This week, Jamie Hopkins talks with Mary Beth Franklin.  Mary Beth is a thought leader in the world of retirement planning and a financial writer at Investment News.

As a lifelong journalist, Mary started her career on Capitol Hill, covering federal policy and politics. She also wrote a weekly syndicated column where she advised older people about various topics, including long-term care insurance, Social Security, Medicare, reverse mortgages and more. And in the late 90s, she moved over to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine to write about retirement income planning.

But it wasn’t until her older siblings started retiring and asking for her advice that she became the financial planning guru she is now. Today, she writes for Investment News, does certified financial planning, and travels around the country speaking on retirement-related issues.

In this episode, we talk about social security, navigating ever-changing financial markets, becoming a CFP, and why the best part about food is the company we eat it with.

“People are afraid that social security is going to go broke, so they’re grabbing their benefits now. I think that’s a more dangerous situation because you’re clearly acting out of fear and panic. You can get your benefits now, but your benefits are going to be reduced for the rest of your life. ~ @MBFretirepro

Main Takeaways

  • Social security has become complex and nuanced. It’s fine not to be an expert in the field, but make sure you’re finding out what the major ‘red flags’ are so that you can properly advise your client on maximizing their benefits.
  • Taking benefits now, during a market correction, seems tempting and may be necessary, but make sure you weigh all the options and research how the chips will fall if your client were to do so. Your short-term grab may have massive implications for full retirement benefits and your outside portfolio.
  • Social security claiming strategies are largely a luxury for those healthy and wealthy enough to put off claiming benefits.
  • COVID-19 has put a renewed interest in things like emergency funds and risk management and also opened the door to current clients’ children and grandchildren to help them with their planning needs.

Links and Important Mentions

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