Podcast Episode - Ask Suze & KT Anything: Own The Power To Control Your Destiny

Estate Planning, Home Buying

September 21, 2023

Listen to Podcast Episode:

On this edition of Ask KT & Suze Anything, Suze answers questions about generic beneficiaries, added condo maintenance fees, ‘golden handcuffs’ and more.

Podcast Transcript:


Suze: September 21st, 2023. We're back. Hi, KT.


KT: Hi Suze. Yeah, we're back. I missed everybody. I miss doing our podcast


Suze: But we had a couple the best time ever. What was your favorite part, KT?


KT: Eating.  That was my favorite part.


Suze: Ask me my favorite.


KT: What was your favorite part?


Suze: Watching you eat.


KT: Oh, my goodness.


KT: I ate everything, everybody. Oh, it was so good.


Suze: But anyway, we are back and everybody. Welcome to the Women and Money podcast as well as everybody smart enough to listen. This is the Ask KT and Suze anything addition. And this is where you write in a question to ask Suze Suze podcast at gmail dot com.


Suze: And if KT chooses it, we will answer it on this podcast. So, KT, let's get right to it, girl friend.


KT: Are you jet lagged Suze?


Suze: No, I'm not, KT.


KT: All right, here we go. So my first question is, are generic beneficiaries Ok.


KT: Thank you so much, Suze. For all the wonderful information you share. After listening to one of your podcast episodes on beneficiaries, I checked the beneficiary on my Roth IRA and I noticed something interesting. The primary beneficiary was set to spouse and specified anyone I'm married to at the time of my death. Is it ok


KT: to leave this as it is? Or should I update it to my husband's name? Is this beneficiary designation possible in other investment accounts? Where only an option with Vanguard? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.


Suze: What's interesting is that new laws are now valid in many, many states where if you have an ex spouse,


Suze: they're no longer the valid beneficiary of a retirement account. If for whatever reason you forgot to change,


KT: Because most people forget...


Suze: Which is why this person is asking about it. So whoever it is or the new spouse. Ok. So old spouses can't get the money. However, I would still change the name


KT: better to put a name in


Suze: and I just, I just would, there's no reason why she shouldn't. All right, next


Suze: question.


KT: Ok. This is from Jennifer. Hi Suze. I'm in my early fifties and my husband is in his late fifties. We have paid off all debt including, our mortgage, cars and credit cards. We each have term life insurance for half a million dollars. We are not sure we can afford both life and long term health insurance without any debt. Would you ever recommend ending our monthly life insurance fund


KT: to long term health insurance instead.


Suze: So Jennifer, here's the thing depending on how long ago you got the $500,000 of term insurance. I don't think it's very expensive for you to have it


Suze: long term care insurance, even in your early fifties and late fifties can start to be a whole lot more money than term insurance at your age. So the real question is - even if you didn't have the term insurance, could you afford


Suze: the long term care insurance? Not only right now, but all the way until you're at least 84 years of age because that is the average age of entry for most people into a nursing home.


Suze: And what you don't want to do is get a long term care insurance policy. Be able to pay for it right now. Five years from now they raise premiums. What chances are, they probably will as you then retire, you don't quite have as much money and now you can't afford it anymore and then you drop it.


Suze: That's not what you want to do. So what I would do, Jennifer, if I were you, I would send an email to Phyllis Shelton at Phyllis. That's Phyllis Phyllis at got LTC I dot com that stands for long term care insurance. So Phyllis at Got Gotltc I dot com


Suze: and Phyllis is my go to expert on long term care insurance. Again, I do not make a penny if you use her. This is just simply me being kind to refer everybody to her.


KT: She's, she's great. I have it. I have mine with her


Suze: ... and everything and so contact her, see what it would cost you, see if,


Suze: in fact you can afford it. And at this point, if you would be fine without the term insurance in case one of you died and you would be fine financially for the rest of your life, no matter what, if you canceled it and then died three days later, you know what to do. But that's where I would start if I were you KT go!


