Mark Singer is from the great state of Massachusetts in the Boston area. He has helped individuals and families for […]

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Mark Singer is from the great state of Massachusetts in the Boston area. He has helped individuals and families for over 32 years as President of Safe Harbor Retirement Planning. He focuses on helping people create longevity, with their investments, and also being able to retire. 

Mark Singer was hired as a Financial Planner in his 20s, not because he had any money, but because he needed to know, in essence, what he didn’t know. As he looks back, that was without a doubt the best investment he ever made for himself. He then ended up working with his Planner and they have their own shop for quite some time now. He enjoys working with those who are looking at retirement and helping those people understand what they need to know. 

Mark singer is also an author. One of the books he had written is Don’t Outlive Your Money In Retirement.

 

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Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life With Mark Singer

 

Brett:

I’m excited about our next guest. He’s out of the great state of Massachusetts in the Boston area. And he has helped individuals and families for over 30 years as President of Safe Harbor Retirement Planning. He focuses on helping people create longevity, with their investments, and also being able to retire. Well, please welcome to the show with, Mark Singer. Hey, Mark, how are you doing? 

Mark:

Brett? How are ya? 

Brett:

Hey, I’m better than I deserve. Nice to meet you for the first time, just a few minutes ago. For our listeners getting to know you for the first time, would you give us a little bit more about your story and your current focus?

Mark:

Sure, as you said, I’ve been doing this for 32 years, I don’t know how the time flew so fast. I actually when I was in my 20s, I actually hired a financial planner, not because I had any money. But because I needed to know, in essence, what I didn’t know. If I could just inform myself in terms of what track I should be on what questions I needed to ask. And as I look back, that was without a doubt the best investment in myself I ever made. I ended up working with my planner for a number of years. For quite some time now, we have our own shop. And we really enjoy working with those who are looking at retirement they call it the Retirement RedZone, five years before or five years after. And helping those people understand again, what they need to know. I really do believe our industry has done so many people wrong in terms of getting the wrong information out. So we hope to try to get them back on track and think about it properly.

Brett:

Excellent. Yeah. So important, especially in today’s kind of say uncertain times, in a lot of ways. In some ways. They are things are looking good. We’ll dive into some of those things here in a minute. But before we go there, Mark I believe we’ve all been given certain gifts in this life. And I believe these gifts have been given to us to be of help and blessing to others. Some people call them superpowers, some people call them strengths. But I want you to go back maybe to your high school days, university days, and I want you to maybe picture or articulate one or two things that you believe you were given and how does that help how you help and bless people today?

Mark:

I think that number one, there’s a commitment. And it’ll all be wrapped in one commitment, dedication, and passion to whatever it is that I do. I own the space that I’m in and as a result, feel very comfortable in my own skin. And I think the second superpower if you will, is the ability to then take what I believe and be able to educate others. I have a daughter who now has a daughter. And you know, what I do here is just an extension of what I did for my daughter when I was coaching, soccer, basketball, or tennis and what I’m doing with my granddaughter now in terms of coaching her on whatever she’s doing Mai Tai, or dance or math or whatever. But I think my superpower really is to be able to hear what others are thinking about not putting myself first and therefore being able to give them the information education so they can make their own intelligent choices. And that has really served me well in establishing the great relationships we have with our clients.

Brett:

Beautiful. Love it. So commitment, dedication, and passion for what you do. And then taking the information and making it tangible by taking like the kind of a coach’s role in educating others. Is that a fair summary, Mark?

Mark:

Yes, it is.

Brett:

Excellent. By the way. You can learn more about Mark at retirenowquiz.com. I think it’s like a two-minute quiz and you can get your number about retirement. Is that a fair summary of that?

 

Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life With Mark SingerMark:

Yes. So you know, we’ve all been living through the pandemic and it’s impacted us in all sorts of different ways. As I looked at the pandemic, it was really a glimpse into what retirement could be. Didn’t have a place to go to work. Nothing to do stuck at home with our spouses. For some that were good and some not so good. But it really was a glimpse into a new perspective about retirement. And it may have changed the way people thought about retirement. And as a result, I wrote the fourth book, which is Don’t Outlive Your Money In Retirement. And as a result of that book, we created this quiz, the two-minute quiz to help you to find out how well prepared you are for the transition into the next chapter. And if you take the 16 questions two-minute quiz, we will score it for you tell you which one of the three stages of retirement preparedness you are in, which will give you a little bit more clarity. And also, I mean, I believe in offering value, if you finish the quiz, will give you the score. I’ll also give you a free chapter of my book and a couple of worksheets as well, which should get you started to a better understanding as to where you are, as you enter retirement.

