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Podcast #3: How To Discover Your Retirement Spending Needs

Once you retire, you’ll still be spending money. But do you know how much you’ll need to save for your future spending?

Jeremy Keil believes that when it comes to your savings, you can’t simply rely on the benchmarks and formulas you see in the media. Instead, he believes you need to figure it out based on your own needs and lifestyle. That’s where professionals like the Keil Financial Partners team come in.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Jeremy and his team find your one hundred percent — and why
  • What expenses may be added or taken away from your spending in retirement
  • Jeremy’s main tip for incorporating taxes and healthcare into your plan
  • Why you should also be planning for the end of your retirement
  • And more!

Tune in now and learn what to consider when it comes to spending in retirement!

Resources:  Keil Financial Partners | 6 Questions Retirees Aren’t Asking But Should Be  | 3 Keys You Should Know Before Choosing a Financial Advisor  | Subscribe

The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Keil Financial Partners. Keil Financial Partners is a part of the Thrivent Advisor Network, a registered investment advisor. The Content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial advisor or other qualified financial service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning. 

Keil Financial Partners does not provide legal, accounting, or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional. Representatives have general knowledge of the Social Security tenets. For complete details on your situation, contact the Social Security Administration.


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Full Transcript


Retirement Revealed Episode 3: Having a Plan for Retirement


Are you ready to uncover your retirement solution? Learn more as Jeremy Keil and his guests guide you along the path of retirement and reveal the five steps you need to take to solve your retirement puzzle. Now onto the show!


Aric Johnson: Hello and welcome to Retirement Revealed with Jeremy Keil. Today we're going to be talking about spending money in retirement, which sounds fun, but I don't know. Jeremy, does everybody like to spend money in retirement?


Jeremy Keil: I think so. I mean you need to spend something somewhere. You can't retire and not spend money. 


Aric Johnson: Wouldn't it be nice if everything was just free once you retire? All inclusive retirement. We are definitely on to something. So, where do we start today? 


Jeremy Keil: Well, we've mentioned before our five step retirement income process, and part of our goal is to help you focus on the most important things first. One of the most important things out there is focusing on the things you can control. In general, you can control what you're spending. You can control that “need”. We use the word need for describing this first step. How much do you need and when do you need it? That “when do you need it” part is a little bit related to when you are going to retire. We're very focused on this how much do you need part because it's difficult to figure that out. If you read articles, magazines, and newspapers these days, just about everyone says you need 70-80% of your money in retirement, 70-80% percent of your income. I think that's wrong. I think you need 100%, at least you'll want 100% of what you're spending now. We'll figure out if you can do that, but you can't just rely on benchmarks or formulas that are out there.


Aric Johnson: Well, I don't get that 70-80% number at all. It's not like everything's magically paid off at one time, and it's not like you're going to be spending less time idle. You're going to find more ways to spend money, and you have the same bills you did the day before you retired. So I don’t know how someone could say that you will only need 70-80% of your income. I like your theory a lot better of 100%, but how does somebody get there?


Jeremy Keil: First, I figure out what your 100% is, and it's tough to do. A lot of people don't want to go through a budgeting process. Sometimes people do enjoy going through a budgeting process, but a lot of times they just miss out on some really key items, and it's not too good to plan on a certain dollar amount when that dollar amount is incorrect. So we like to figure out what it is that you're spending on yourselves in retirement, and then we add in some other parts of it. There is the spending part, the taxes, your health costs, and anything extra that might be out there. So those are the four categories. You start with what you're spending every month, you add up your taxes, add up your health costs, and then you take a look at anything that might be added to or taken away at some point in your retirement. 


Aric Johnson: Ok. So health costs are pretty straightforward. Do those end up going up in retirement?


