful questions! In this episode, we covered required minimum distributions, The 4% Rule, when retirees should take their Medicare and Social Security benefits, and whether or not current market conditions should impact your annual withdrawal strategy.
From a purely financial perspective, the best time to retire is … never! If all you cared about is making more money and growing your nest egg, then you’d just keep on doing that as long as you could. Likewise, there’s never a “perfect” time to retire based on what’s going on in the markets. Instead, at Keen Wealth, we help folks weigh a variety of personal factors to determine when they’re emotionally and financially prepared for this major life transition.
Just before Matt and I landed in Dallas for the annual Barron’s Advisor Independent Summit, three banks collapsed in New York and California. Despite all the panicked headlines on social media and cable news, the speakers we heard at Barron’s were cautiously optimistic about the strength of our banking system and the economy as a whole. For the most part, that optimism bore out in the second half of the year as inflation began to slow, the Federal Reserve paused its interest rate hikes, and the Dow Jones hit a new all-time high.
Another great group of follow-up questions to a Matt Wilson webinar sparked this episode’s discussion about the intersection of politics and economics. Again, it’s so important to separate in-the-moment hype about things like the debt ceiling and China overtaking the U.S. from your financial decision making. I suspect that helping folks maintain a rational, long-term perspective on their money will be a recurring theme in our 2024 blogs, podcasts, and webinars too as we head into what could be a very contentious election year.
Top 5 Blogs
In my 30 years in financial services, I’ve seen even the most successful people struggle with the transition into retirement. I hope sharing my real-world experience in blogs, podcasts, and my book, Keen on Retirement: Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, can help seniors plan to retire TO something, not just FROM their jobs.
Retiring to a beachfront condo or a gated golf and tennis community is still a major goal for many seniors. Others dream of living abroad or moving closer to friends and family. But, like any retirement goal, relocating requires careful planning. If the cost of living in your preferred destination is higher than in your current home, you might have to refine your monthly budget and annual withdrawal rate. And if moving is going to strain your social network, you might need to find ways to connect with your new community, so you have a reason to get out of the house.
Is 2024 going to be “The Year?” Are you finally going to retire, or start planning for retirement in the next 3-to-5 years? Or are you already retired, and you’re determined to get serious about some of your bucket list goals? No matter where you are on your financial journey, planning for the things you can anticipate so that you can adjust to the unexpected will help you achieve more and feel more confident about your money in the year ahead.
I published this blog about a month before Dave Ramsey called The 4% Rule “stupid” and suggested that seniors could comfortably withdraw at least 8% from their retirement accounts. I still stand by my original argument that your retirement is much bigger and more complex than any one number or rule. Keen Wealth’s comprehensive planning process takes in all of your available data to keep your money and your life goals in sync as you progress toward your personal vision for a successful retirement.
Pop quiz: In 2023, what state had the highest annual income threshold for being in the top 1% of earners?
Answer: Connecticut, with a 1% threshold of $952,902.
And the lowest 1% threshold? West Virginia, with $367,582.
The size of that gap shows just how much where you live can affect how you live. And while talking through stats about what “wealthy” really means can help folks improve their financial perspectives and recalibrate their expectations for retirement, you don’t have to be a one-percenter to take memorable vacations, spend more time with your family, and build a lasting legacy in your golden years. You just need a clear vision of how you want to spend your time and a financial advisor who can help you create a plan to get there.
All of us at Keen Wealth wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2024. Thank you to all our loyal readers and listeners who continue to support Keen on Retirement and help us grow our audience. And if you’d like to start the New Year with a more positive outlook on your finances, get in touch, and let’s schedule a meeting.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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The Amazon Best Seller ranking listed on marketing materials is specifically referring to Best Seller rankings for the Kindle Top 100 Paid Lists under the subcategories of: Budgeting and Financial Risk Management, based on data as of September 5, 2019 and the second edition under Financial Risk Management on October 26, 2022. Amazon rankings although relevant on how a product is selling overall doesn’t necessarily indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items or similar item categories. Amazon may choose the most popular categories or subcategories within which an item has a high ranking to determine its best seller rankings. These rankings are updated hourly and as a result, should be expected to fluctuate as such. Keen Wealth Advisors and Amazon are not affiliated entities.
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