 

Brett:

Beautiful. That’s retirenowquiz.com. So now let’s jump into the first secret perhaps, or the first adjustment you’re helping your clients and make right now given, and let’s speak, maybe for the higher net worth established clientele. And what’s the one adjustment that you’re focusing like a laser on to help them retire even more soundly?

Mark:

Well, the statement I have made to my clients over the past year has been you have to divorce the headlines from your money management. Interestingly last year, last March, when the market went down as quickly as it did fastest in history, we had almost a trillion dollars move out of the market. And that wasn’t just market-based. Some of that was the uncertainty about the election that the end of last year and where it was going to go. But a trillion dollars came out of the market. And then three or four weeks after the market realize we weren’t headed into a depression, it was just going to be a recession, the market rebounded very strongly, again, the quickest rebound in the history of the market, yet those who had gotten out did not participate on the way back in. So we try to be as proactive as we can with our ongoing communications with our clients to make sure that we’re not only answering the questions that they’re asking but trying to preempt some of the questions that haven’t even been asked yet. So we’re constantly trying to look out 3, 6, 9, 12 months in terms of the market and the economy, to try to give them a sense of what some of the experts are thinking obviously, they’re not always right. But the most important thing we could do with them was to basically keep them on the right track, and made a couple of minor adjustments. Because as the market did go down to present some opportunities and some of them we benefited from, but we really just need to keep the headset, the behavior of our clients online, not so much the money management.

Brett:

Very well said, divorce the headlines from your money management and just practice the fundamentals of the behavior. Is that a fair summary of good financial planning and investing, Mark?

Mark:

No doubt about it. And you know, I mentioned right off at the beginning that I think our industry does it wrong, there’s been too much emphasis on how much the portfolio is getting or losing. And if your confidence level as you enter into or through retirement is going to be based on the ups and downs of the market, you may never find yourself at a place where you’re really confident about what you’re doing. And you may continue to have a mystery as to whether or not you think you’re going to run out of money. And the what is not so sexy, is what drives a successful retirement, which is the planning and planning can be boring, XYZ stock went up 13% today, wow, that’s a headline that’s sexy, and so put together a plan and is now confident that they can retire and pursue their goals is not quite as sexy. But it actually has much more power than just totally relying upon what your money did today, tomorrow, or next week.

Brett:

Yeah, very well said, Mark. I like the term sexy there. And five kids and a couple of businesses and sometimes we’re tired and just you know, slowing down life. It sounds pretty good. But yes, that’s certainly kind of the initial kind of that some of the industry has probably hasn’t done so well. So okay, so we you want to stick to the fundamentals, you want to not let not divorce, you don’t want to do on divorce to headlines from the money management. So what, what’s the next step, or next maybe secret or wisdom that you’re sharing right now, that’s most on your mind?

Mark:

Well, when it comes to retirement planning, again, I think the industry is not good done a good job of this, we seem to be leading with money management, and they’re really are, but as you know two phases of financial planning one during your working years we call it the accumulation stage, that’s where you really want to accumulate as much money so that you have the nest egg to generate the income that you’re going to need in retirement. But once you start looking at or moving into retirement, you move into the next stage, which is what we call the distribution stage. And I’ll tell you why it’s important to understand the difference in the accumulation stage, it’s okay to take on more risk than maybe you would normally because you have time on your side. And you know, history tells us the market does pretty well over time, certainly no guarantees, but they do it does well over time. And during your working years, particularly if you were with an advisor or you’re a do it yourself, or you’ve tended to gauge whether or not your portfolio was a success or failure last year, as it was compared to the benchmarks, the Dow, the S&P, the IEF, or whatever. But as you move into the distribution stage, as you go into retirement, what you really need to do now is develop your own benchmark, and we call it the personalized investment benchmark. And what that is, which is different than what you had done before, and you need to embrace this as you go into and through retirement. What amount of risk do you need to take in order to generate the income you are going to need in retirement? How do I take the least amount of risk necessary to get what I need to pursue my goals? Now, during your accumulation stage, you may hope for 4 to 8, 10, 12, 14% returns. But if any of your clients or mine, once you do the personalized investment benchmark, you may find that your return or your benchmark need may only be 3, 5, 6 percent, therefore you can adjust the risk that you’re taking, because one of the other things that people don’t understand the difference between the accumulation stage and the distribution stage. In the distribution stage, when the money when the portfolio goes down and you are taking income, it’s a double whammy, you don’t face that situation in the accumulation stage. So you have to be very careful and methodical about how much risk you’re going to take. And it’s all driven by how much cash flow need, you have. Which again begs that very unsexy topic, Planning.