Jeremy Keil: It really depends on what's going on with your health insurance costs today. You could be 60 years old, have company paid health insurance and be paying nothing, or you could be paying maybe half of the cost. Maybe you are paying $300-500 a month in your health insurance costs. You could have high deductibles. You might retire before you hit 65 and be on a completely different health plan. Or maybe you've got a retiree health plan, and then you turn 65 and you get Medicare. We think 65 is just about your favorite birthday of all time because you get on Medicare. You'll enjoy it when you get there. Your health costs are going to change over time. It's worthwhile to figure out what you are paying now and what you will be paying in those time frames before and after 65. That is the biggest demarcation line of when things might change. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, and that makes a lot of sense. I was thinking more along the lines that health issues will increase but maybe not the cost because like you said, that 65th birthday is pretty big. Now, I don't want to derail this completely, but you said there will be some extras that come and some that go away. Can you give us an idea of what you mean by that?


Jeremy Keil: Yeah. There are a couple of examples here. We meet folks all the time that say that they figured out that they need $7,000 a month in retirement. They go through it and really realize that $2,000 of that is going toward your mortgage. Your mortgage is going to end, so the day your mortgage ends, you don't need as much to put towards that in their case. Perhaps they’re spending $5,500 a month on themselves and $1,500 a month towards their mortgage. You don't need to plan for that $1,500 a month for the rest of your life. You just need a plan for how long the mortgage lasts. Another kind of bonus in a way is that your mortgage usually doesn't go up, but whatever it is that you're spending your money on, that will likely go up over time. So your mortgage is not the worst thing in the world when you hit retirement because it stays flat till it goes away. Everything else you're spending on usually goes up in cost and doesn't go away till you do. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, and it's nice to have some fixed items because there's a lot of variables. So let's go through it. You said spend was the first category.


Jeremy Keil: Yeah, that's exactly it. What are you spending every month? It's tough to figure that out. Like we said, a lot of people don't like to put together a budget. A lot of people do put together a budget, but they forget some of the other stuff. We think the first place to start is trying to figure out what it is that you spend. Let's take a look at your take home pay. Whatever is coming in right now while you are working, you are probably spending just about all of it. If you're not spending all of it, you've got a good idea of where it's going. Maybe you're taking $500 a month and putting it towards some sort of savings. You don't need to save for retirement in retirement. We've got another couple, and they are helping their kids get through college. So they had kids maybe a little bit later on in life, and they're retiring, but they're helping out to the tune of about $1,000 a month towards their kids' college. Well, that's going to be done in two years, or at least it better be done in two years, so we can back that out of their take home pay and say, well, you don't need that full amount for the next 30 years. You need less for the next 30 years. And yeah, plan for that $1,000 a month that you're helping them out with for the next 18 months, two years, or whatever it happens to be.


Aric Johnson: Yeah, I like that. And again, you're talking about those fixed items that actually have an end date. That mortgage is going to end. Anybody can look up their last payment date. Most of us know it. If your kids want to do another four years of school, that’s great, but at that point it is on them. So then your payments are going to end in 12 months when they graduate. So that's great. How do you help somebody who has a lot of variables or like you said, they've got money coming in while all the money is going out every month. They're not necessarily saving. They're doing their retirement stuff, but that's usually through their work or 401k or whatever. How do you help them track that? Do you have any tools or resources that people can get from you? 


Jeremy Keil: Yeah. You have been figuring out how your money works for the last 40 years by the time you retire. If you're not doing it now, you're not necessarily going to start doing it all of a sudden when you hit retirement. So we look at just the big picture. If your take home pay is $7,000 a month and at the end of the month you don't have any money left, you're probably spending $7,000 a month. That's the issue. A lot of times people feel like they have a plan for retirement. They meet with a financial planner. They put together a budget. They walk in all the time saying, well, I kind of figured it out. Here's my dollar amount. $4,000 a month is all I need. Okay, well how much are you making now? $7,000. So you are saving $3,000 a month? Oh, no. I got nothing left. Somehow when you're thinking about it and just putting together your budget off the top of your head, you forget a lot of stuff. So I'll start there. Here's the take home pay, and if you spend it on crazy stuff and you can still afford to live on whatever that take home pay is in retirement, go ahead. If you spent 40 years not budgeting that detail, that can be a life changer for the rest of your life there. Let’s just get an accurate picture of what that total amount is. 


Aric Johnson: Gotcha. That's smart. All right, what's the next step? 