KT: Ok. Next question, Suze is from CLF,


KT: That's what she wanted. CLF. And the subject was changing broker. So I love things like this. So, CLF said I've been using the same broker for 20 plus years. I'm a long term investor and rarely do much to change my ETFs or funds. So basically, my broker does very little for me unless I send her more money to invest.


KT: I've learned so much from you, Suze abot brokers fees. Sadly, something I did not consider in the past, especially I guess the past 20 years, my broker charges 1 to 1.5% to buy an investment. And then again, will charge another...


Suze: You're kidding me.


KT: Wait, let me finish. My broker charges 1 to 1.5% to buy an investment. And then again, will  charge another 1 to 1 point when I sell them.


KT: Now, this is what CLF wants to do, Suze. I'm thinking about moving my investments to a no low fee self managed account with a company like Fidelity or Vanguard. But I think this is simply a, she's just needs you to give her a little little shove a little push. How do I Suze? How do I go about moving my investment to my new account? And then,


KT: then she's a little bit confused here. Basically. I think she just has to fire the broker...


Suze: You don't have to do anything with that broker.


KT: She thinks she still has to do


Suze: something. All you have to do. CLF, what do you think that stands for anyway? CLF. Right?


Suze: Is go to Fidelity. Open up an account there. They will contact your old broker for you and initiate the transfer. That's all you have to do. That's simple. You don't owe the broker anything you might want to call them and let them know after it's done or that you are going,


Suze: to be doing it. And if the broker is a good honest person, he or she will be good for you. CLF. You absolutely don't need to pay me those kind of fees when you have what it takes to do it on your own. That's all you have to do. It couldn't be easier if it tried. And I have to say one other thing,


Suze: this is a person that is now owning the power to control her destiny, her financial destiny. This person is no longer just sitting and going. It's ok. It's what I've done for 20 years. I don't know what to do. This person has now


Suze: taken her own power to make the most out of every dollar she has. So CLF. Good for you. Because that, that is the key to being a powerful CLF. I don't know if it's a man or a woman. So there you go.


KT: It's a woman. It's a woman. CLF.


Suze: We don't know.


KT: It's a woman. It's


KT: CLF. I do. I'm the one that picked this one


Suze: Oh you you know her real name.


KT: And she wants to be called CLF.


Suze: So CLF, you have now taken a major step again to own the power to control your destiny. So proud of you. So proud. Next, KT!


KT: OK. This one's a little bit


KT: interesting and I hope you understand her position. This is from Ruth. She said, dear Suze, I'm very uncomfortable with your stance towards oil. Hm. Moral issues are more important than earning money. Is there any way I can earn dividends without ruining our precious earth's environment?


KT: And then she said, but Suze, I love you anyway. Oh, wait, Suze's not ruining the earth. She's just giving everyone advice on best dividends out there.


Suze: However, here's the thing, Ruth, I totally understand your stance, believe it or not. And I know that KT without her even telling me picked this one because KT also in the past has had some objections of stocks that I had purchased,


Suze: you know, in the cigarette industry. And...


KT: Or that invested in tobacco.


Suze: and she sold them


Suze: and they were making a lot of money and that's fine. So the reason why in the past, and even now I've been recommending oil stocks is that the markets have been very, very confusing. They've been going up, they've been going down and at the time I started doing it, interest rates were so low,


Suze: the price of oil was so low and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that people would make a whole lot of money by doing so. And so I still think that and the truth is oil that I've said was gonna go back up has now gone back up.


Suze: And so many of the stocks have gone back up as well. But the dividends in the energy companies were so much higher by triple what the other companies were paying in dividends. That's why I did it. But I, so get what you're saying.


Suze: So of course, there are many other stocks that you can invest in that pay a high dividend. You have Pfizer, you have other ones that are paying four or 5% you have ETFs that you can invest in that are paying high dividends, all kinds of things. And in the past, if you


Suze: listened to all the podcasts, you would have heard me recommend certain ETFs that were just for dividends and for income that really had nothing to do with just oil companies. Although a lot of these ETFs have oil companies in them, so I totally get it.