Brett:

Very, very well said, What amount of risk do you need to take to get the return you need? So we’re focusing on measuring risk is kind of the way, we’re always measuring risk, but especially in retirement, is that a fair summary Mark?

Mark:

Because the number one fear retirees have is running out of money, right. So I mean, there was a recent study done that shows that those who had $500,000 felt that they needed a million in order to actually feel more comfortable that they wouldn’t run out of money. And for those who had a million, they were asked the same question, “How much money do you think you need so that you wouldn’t run out of money?” Their answer was, “2.4 million”. And those who had $2 million, were asked the same question. They felt that they needed $5 million. So it seems that we’re never really comfortable or sure or confident about where we are as it relates to whether or not we’re going to be able to have a successful retirement. So again, if you can back into how much risk you really do need to take, you can get more of a sense of comfort that you either do or do not have the asset base to generate the income that you need.

Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life With Mark Singer

Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life: “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own a home, buy another one. If you own two homes, buy a third.” -John Paulson

 

Brett:

Would you say, clarity helps to promote certainty? Is that a good term, Mark?

Mark:

Clarity helps to promote confidence. I wouldn’t say certainty, because the only thing that I can guarantee my clients is change. Things will change and that’s why we have to stay on top of the planning, but once you have clarity, you will be confident whether or not on the right track. If you’re on the right track, keep doing what you’re doing. And if you’re not, we need to make some adjustments, but at least it gives you that clarity to understand where you are relative to what your goals are.

Brett:

Excellent. Love it. So now let’s shift a little bit, let’s focus on capital gains tax as part of what we talked about here at Capital Gains Tax Solutions, and with our company. So what’s the biggest frustration, Mark, you found when it comes to capital gains tax deferral options, as it pertains to your high net worth clients that are maybe selling a primary home investment, real estate business? What been the biggest frustration you’ve seen?

Mark:

You know, I think that we really have to address Why are they going about to sell it, whether it’s a business, piece of real estate, or real estate empire. If you will define that as you like, there are some times people have just gotten to a point where they said, “enough, no moss, I don’t want to do this anymore”. Because the reality is, for most successful real estate folks or business folks, you’re probably going to generate more income by holding on to what you have, than by selling it. But then there’s the psychological and the behavioral, and what you want to do with the rest of your life, you may not want to be in the real estate business anymore, getting those phone calls at three o’clock in the morning. So there are trade-offs to that. And I think that the frustration is that sometimes people let their emotions drive their decision-making. Actually, I should rephrase that almost every time emotions drive decision making at but it’s the planning and the numbers side that will help truly inform that individual business owner or whatever, as to what the right direction would be.

Brett:

Yeah, 100%. I think, being able to transition as well, right from that active management or ownership of that property. We just helped a client and they, they have about a $25 million net worth, and they’re selling about five $5 million apartment complex, and they were like, Hey, I don’t want to 1031 and just trade these 50 units for 100 units. I have 50 problems now, I don’t need 100 problems, I have enough wealth and have plenty to retire on. I’d like to just be more passive and have less debt, and less liability, less toilets, less trash. So they use our service called the Deferred Sales Trust for the first time, and they’re really happy about that. You can learn more about that at capitalgainstaxsolutions.com for those who are listening. So the next question, Mark, is this. You know, now that you’ve been in the business for 30 years, and you’ve seen these market cycles come and go, how do you compare potentially what could be on the horizon versus maybe some of the other bear markets?