Jeremy Keil: Well, the next step is adding in the taxes and your health costs. We find a lot of times there are some folks that have that budget. They've got it down to the penny because they've been using some different tools that are out there to track that. They walk in and say, I know exactly how much I need every month. Then I ask, did you consider taxes in there? No, I didn’t. Did you consider your health insurance cost in there? I didn't put that in there either. That's because your taxes and your health costs usually come out of your paycheck. It doesn't show up into your checking account. It doesn't change your QuickBooks or whatever budgeting software you're using. So you need to work with a good planner that has a way to plan out those taxes with you, someone that's helped others retire that knows what health options there are before you hit 65, and someone that knows what the cost might be with Medicare and supplement insurance. You can put those in based on their expertise. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, that's good. Those two things didn't even even cross my mind. Those come right out of the paycheck before anything gets to your account, and that definitely changes once you retire. Is that a pretty big shock to most of your clients when you talk to them about this?


Jeremy Keil: Well, it’s just different. You've spent your life reading these articles saying you need 70-80%, or you've figured out your budget and think you’ll need $5,000 a month to live off of. Well, what about the $2000-3000 on top of that for your taxes and your health costs? We better plan for that. It’s about knowing this stuff ahead of time. You don't want to wait till April next year to figure it out when you get your first tax bill showing up a little different than what you had expected. 


Aric Johnson: Gotcha. All right. Are there any other tips or tricks with the taxes and health care that we can talk about? 


Jeremy Keil: Yeah, that's the main one. Start with your take home pay and work with someone that's got some level of tax planning software. A good financial planner will have tax planning software that helps you figure out when those taxes are going to change over time because chances are pretty good that they're going to look differently before and after you take social security and also before and after you take something called required minimum distributions out of your 401ks and IRAs. One thing that most people miss is that your taxes will change when someone in a couple passes away. When somebody passes away later on, hopefully much later on, the other person is going to file taxes as a single individual instead of a married couple. Their whole tax situation will change, so it's worthwhile to have that planned out and to understand what that might look like for you. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, and that's scary because I have spoken with people whose primary retirement is social security. Then when one of the spouses passes on, they lose a good chunk of that social security and the taxes go up because they're now single. I hate to see that happen, but that's why it's so important to have other streams of income from other types of retirement. Nobody wants to see anybody go through that for sure. 


Jeremy Keil: Yeah, and that happens most of the time when the couple is in their mid 80s when the husband might pass away. I doubt it was intentional. The IRS doesn’t say hey, let's tax those widows more, but that's just the way it works out a lot of times. If you're going through your planning in your early 60s, you ought to understand how your decisions might impact that widow especially 20 or 30 years later. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, that's tough. All right. So what is the next topic? 


Jeremy Keil: The last part of it is figuring out what's extra. We mentioned a few things that might go away. Perhaps you have a mortgage that ends a couple of years into retirement. You only have to plan for that outlay for a couple of years. Perhaps you're still helping out the kids somehow, or maybe there's a wedding coming up and you set aside some money for the kids at the beginning of your retirement. You don't need to do that every single year in retirement. Sometimes you add some extra stuff. Maybe you have this dream to buy a second house. Out here in Wisconsin, everyone wants a cabin up north. That’s something that you can do, but then you need to plan for that extra expense. Oftentimes it's the vacations. You spend all of this time putting together a bucket list if you want to call it that and you talk about all of the different places you want to go. Chances are you might spend a little bit more traveling overseas when you're 65 compared to when you were working. At the same time, you probably won't be doing that as much as you get into your 80s and later. Maybe you don't go out to eat as much when there is one of you later down the road compared to when there was two of you. It’s not a bad idea to plan for that and understand that there is gonna be some expenses that might be higher in the first few years that might go down or perhaps even go away later on in retirement.