Suze: I support you in that. But the bottom line is for me,


Suze: sometimes I have to tell people what to do to make them the most when there's no place else to invest with 100% surety. KT, next question.


KT: Ok. From Nancy. Hi, Suze and KT. Love your podcast. I'm 66 and have 1.2 million in a regular IRA as well as other assets. Should I open a Roth and start moving money each year to it? And if so how much


KT: I have a wife but otherwise will leave some money to friends and family, but mostly to charity. I like our tax situation now since it's very low. So, what would be your opinion, Suze? I guess this is about that Roth.


Suze: Yeah. I have to tell you, Nance that if, in fact you're in a currently low tax bracket, great if you were gonna convert. However,


Suze: you also say that you're going to leave most of this money to who to charity. So if you leave this to charity, it's not going to benefit you if it's in a Roth because when you leave it to charity, they're not gonna have to pay taxes on it. So, I have to tell you in your particular situation, I don't think that I would be taking money and paying taxes on it now


Suze: and converting it. I would probably leave it exactly where it is. Take it out as you need to once you turn 73 which is the new age that you have to start taking money out of a retirement account. And I would just let it compound for you at this point in time.


Suze: So this is a situation especially given that the majority of your money is going to charity. So your beneficiaries don't have to worry about taxes. I would not be converting at this point in time.


KT: Suze, next questions from Ivan...


Suze: We're not bantering very much today.


KT: No, because we're happy to be back in the studio.


Suze: Because we've just spent two weeks talking to each other all day and long, long days.


KT: But you love it


Suze: So much.


KT: So, so this is from Ivan.


Suze: Wait, you didn't?


Suze: I said you loved it.


KT: Yeah, I always loved being with you, especially in Europe.


Suze: Tell everybody how good I was in there.


KT: She was a trooper. She was really, really nervous about this trip because of, you know, the fact that we've been really in lockdown for COVID and since the surgery and the healing and she was really scared about traveling, climbing all over the Amalfi coast of Italy walking the Camino again in Spain


KT: and being physical quite honestly. And she was a trooper. She was like a 21 year old in all ways. So...


Suze: I have no idea what she's talking about.


KT: This. Next question is from Ivan. Hi, Suze and KT. Thank you for everything you do. You guys are a wonderful couple. See, Suze, you've helped me immensely in my financial life.


Suze: Wait, wait, I have to say something before you go on. Since you just said that. So on September 8th, it was our anniversary, our wedding anniversary because we got married in 2010 in South Africa.


Suze: And so it was our 13th wedding anniversary.


KT: But our 23rd year.


Suze: Yes. But still right now tell everybody, KT...


KT: They don't know what you did?


Suze: I don't know if they do.


KT: You want me to tell them?


Suze: Yes.


KT: All right, Ivan, I'm going to put this on hold. All right. So Suze and I just get to Madrid. We wake up, we're still a little bit jetlagged and we were told the night before that at 10 o'clock, we had to go down


KT: and have breakfast and usually it's a big buffet breakfast that all the hotels in Europe offer. And I'm like, why at 10? And we were told that there was things changed since COVID. So I figured, all right, I'll go with the flow. So Suze and I wake up and I said, well, let's just run down and get a coffee and a light breakfast and then we'll come up and unpack.


KT: I had on my fishing shirt, a pair of, you know, little stretch pants, flip flops and no makeup sunglasses and my hair was a mess. We go down and as we are greeted by the hostess, she takes our name and her eyes lit up. She said this way, I said, we can sit right here and Suze said, let's sit outside. It's really nice on the terrace. So we go to a room


KT: and as we walk through the door, there's a table set with balloons all around it. And this and a big heart balloon in gold that said, congratulations, Suze and KT Happy anniversary and 13th, 13th and rose petals scattered everywhere, chilled champagne and a beautiful, beautiful assortment of sweets and cakes.


KT: I sit, I look at Suze. I said, are you kidding me? This is for us. And so she had set this up before we even got to Spain long before. I sit down. And I said, Suze, I don't even have makeup on because the hostess of course, wanted to take a photo. But wait the best is yet to come.


KT: All of a sudden, this opera singing starts to come in through the door behind me. I turn around, there's three opera singers singing at the top of their lungs in this restaurant. Now all eyes are on KT and Suze. Both of us look kind of seedy and right off


KT: the island. All eyes are on us. They're singing all these romantic Spanish songs.


Suze: Well they sang Happy Anniversary first...


KT: And then they sang Besame Mucho.


Suze: Right and KT loved that. But the reason that I wanted her to tell that story is that here we are in Spain in this restaurant where there were all these people that didn't know who we were. Most of them didn't speak any English. Plus the wait staff,


Suze: everybody


Suze: had tears and starts to cry.


KT: It was so beautiful, I think because the two old ladies were so happy and we danced a little, I asked you to dance with me.


Suze: And so I loved that. So what brought me back to that was Ivan been saying that we make such a great couple


Suze: and we do so thank you for acknowledging it, but that was such a great, great day


KT: Can you post some of that on the wall?


Suze: I think I did, but I can try again.


KT: Yeah, look for it. It's really, it was beautiful. She's so romantic in between the banter. She's very romantic. Ok. So back to Ivan, he's writing to ask us what he should do about his condo,


KT: Suze, I'm going to be assessed $40,000 for structural repair bills. That the HOA that's the Homeowners Association never saved up for. My condo is worth about 215,000. He originally bought it for 175. He has 90,000 remaining in his mortgage. My goal was to pay off the mortgage over the next 10 years.


KT: I'll be 50 years old in September 2025. But this puts a huge dent in my plan and home value. Frankly, Suze, I'm just really angry at having to pay for things that should have been paid for by past owners. I have lived here for 18 years. I've never missed a payment even through the financial crisis when my neighbors were foreclosing and defaulting on condo maintenance.


KT: It's my first and only home I have ever made for myself. Moving would be hard and rents are very high out here. What are your thoughts? So, so what should he do?


Suze: Here's what I think truthfully most of the time, Ivan, when you assess such a large amount of money and $40,000 is a large amount of money, they usually just allow you to pay it little by little over time.


Suze: So it's not as if they expect you or can expect you to come up with $40,000. So they probably will let you finance it and add it into your monthly payments. The truth is you've lived there for 18 years


Suze: and most condos after, especially if you're in Florida or places like that after 20 years, 25 years, many of them need structural repairs. So you can look at this and be angry about it or you could be grateful that the condo


Suze: is actually repairing the building that your home is in. So there isn't a major collapse like there was in Florida a year ago where many people lost their lives. The whole building came down and not that far from where KT and I live in Florida.


Suze: So you could sell if you wanted to possibly buy another condo. If you wanted to. But again, maybe that will happen to you in your new condo as well. Plus you say this would be hard on you. So, buck up my dear Ivan


Suze: and talk to your Homeowners Association as to how can you finance this? So you don't have to take it out of your savings and things like that. It's just the cost of living there. Plus when you do go to sell it


Suze: and now they see that the building has been repaired, chances are your condo will be worth actually more money than it's probably worth right now. So I would stay there. I would do a financing situation if I were you. And that's just it. That's what you need to do.


KT: All right. Ok. Next question is from Jackie.


KT: Hi, Suze and KT. I noticed that Alliant  has a kid savings account for kids up to 12 years old. Why is there no teen savings account? I have teenagers and I was unable to open an account for them.


Suze: What you need to do, Jackie is go to my alliant dot com,


Suze: myalliant dot com. And when you go there, you will see


Suze: three choices that you can pick. One of them says kids and teens savings. So you can do a teen account. They've divided it and truthfully, I have no idea why they divided it into, you know, from whatever age to 12 and from 12 up to 17. I don't know why, but they did


Suze: and you can do it. So go back and you'll see. Absolutely. You can do that. And by the way, this offer is only good till the end of this year. And that is where if you have an ultimate opportunity, savings account of your own, where you put $100 a month away in and you got the $100 or you just have the ultimate opportunity, opportunity savings account. You now can open up one for your kid.


Suze: So they put in $100 a month or you do it for them, they get $100 after 12 months. Now, that's a deal that you're not gonna find anywhere else. If you don't already have an ultimate opportunity savings account and you want to do it for your kid, you first have to open it up for yourself, then you can do it for your kids and you can make finances a family affair. You should so


Suze: take advantage of it. I can't even tell you. All right, KT.


KT: Ok, next is from Rachel. Hi, Suze and KT, can you talk about restricted stock units? Let's call them RSUs. She said I was granted RSUs. last year and this year as part of my compensation and Suze, I think everyone should know that this is becoming more of a frequent,


KT: especially with young employees


Suze: With valuable employees, not just young employees.


KT: I was granted RSUs last year and this year as part of my compensation they vest over four years. Can you talk about how these work? What are the tax implications?


KT: Do I need to hold the stocks? Granted for a period of time to reduce the tax impact? Also? What are your thoughts? This, this, this, I never heard Golden handcuffs.


Suze: Yeah. So basically a golden handcuff. Everybody is a corporation hires you and they don't want you to leave.


Suze: So it's called a golden handcuff where they offer you money that you're able to get or stock options in the company or grants in the company for stocks that vest over a period of time.


Suze: So you only get that money if you stay with them for four years or five years, they don't want to just give it to you and then you leave. So, Rachel, basically restricted stock units have a vesting period, which means you cannot sell them till they are vested.


Suze: So let's just say you had 1000 restricted stock units. The reason they're restricted is because if you have a four year vesting period


Suze: and you have 1000 RSUs, 250 will vest every year once they vest every year, you absolutely can sell them. So after the first year, you could sell those 250. If you wanted to the other 750 that you have to wait another year and another year and another year for all of them to vest,


Suze: you just have to wait till they're vested to sell them. What you need to know is that once they vest income tax is owed on them and usually you will owe ordinary income tax on the difference between what they were worth when you got them and what they're worth when they vest


Suze: and you can decide, do you sell them right then and there ordinary income or do you hold them for at least a year after they vested where, then if you were to sell them, it would be done as capital gains. But you take a risk if they happen to go down as well.


KT: Why. I mean, what would you do? Sell them?


Suze: It depends on the company. Depends on the future. If it were like a stock like Apple,


Suze: I would probably hold them if it was a new up and coming IPO and she happened to get them and who knows what the future is of the company.


Suze: And I would probably then sell them right away. Yeah.


Suze: But that's essentially how they work


KT: Yeah, Rachel, you're not alone there. I always find those deals confusing. So next is, who's right? Who's wrong? That's the title here. That's what made me pick this one. Hi, Suze. As I type that subject line, I realized that could be a new feature on your show. Good.


Suze: Let's make this our quizzie.


KT: All right. All right. I hope all is well with you. And KT your opinion, please.


KT: I'm almost finished with paying off my student loans. $3000 balance.


Suze: Good, good, good.


KT: I am current on all bills and I'm working on building up my emergency savings. My mom took out for a $40,000 student loan when I was 18 and since she's let the balance balloon to nearly 70,000 by only paying about 100 or $100 or so per month. Now


KT: mom wants me to pay it all off for her. I refuse to put this balance in my name because it will hinder my borrowing ability. I'm also wrapping up my divorce and as a single mom in New York, I don't have to tell you how expensive life is even when just maintaining needs. Not once


KT: as such, I'm not only working full time. I just started my own company to bring in more money. My mom has zero long term care insurance despite my prodding and it looks like I'll need to shelter my parents one day soon too as they're renting at this late stage, Suze, who is right and who is wrong?


KT: I am frustrated mom let the interest balloon on this balance while she drove around in a newly leased car year after year. Perhaps she's always thought someone would swoop in and take care of this balance. I'm happy to help by logging in and paying down some of this balance. Every month but not take on this debt in my name. I, I'm, I'm mad about this.


Suze: Why KT? 


KT: Because, I think quite honestly


KT: if she knew that her mother took this loan out for her, why did it take her 18 years later to have this conversation with mom? Why?


Suze: Well, here's the thing.


KT: No, no, no, Suze. Why?


Suze: I can't answer that for you. I'm not this person, but here's what I am but you can't say something's wrong. KT,


Suze: unless you really, really know everything that this person has gone through. So for instance, this person has recently gone through a divorce, who knows what was going on in her individual life at that time. For all those years. We don't know how long this person was married for number one. Number two, maybe mom said, don't worry about it, sweetheart. I'm taking care of it


Suze: and never let her know that she wasn't and only putting $100 towards it. Never knowing that the balance was going to balloon. However, this is what I would say, which is doesn't matter that mom was leasing a car and driving around. Maybe mom wanted to be secure knowing that she had a brand new car because she was afraid that maybe it would break down as a lot of elderly women are


Suze: so they constantly get a new car so they have the latest safety features on it because KT is giving me a look. But it's true. KT, wait right. It's I need you to be compassionate here.


Suze: You know, because we can't sit in judgment of people without knowing a whole lot about them. So this is what I would say here. I would not put it in your name. You don't need to. However, this $40,000 loan was originally to put you through college and you have to be smart enough if you're starting your own business


Suze: that you should have stayed in touch with. How was mom paying this off? You also say in this email that probably you're going to have to take care of them later on in life. So if you don't help mom, now with this,


Suze: the $40,000 is gonna balloon to 70 is going to balloon to 80 to 90 $100,000. And then they have the legal authority of garnishing the social security checks from mom, which then will make it harder on mom and dad if there's two people involved here


Suze: and now you're really gonna have to step in and help them sooner than you think you're going to have to. Anyway. Therefore,


Suze: I would go online. I would start to pay it down. I would do whatever I can with mom to say. All right mom sit down with her rather than being mad at her mom. How much can you pay towards this? Not $100 a month? But can you pay two or $300 a month? Towards this, I can match whatever it is that you pay towards it,


Suze: but she has to pay you, you pay it to make sure that it's being paid down


Suze: and that's how you can do it. The other thing is, I don't know your income, but if you did put it in your name, it was a federal loan and all you could go under the save program


Suze: that now has been instituted by the Biden administration, which is the best way to pay off a student loan. It's not available for parent plus loans, but it is available for somebody like you. So put your pride away.


Suze: Look at what is the best way to pay this off


Suze: and it might be better for you to put it in your name if it would qualify for the Save program. So don't be angry, don't judge her.


Suze: It's hard when you get old, love her up because trust me, there will come a day when she's not here anymore that you will say to yourself. Uh Why was I so judgmental? Why was I so hard on her? Why, why, why she's your mama?


Suze: Love her up now while you can. Alright KT that brings us to the end?


KT: I... I think that was great advice. I, I agree with that that they should make peace and figure it out.


Suze: Yeah, talk with one another, talk with, with each other because this happened because...


KT: It's not right or wrong.


KT: It's called Family and let's make it work.


Suze: Yeah, that's  good. KT


KT: It's not, right or wrong


KT: it's called Family. Ok, Suze, let's wrap it up.


Suze: All right. Everybody, I hope you're happy to have us back.


KT: Of course they are.


Suze: And until Sunday when I don't have a clue what I'm gonna be doing yet, let's see what happens this week in the markets and with the economy, I need a little while now to catch up on things. There's really only one thing that we want you to say every single day


Suze: and it is as follows,


KT: Today wherever I go, I will create a more peaceful, loving


Suze: and joyful world. All right. And if you say that we promise you, you will be unstoppable.

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