Mark:

So, I’ve done a lot of communications with my clients with regards to not just where we are, but the lessons learned as we went through 2007, 2008. As we went through the tech bubble burst 2000, 2001, 2002, where we had three consecutive down years, and it is so much more. So, there are really two things we focus on, first of all, put together a bellwether, well-balanced portfolio that is geared for the next three to five years, not the next three to five weeks. So you can keep the proper perspective from the big picture. Make sure that you can make some of the minor adjustments necessary. But more importantly, again, we’re driven by our emotions, we’re driven by the headlines whether you watch CNN or Fox, it doesn’t matter. Things seem to be really volatile. So if you’ve done the planning, and you’ve gained the confidence to know that you can pursue what you need to do in your household and your family, then again, you can divorce those headlines from having to make emotional decisions, panic-driven decisions that so many people made. It happened back in 1999. It happened in 2007. It happened last year. So you cannot allow for when markets go cratering down to do that knee-jerk reaction and sell let’s get out of here. You need to have a bigger picture perspective because you’re not invested for next week or next month or next year. You’re invested for the next many years of retirement or whatever the next chapter of life is for you. And therefore keep proper perspective overall.

Brett:

Very well said we’re talking with Mark singer and talking about creating the income you need for the rest of your life. You can learn more about Mark Singer at retirenowquiz.com, take the quiz and find out a little bit more about kids a little, a little more clarity on your retirement so that you can have some confidence in your plan. And I like that idea, Mark, of the three to five years, which is three to five weeks, right? It’s doing the work to plan and to map out and has that vision. I’ve heard vision put this way, Mark. You can either live in ordinary goals or clarity on your goals, you can either live in what’s called Apprehension. Or you can live in what’s called Anticipation. And it’s our choice, it’s our choice to do the work, to do the planning to lay out the goals, and to clarify the why behind those in the plan to get there. And if we do that, it’s like these goals and these visions, they pull us towards them, right. But if we don’t do the work, and we don’t do the planning, and we’re living in a lack of clarity, we start to live in a state of apprehension. Any thoughts on that, Mark?

Mark:

I’ll give you a perfect story. So I call it many years ago, a client called me up I now call it the kitchen cabinet call. So, she called me up and she said, Can I do the kitchen cabinets? And if you know me, I’m not one to do your kitchen cabinets. But what she was really asking was, if I were to spend the money on the kitchen cabinets today, will I have enough money to do what I need to do tomorrow, and you can substitute. If I go on that trip to Disney, if I take that worldwide trip, if I buy the second house, if I buy the boat, whatever it is fill in the blank for yourself. Because the big mystery is, and what holds us back and keeps us in apprehension, if you will, is the fear that we may run out of money. And that manifests itself when we go about to enjoy the journey that we’re on. But we have to spend money to do it or have to buy or go or do something. And in the back of our head is this nagging question? How will it impact me? Even some of my wealthiest clients who spend money, who will never outlive their money or their income still have that little nagging little person on their left shoulder that says, “Can you really do that?” The planning once you quantify what it is that you’re going to do will give you those answers, relieve you of that mystery, and allow you instead of being apprehensive to look forward and to truly embrace what it is you’re going to do

Brett:

Absolutely love it. That’s why you want to get with someone like Mark Singer and do the planning. Not just a financial advisor, but also financial planners. Is that a fair summary, Mark?

Mark:

Absolutely.

Brett:

So, let’s say someone sits down with you right now. They’re doing planning and so what’s the one thing that most people are missing right now? And I don’t know what stage of planning it’s in? Or they’ve done some planning or what is it? But what’s the one thing you’re finding yourself going back towards for this the plain the practical planning aspect or even the one behavior you could say, hey, just start doing this today? What would it be, Mark? 

Mark:

Well, I think we obviously have to be more thoughtful and engaged in the whole process and start asking some of the questions that are difficult questions, we may or may not want to see the answers to what cash flow do we need? How’s it coming in? But they’re really, I think the success that we have had with our clients is that we ask questions that most other advisors don’t and one of the emphases that we have with our clients. And if we meet for an hour, in a meeting now virtually more than every three minutes of that may be on money management, the rest is on life. And in accord with the number one financial fear, which is running out of money. For those particularly my clients who probably have enough money, they won’t run out of the real question for them. And what we really address with them is how to make this transition and still have a fulfilling retirement. Because the other fear is and it’s addressed in a number of different ways to us is so now that I’m retired, what do I do the rest of my life? And I have so many stories about folks who did go to retire and didn’t have anything to do and they had a miserable first half or part of retirement. And then I got stories of folks who we did the planning for found out the numbers work, they could plan and they could go retire and they found out. They have found more happiness as a result of staying employed than being retired. So we really have to find that happy balance between the financial need that you have of not running out of money, and the emotional desire you have of having a fulfilled lifetime for the rest of your life, not you know, defining what it is you want to do. And once we marry those two things up, we then create the goals that you’re looking to pursue, and then we can put a plan in place.