Aric Johnson: Yeah, that's great. I know that you and I have talked off air before about making sure that you're utilizing your money in good order. My wife and I just got back from Mexico, and that's the first vacation we've taken in about two years. We saved up for a little bit and really had an amazing time. We love to travel. We're basically the same age, so I know when we do retire that one of the first things that we're going to want to do is travel because, number one, we have the time. Number two, we won't have all the responsibilities of kids, grandkids, and everything that we're busy with right now. So that's something we're going to have to alot for and plan for. Like you said, for those first five years, we're going to want to travel while we still have the legs underneath us and the energy to do so. I'm not opposed to naps. Trust me, I will take a nap anywhere in the world. However, I think that those first five years are going to be much more expensive for us compared to when we're 80 and just really enjoying our home and having people come to visit. So that's great. How do you have that discussion? How do you find that out from your clients? I know that you take them through a process of figuring out who they are, what they like, and what their desires are. Does that all flush this kind of information out as far as whether they are going to buy an RV, a yacht, or a second home? How do you do that? 


Jeremy Keil: It all fits into it. We started earlier talking about how the journal articles will tell you that you need less in retirement. Now we're talking and you are figuring out that you might need even more. The day you retire, especially in those first couple of years, you're taking care of all the renovations at home and all the travel you've saved up for, and that's part of it. Get an idea of what you normally do for your travel and the different costs that might be out there with home renovations and things along those lines. Let's talk through when things might start coming up. We've got a great tool called Return on Life, and it helps us put together what's called a “lifeline”. It goes through and says well, you've got kids. Are they married yet? Have you made a commitment to put money aside for their wedding? What are your travel plans going to look like? Are you planning on a big 40th anniversary wedding trip? It helps us plan for the things that might be coming up. 


Aric Johnson: That's great. Do you do that with every client? 


Jeremy Keil: We certainly try to. We are close to 100%, but that's the intent. Part of the process is figuring out that lifeline of when these big life transitions are going to happen.


Aric Johnson: And how receptive are your clients to having that honest discussion about their retirement? In the beginning years, you're going to probably want to go out a little bit more because that's when you're still able bodied, not that an 80 year old isn't. My dad just turned 80 this last month, and he's still going strong, but I don't think the desire for him is there anymore so much to travel and to go someplace else. He doesn't like to be in a car that long, and he doesn't want to be on a plane stuck with a bunch of people. Maybe he’s just grumpy. I don't know. It's different for everybody, right? How are people receiving these conversations, and are they able to kind of conceptualize what things will look like in 20 years if they're talking to you at age 45?


Jeremy Keil: Yeah, well when taking a look 20 years ahead they’ve seen what their parents are doing and how that might be what they are doing 20-25 years from now. So they have a good concept of what their activity and interest level might be. It's a lot of fun to plan out some of the things that you'll be doing, especially at the beginning, and it feels better to know that you've got a plan for it, that you've got some money set aside so that you can afford to do some of these things. A lot of people are looking and saying, hey, how am I going to do this year in and year out? You're not. That wasn't your plan. You might spend extra for a few years, so just plug in that extra for a few years and understand that you'll have enough later on. We like to say spend enough so that you have fun when you're young, but have enough later on when you need it. It’s about finding the balance between the two. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, absolutely.


Jeremy Keil: Another thing Aric that we want to take a look at is your longevity. It's fun to think about how much money you might need when you retire. It's fun to think about when your retirement will start if you retire early. But a lot of times something you don't want to discuss is when you think retirement is going to end, but you've got to plan for that. The unfortunate thing is a lot of people underestimate how long that longevity might be. I don't quite know why it is, but we see studies all the time where folks are asked how long they think they will live. If you average out men and women, on average they say their life expectancy is about 85, and that's the average life expectancy of a 65 year old. If you made it to 65 and you're retiring, you've already beat some of the odds, so a lot of times people think they're passing on closer to 80 because they see that in the news. That’s talking about people on average that are being born today. When you start talking about somebody that's already made it through quite a bit at the age of 65, they have a better chance of making it to 85, and that's the average. So a lot of people are thinking I might retire at 65 and pass on at 80. I only have 15 years. I got a plan for my retirement. But that's not the averages. The averages say that if you made it there, you’re probably going to make it to 85. And what's interesting is if you're a couple, it's harder for two people to go than one, so oftentimes one person in a couple is going to make it into their 90s. So we've got to figure out what your longevity is and what it might look like, and we’ve got a few tools that help us figure that out. We can figure out that plan with you. And again, it is this big balance of how do you spend enough when you're young when it's fun to spend the money compared to having enough later on so you feel like you have enough. It's just a big balance between the two, but unless you have all of the info and unless you have a good idea of what your longevity might be, you might make some poor choices. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah. This is kind of scary. The kicker is that there is always going to be medical advances. The technology is always advancing. The average lifespan is always getting a little longer because of that. I'm 45. If I make it to 85, that's 40 more years. That’ll be 2059. But let's think of it in reverse. 40 years ago was 1979. How have medical advancements changed from 1979 to today? We have seen huge differences in what the technology has brought us and the different operations that are possible. Back then, they still used leeches. Well, maybe not quite, but you know what I mean. 