Brett:

Wow, beautiful, Mark. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard someone put it so well, thank you so much for sharing that. That being said, we’re running out of time. Are you ready for the lightning round?

Mark:

I am. 

Brett:

Alright, so knowing what you know, now, Mark, if you go back to your 25-year-old self, what’s the one Golden Nugget you would make sure to tell yourself to do?

Mark:

Have confidence. I think you know, a lot of us don’t have that self-esteem. And you know, we kind of grow into our shoes, if you will. But I was a good person then and I’m a good person now. The only difference is I have more confidence.

Brett:

Beautiful, love it. Second question, what’s the one book you’ve recommended or gifted the most in the past year?

 

Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life With Mark SingerMark:

A good friend of mine, also a Financial Planner, and has written a couple of marvelous books. The book is Bloodlines. It’s by Neville Frankel. It’s a wonderful story about the breakup of Apartheid back in the 40s, 50s. I thought it was autobiographical because he is from South Africa. I give this book to all my friends who are voracious readers, and they tell me it is the best book they ever read.

 

 

Brett:

Wow, love it, Bloodlines. I’m gonna check it out. Next question, favorite leadership quote or theme that you strive to live by?

Mark:

I just have to think you have to be true to yourself. You can’t try to be somebody else’s voice. You have to sort of, again, your 25-year-old self hasn’t figured out what your voices. If you can be true to yourself, then you can be true to others.

Brett:

Excellent. Next question. What are you curious about right now?

Mark:

I’m always curious about the next day that I talked to my granddaughter to find out how she enlightens me. It’s just, I have no more joy in life than this bond I have with my granddaughter who said to me the other day, “Papa, I just love doing math with you”. So it was like what can be better than that? Right?

Brett:

That’s beautiful. Yes. I don’t have the grandkids yet. But I do have five kids and a five-year-old who’s asked me a lot of those questions these days. So excellent. The last question is this, after all of your success, Mark, and after all the folks that you’ve helped build wealth and gain clarity and confidence in their financial future, how do you stay centered and your values? And how do you stay encouraged to charge forward to reach new goals? 

Mark:

You know, I think it’s gotten easier as I have gotten more confidence throughout my 32 years knowing that we help so many people not just achieve the financial freedom they’re looking for but really achieve a sense of that confidence and clarity as they go on through this next chapter. And I have so many stories of how it’s impacted their lives again, not so much financially. And is this as it is just the manner in which they pursue their own lives and I love just hearing all their stories and learning from them.

Brett:

That is amazing, Mark. I want to thank you for being on the show. For our listeners who want to get in touch with you,  remind them one last time where they can find you?

Mark:

It is retirenowquiz.com, a two-minute quiz. We will score you how prepared you are for retirement, get you a free chapter of the book and a couple of worksheets, you’ll be on your way.

Brett:

Thanks, Mark for being on the show. And I want to encourage you to keep using the gifts and talents you’ve been given the commitment to dedication and passion for your craft and what you do with financial planning as well as helping and educating others to take action do the same. That being said, also want to thank our listeners for listening to another episode of Capital Gains Tax Solutions Podcast as always, we believe the highest net worth individuals and those who help them they struggle with clarifying their capital gains tax deferral options, not having a clear plan is the enemy and using a proven tax deferral strategy and or hiring Mark Singer to help actually map out your financial plan is the best way for you to grow your wealth. And if you want to learn more about the deferred sales trust you go to capitalgainstaxsolutions.com. We believe that’s one of the best ways to exit highly appreciated cryptocurrencies, stock, public or private primary homes, investment real estate. You can go to capitalgainstaxsolutions.com. Please rate, review, subscribe, and share this with somebody who can be inspired today. Thank you so much.

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About Mark Singer

 

Creating The Income You Need For The Rest Of Your Life With Mark SingerMark is working with individuals just like you and their families for over 30 years. As president of Safe Harbor Retirement Planning, I’ve served as a relentless retirement guide to thousands of individuals since 1986. And he believes the secret to my longevity has been asking the questions other advisors simply don’t ask; it’s what allows him to make the best decisions for each client’s unique situation and help to assure them that their dreams are in capable hands.

He’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, ABC news.com, FOXNews.com, and Bloomberg radio, as well as locally (Boston) on NECN and WRKO. I’m also a multiyear recipient of Boston Magazine’s 5 Star Wealth Manager award*.

 

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