Jeremy Keil: Well a lot of people's thoughts are based on what they’ve seen their parents go through, and if your parents are 30 years older than you, you've got 30 years of medical advances on top of whatever they had. You can think back 30-40 years ago about just the different lifestyles that were out there. We hear people all the time say well, my dad died at age 70. That’s when I am going to pass on. Well, was your dad a smoker? Oh, yeah, He was a smoker. Are you? No. Did your dad eat red meat and have the three martini lunch every day? Oh, yeah. What about you? Oh, no. Ok, so your lifestyle is better health wise, and you got 30 years of medical advances. You're not locked in as far as when you might pass away. I haven't seen your death certificate yet, so we need to be realistic, and in general, the reality is that people live longer than they expect. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah. My dad smoked, and he had to have a glass of some sort of drink about every evening, so I'm gonna live to 140 apparently because this guy is still ticking at 80. I’ve got to do some planning. So what else do we need to cover today? 


Jeremy Keil: We really just want people to focus on controlling the things they can control. A lot of people approach retirement thinking well what about this stock? What about the inflation rates? I still haven't met anyone that controls inflation or the stock market, but we start with your spending because that is the biggest thing you can control. You can control where you live. You can control where you vacation and what restaurants you go to. You can control how much you spend. So the first step is figuring out what it looks like now. What does your actual spending look like right now? The next step is to see if that's sustainable in retirement. If you can keep on spending that amount in retirement, you'll love it. Who wouldn't want to have the same amount of money as they do today, but without having to go to their job to get that? That would be a great thing, but if you can’t get there, then it's far better to figure it out ahead of time before you retire, and then we can walk through together to find out what needs to change if anything does need to change. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. That's the nice thing is that it gives people hope. I think that as long as I can see and know what I'm going to need and what I'm going to want to do, and also if those things don't fit together, as long as I am able to figure out what I need to change to make that happen or what I need to pull back on to make sure that I'm safe, then longevity doesn't become an issue and so on and so forth.


Jeremy Keil: Yeah. You'll feel better about it when you have a plan.


Aric Johnson: Yeah. And I've said this a million times, but if I could pay a certain amount of money to get a good eight or nine hour night’s sleep right now, I would pay it. That's kind of what you're doing. You're taking the time to make that plan and get a little more disciplined so that you know that your retirement's going to be secure. What a huge peace of mind. That's fantastic. Worth every penny.


Jeremy Keil: Absolutely, and another thing you can control beyond your spending is when you retire. A lot of people feel like they have to retire at a certain age. They say well, my parents retired in the 60s. That's when I'm going to retire, at the age of 65 or 67, whatever that number is. That’s when I have to retire. No, you don't. You get to retire when you want to retire and when you've learned that you have enough money to retire. I’ve got a client I am thinking of right now. When we first met him he planned on retiring at 65, and we asked him if he could retire before then whether or not he would want to. He said absolutely, I'd love to retire today. A lot of the time you hear that beyond 65, the second best choice is today. Well, we went through the planning with him and told him that he can retire today if he wanted to. Based on what you are spending and all of the steps here, he could retire that day if he wanted to, and that's what he did. They thought they had to keep working till 65 because they had to get to that age for Medicare, but they had a retirement health plan. They didn't have to wait till 65. Everyone's got different circumstances, but you have to look through what your options are, and sometimes retiring early is possible. 


Aric Johnson: Well, I think a lot of people just don't understand what to look for, and that's why you're so crucial because you're bringing up a retirement health plan. What does that mean? Does that come from his work? 


Jeremy Keil: Yeah. For him at his work he met the rule that he could retire at a certain age while they would help him out with his health insurance through age 65. So he didn't have to wait for a certain age. Other times you find triggers that aren’t necessarily your age. If you think that you will get to retire at age 65 or age 67 or whatever that number might be for you, maybe it's not your age that is the trigger. Maybe it's something else. I'm thinking of a client right now, and they were saying that they wanted to retire at 65, but they had this mortgage that was costing a good amount of money every month. We ran the numbers and said it’s not your age, it’s your mortgage. Whether you are able to get your mortgage paid off by 63 or 67, that's your big trigger. Instead of focusing on that age, let's focus on something else that might trigger your retirement date. For them, it was getting their house paid off. 


Aric Johnson: So you can kind of make a plan and be able to say well, you're spending this here, this here, this here, and this here. What if you were to take some of these, scale back a little bit, and put an extra payment or two in the next six months to a year on the house so you can pay it off sooner? There's your trigger event that you are talking about. 


Jeremy Keil: Yeah, and they're charged up. They're excited about it there because they're motivated to get that house paid off. They're doing the things they need to do to get there, and they'll get there before they had expected it because they've got a plan that's based on paying down their mortgage instead of this arbitrary age that we talked about that the government maybe came up with or that they've just heard was the magical retirement age. No, for them, it's something different. 


Aric Johnson: Fantastic. All right. Anything else we need to cover today? 


Jeremy Keil: I think that's about it. We've got it all put together there. I’ll tell you one thing, I've heard this a few times and it is that the act of retiring is a lot of work. It's not easy. At least if you do it right, there's a lot of things to go through, and unfortunately, we see people all the time looking at things that they can't control. Our encouragement is, go ahead and control the things you can control. Start planning out ahead of time what your retirement might look like as far as income, what your retirement ages might be, and when you might retire. Certainly put together some different options so that you have an idea of what your income will be if you retire early vs. what your income will be if you retire late. Maybe there's a different trigger out there. Maybe it's paying down your mortgage. Maybe you’re paying off that student loan debt. A lot of times people have student loans from going back to school or for their kids, whatever it might be. Go ahead and plan for that kind of stuff, and you're going to be a lot more confident going into your retirement with a much better picture of what that ideal retirement looks like for you and your spouse. 


Aric Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. I know we didn't cover it today. I'm hoping that you will talk about it on a future podcast, which I know you will because you're brilliant and you've got these strategies in your back pocket, but a lot of people think about when they will start taking social security because they know that the longer they wait to take it, the more money they are going to get from social security. But a lot of people don't know that you can put off taking social security for a couple of years from my understanding, so I'd love to talk about that on a future podcast with you.


Jeremy Keil: Yeah. That's scheduled for our next one where we will talk about how much money you might be making in retirement when you hit retirement. You stop working? That doesn’t mean you stop making money. You're still making money from social security and pensions. You get to make that choice and it’s something that you can control. You can decide when you take those social securities and when you take those pensions. That's the next thing to take a look at. 


Aric Johnson: All right. I'm looking forward to it. That'll be a fun podcast. Thank you so much Jeremy, and thank you all for listening to the Retirement Revealed podcast with Jeremy Keil. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please click the “Subscribe Now” button below. This way, when Jeremy comes out with a new podcast, it'll show up directly on your listening device. This makes it much easier to share these podcasts with your friends and family. Again, thanks for listening today. For everyone at Keil Financial Partners, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every day, and we'll see you next time.


Thank you for listening to the Retirement Revealed Podcast. Click on the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. Visit Retirement-Revealed.com to learn more. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Keil Financial Partners. Keil Financial Partners does not provide legal, accounting, or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional. Representatives have general knowledge of the Social Security tenets. For complete details on your situation, contact the Social Security Administration. Keil Financial Partners is a part of the Thrivent Advisor Network, a registered investment advisor. The Content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial advisor or other qualified financial service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning.