Rank #1: Ep. 120: Power Percentage™
Introducing Power Percentage.
You have been trying to measure your financial life for years. You measure it by your credit score, your net worth, your income, your savings or retirement account balances… yet none of those reward your for good behavior like paying off debt. This is where Power Percentage comes in. Power Percentage is the metric that blows all the others out of the water. It rewards you for good behavior and doesn’t punish you for a low income. EVERYONE has to know their Power Percentage to see where they are financially. Listen to this episode to calculate yours today, and to learn how to move it up rapidly.
Power Percentage is also a huge part of the Million Dollar Plan course that helps YOU become a millionaire. It’s not rocket science, it’s not good luck, it’s a plain and simple plan to help you get your first million.
Check out the Million Dollar Plan here and listen to the Power Percentage episode below.
Nov 14 2016
Rank #2: RePete Ep. 6: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your 401k
On this episode of RePete we’re joined by Rick Unser to talk about your 401k! (Ok, not your 401k specifically, but you know what I’m getting at.) Pete and I wanted someone to help us understand 401ks on a deeper level and what changes are going on in the 401k industry. That person, without-a-doubt, is Rick. He is a Workplace Retirement Consultant with Lockton Companies, LLC, and host of 401(k) Fridays Podcast. Needless to say, a true retirement expert.
Throughout this episode, Pete and Rick dive into how target date funds fit into the 401k world. They look at changes going on within the industry and peek at the current happenings/trends going on within the 401k world right now.
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Aug 02 2018
Rank #3: Ep. 258: Investing early, international schools & retirement questions
This week on The Pete the Planner® Show, Pete and I could not be answering three more different financial questions.
We dive into this episode with an email so good that it’s either an incredible prank… or genuinely the best email ever. A young follower of ours (seriously, he’s 18!!) is getting ready to kick off his undergraduate career studying in the Netherlands. With a $5,000 a year tuition and no worry of student loan debt, before leaving for school he wants to invest $2,500 in the stock market. However, he’s in need of recommendations on how to start investing his money now, to set himself up to be financially stable later in life.
Switching gears, Pete and I answer a question on the topic of retirement! Our emailer is 75 years old, his wife is 65, and they have yet to retire. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Never having a budget, our emailer has NO idea what he and his wife’s monthly expenses actually are. Concerned about deteriorating health and needing to maintain their lifestyle, our emailer is asking where and how to start preparing to finally retire.
Our final question of this week’s show comes from an emailer from the one and only Naptown!! She and her husband moved to Indianapolis fifteen years ago when he took a job as a professor at a local university. At the time, they thought their move would be temporary. However, when their daughter joined them in Indy with two young grandchildren, they stayed longer than originally anticipated. Her question? Where do they retire?! Not originating from the Midwest and having family scattered throughout the country they are at a loss of where their final destination will be. Pete and I break down and weigh in on her three options.
And, of course, we wrap up our episode with two biggest wastes of money of the week! Cheers!
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Jul 10 2018
Rank #4: Ep.177: Allison wants to retire early, but got a late start on serious retirement savings.
Allison’s main concerns, in her own words: I am a single Federal Government employee who would like to retire at 62. I currently make just over $100,000, but I live in the high cost of living area of the greater Washington DC area. I got a late start on serious retirement savings and now have a balance of approx. $270,0000. This is the first year I will max out my Roth TSP. Right now I am on track to having a pension from FERS between $27,000-$35,000 per year in retirement.
My biggest concerns are can I afford to retire at 62 without Social Security and have the lifestyle that will potentially allow me to travel for several years minimum? What about long term care? I am single and will most likely need assistance at some time in the future as I age.
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Aug 01 2017
Rank #5: Ep. 260: Funding dual college tuitions and early 401k cash-outs
This week on The Pete the Planner® Show, we’re answering more of your money questions! First, in our trio of questions, we received an email from a woman getting ready to change jobs and has some choices to make while doing so. After 11.5 years of service, she’s got a pension plan she’s planning to defer until retirement and a deferred compensation balance of $23,000. 30 days after the termination of her job, she has the option to leave it and let it grow very slowly or cash it all out. Should she cash out her deferred compensation early and put towards other financial obligations and future investments?
Next in the lineup, Pete and I answer an email from a dad who is currently funding two college tuitions for his daughters. The oldest is wrapping up her final semester and the younger is finishing out her second year. He’s nearing the finish line, but he’s got a couple options for his younger daughter’s final years and wants our opinion on what we think is best. Of course, Pete and I happily oblige.
For the final installment in this episode, Pete asks… and answers his own question. He woke up one day within the past week and simply couldn’t shake an intuition: he needs more life insurance. Talking himself through his own question we get a look at life events that call for you to re-evaluate the amount of life insurance you have and what may require you to increase your coverage.
And of course, we round out our show with a biggest waste of money of the week. Cheers!
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Jul 24 2018
Rank #6: Ep. 174: Katie, the Paper Mill Engineer Who Drives a Forester.
Katie’s main concerns, in her own words:
I’m graduating from college in May 2017 and have a job making 72,000 as an engineer. I have no debt, no car payment, and a small amount in an IRA, so I have a lot of money and some good freedom. I have some specific questions about buying homes. I will likely be relocated for work in the next few years – how long do I need to be in a home for it to make sense to buy. Generally, my questions are in terms of where should I start? Emergency fund? Start saving for a home or wedding? How much should I be saving for retirement besides my company match?
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Jul 18 2017
Rank #7: Ep. 141: Power Percentage Part 2
It’s time we talk about Power Percentage. Again. Ever since my podcast on this topic a few weeks ago, I’ve been receiving lots of questions. If you have no clue what a Power Percentage is, check out Episode 120 or watch the first episode of PTPTV. To summarize, it’s the best way to measure the health of your financial life. Ever. It’s a way to see how much of your income is being used to move you forward.
Here are some of the questions I address:
- What is and isn’t included in my power percentage?
- Why isn’t transportation included in my power percentage?
- What if I have no debt and no mortgage, how can I increase my power percentage?
- What if my company has a pension plan rather than a 401(k)?
Finally, I talk about how to make your Power Percentage go up TODAY. The goal is to keep this number increasing from year to year. The fastest way to move yourself up today is to increase your contribution to your employer’s 401k plan. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can have a big impact on your both your Power Percentage and your future as a whole.
Here’s the key, for your reference:
- 10% and below – Eh
- 11% to 20% – OK
- 21% – 34% – Getting there
- 35% and above – Perfect
Mar 02 2017
Rank #8: Ep. 246: Pete’s in Phoenix
This week on The Pete The Planner Show we wrap up our road series! Pete’s in Phoenix for the final leg of his travel… for right now and I’m in HQ maning the board. In this episode, Pete’s diving into his least favorite things about financial advisors. He explores what makes these characteristics stand out as red flags, and how to be proactive when working with an advisor. And to end this week’s show we peak into Pete’s everflowing inbox and dig into the biggest waste of money of the week.
Apr 26 2018
Rank #9: Ep. 281: Timing when to retire and paying off mortgages early
This week on The Pete the Planner® Show, we’re back answering more of your money questions! We kick the show off with an emailer who has been berated by his friends for saving for retirement. Tired of the snide remarks, our email needs a path to address the comment without losing any (more) friends along the way. Next, we answer a question from a 62-year-old woman, raising her grandkids. She’s been at her job for 24 years, however, she’s ready to retire to be home with her grandkids while they’re still young. The only wrinkle in her plan is timing WHEN to retire to ensure she has time left with her grandkids, but not pulling the retirement plug too early and depleting her assets while shes still got years ticking on a clock. And to wrap up this week’s show, Pete dives into a question from an emailer wondering if it makes sense to use some 401k bonds to pay off his mortgage ahead of schedule.
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Oct 30 2018
Rank #10: Ep. 193: Answering your wake-up call
This week, we’re talking about wake-up calls.
Whether it’s your health, your relationships or your finances–you are well aware if a certain component of your life is not where it needs to be. You don’t have to receive an ominous voicemail, while traveling on business, from your doctor after a recent wellness check-up to shed light on your wellness opportunities. Just as you don’t need a break-up or an over-draft fee notification to know some areas of your life needs a little attention. “Wake-up calls” can come in a variety of forms. But, if you got one…would you answer it?
If you keep ignoring the warning signs, stop. Answer your wake-up call. In order to see change, you have to decide to do so–now. If you keep silencing the signs, before too long, it’ll be too late. Don’t let your current opportunities get to the point of irreversible change.
Our goal is to make tomorrow easier. If a wake-up call is what it takes, answer it. Make a change today, the hardest part is starting. But once you’ve started, put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Your future self will thank you for taking that first step.
Oct 05 2017
Rank #11: RePete Ep.1: What is work/life balance?
We’ve got big things happening at PTP HQ, we’ll be releasing a second episode of the Pete the Planner® Show each Thursday! You likely noticed the change from The Million Dollar Plan to The Pete the Planner® Show, and now we are finalizing all the changes with a new, quirky second weekly episode. We want this episode to be a bit irreverent, a bit off the record, maybe a bit of a repeat… err RePete of topics discussed in the main PTP Show. Yep, this will be the RePete episode. Nobody can resist a good pun!
But we’re not *just* launching a new, weekly episode. This RePete episode is a perfect time to launch a place for you all to go to talk about topics that interest you from the show. Please join us in the RePeter’s Private Facebook Group. This will be a private online community, exclusive to our listeners where you can chat about what’s happening on the podcast, money topics in the news, your struggles, your wins, recipe ideas, and if someone wants to talk fishing, Pete won’t complain. While no topic is necessarily off limits, this will be a no judgment, no hate, and no trolls zone!
Get in on this group early so you can get insider info and all the #BTS show access. Join the online community here and while you’re at it make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast. New episode drops tomorrow! Any questions? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jun 21 2018
Rank #12: Ep. 64: Investing
What I cover:
- Market performance over the years
- The basics of risk tolerance
- Understanding your time horizon
Want to be a guest on the The Million Dollar Plan podcast? Apply Here.
Apr 21 2016
Rank #13: Ep. 194: Wayne is ready to retire and recharge
Wayne’s main concerns, in his own words: “My government job is stressful, I feel burned-out, and I need a change. When I turn 57 in 4 months, I’m eligible to retire from a with a monthly pension of $5,850 and I have tax deferred savings in a 457 plan of $450,000. My gross annual salary is currently $105,000. Can I afford to comfortably retire and maintain my lifestyle, plus handle some additional expenses to fund travel and hobbies? Or should I continue to work for a few more years doing something less stressful (maybe part-time and lower paying) to add to a Roth IRA and delay taking 457 plan withdrawals? I have 5 years left to pay on my mortgage with a 2.35% interest rate of $1,000 a month. Other than $6,000 in consumer debt that I’m working to pay off, that’s my only debt.”
Oct 10 2017
Rank #14: Ep. 142: Tatiana’s husband just lost his job, but their financial life is still looking up
M$D: October 28, 2027
Tatiana’s main concerns, in her words:
Our goal is to be debt-free except for our house by November 2019 if not sooner!
What can we invest in that will increase our net worth and minimize our tax liability while we are paying down debt or should we ignore that and just focus on the debt and just save minimum to 401k and HSA until then? Also very concerned that our ER savings is very small for our in income.
When will we be millionaires?
Ages: both 46 years old. Two adult children and three grandsons. 1 child in private college. Our pay went up substantially in the last 10 years. Both of us went to college late in life. And made lots of mistakes over and over again along the way! Including the short sale of two homes 7 years ago.
Facts and figures:
- Husband income: $190,000
- Wife income: $78,000
- Monthly take home pay: $11,000 after taxes, ins, 401k, FSA, HSA and $600 a month to brokerage savings account.
We are using a budget for the first time in our 27 years of married life and still are working out the kinks! Have maxed 401k’s, but would like to do just the matching amount for 1 year to pay down debt. My husband – 5%. Me – 6%. Retirement balance: $376k. ER Saving: $5,000
Mortgage: $325,000 (appraised at $410k). Refinanced at 20 year fixed @ 3.5%. Pay biweekly ($1,150) and a little over for a total of $2,300 a month.
Term Life Insurance: due to renew in 2018! Husband – $500,000. Wife – $350,000
Cash flowing youngest daughter’s private college. This ends in May 2017!! Woot woot! This will free up $23,000 a year!!
Debts besides the house and in order of our payoff focus:
- Parent Plus Loan: $6,000 @ 7.2% and paying this first at $1,250 a month or more if possible.
- Lazy Boy: $5,000 – zero interest $303.00 min.
- Truck Loan: $20,700 @ 3.75% $670.00
- Leaf Loan: $27,000 @ zero % $450.00
- Stupid Loan- Promissory Note from HELOC for a home we don’t even own anymore! $38,000 @ 2% $400
Tatiana has sent us an update!We paid off our truck = $19k.
We built up our 3-6 months ER savings to $50k.
We have just hit a net worth of $530k – first time ever over the half million mark.
YAY!!!!! And the best news…
My husband found a job with a base salary of $160k. It is a $30k drop from his last job but it has a rich bonus and stock options. And well we don’t have as many bills with tuition and the truck payments done. The only caveat is that it is in Las Vegas! I love my house and want to be near my grandsons so I have no plans on leaving Arizona. We will now have a super commuter marriage. The good news is that it is only a four-hour drive or $100 RT flight and NO income state tax! He found another 40 something single and normal male professional that travels for work and they are going to share a house. My husband will come home two weekends a month to start and I will go up there one week a month to work. I work at home and can really work anywhere. So… it all works out in the end. Now we are just reworking the budget to make sure we can keep his expenses down and finish paying down debt while maxing the 401k contribution.
Our motto for the next year (we committed to one year to try this) is… We have a plan. It is a good plan. We are going to work the plan. Everything will be OK.
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Mar 07 2017
Rank #15: Ep. 268: Home buyer’s remorse and 401k roll-overs
This week on The Pete the Planner® Show, we’re back answering more of your money questions. Our first question comes from a listener with a case of home-buyers remorse. His dilemma? He can afford his current housing situation, but he doesn’t want to afford his current housing situation. Seeing all the things he could be funding instead, Pete weighs in and helps direct a financial focus. As we move into our next question, you may not believe me when I tell you it came from a 24-year-old. Our emailer recently left his first job out of college and is double checking his work that he should roll-over the $22,000 he put aside in a Roth 401K into his personal Roth IRA. Yes, he’s 24 years old wanting to roll over $22,000 into a personal Roth IRA. Saying Pete was proud is an understatement. Rounding out our questions this week is one of our favorites to dive into. Simply put: an emailer reached out and wants to know if she and her husband have set enough aside to retire.
Sep 11 2018
Rank #17: Ep. 240: April
Imagine being well over half-way to retirement, but not being sure if you’ve been saving enough. You are an on-call archaeologist working part-time and your husband is a high-school teacher, together you bring in $93,000 a year. Your five-year-old daughter will start kindergarten soon and your daycare costs will be added back into your budget with an extra $750 a month. With many future financial obligations already spoken for (college tuition, paying off your mortgage) coupled with some career uncertainty, you need a plan for the unexpected.
How do you prioritize saving for the future while funding the what-if?
This is April’s question.
Apr 03 2018
Rank #18: Ep. 186: Autumn, a mom working to keep her family financially on track.
Autumn’s main concerns, in her own words: We have roughly $1500-1700/mo in extra income and we would like to know how we should allocate this money. We have ideas of contributing more to my HSA, start ROTH’s, contribute to our children’s 529 accts regularly, but also know we need to increase our emergency fund. Should be build up our savings and THEN attack some of the other things mentioned, and if so, in what order? Also would like to know the best way to save for college for 4 kids (age 9, 8, 7, 3) and if it’s realistic to put them through school without loans?
I stayed at home for 9 years and have worked part time for the past year (non-benefitted) and just switched to full time with benefits last month. My husband just got a pay raise effective this month and just started going to college in May, which has us earning extra income from the VA. So, lots of brand new income for us and we want to make the best decisions with it! Also something to know is that my husband has a VA disability rating and will start collecting that in 3 years, which will be an additional $1300/mo approximately. Our goal is to move to a bigger home around that time frame as well. So some of that may going towards increasing mortgage but we would also love suggestions on the best use of that money when we start collecting it.
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Sep 05 2017
Rank #19: Ep. 249: Janet
Imagine setting your financial goal, aggressively saving for it, and achieving it. But now… you’re not sure how to more evenly spread out your savings. You and your husband both contribute to your retirement fund(s) and have an emergency fund fully secured. You know you want to have kids in the near future, but you still have a few debts to pay off.
How do you put away funds for your inevitable new family addition, but pay off your past before they arrive?
These are Janet’s questions.
May 08 2018
Rank #20: Ep. 252: Is it possible to not retire… successfully?
This week on The Pete the Planner Show, Pete and I are back answering more of your money questions! We’re covering a wide range of topics this week (which if your a friend of the show, should not come as a surprise to you.) Pete and I kick off this episode with a particular question we can’t say we’ve ever been prompted with. A dear reader of ours wants to know, “is it possible to ever not retire… successfully?“ We unpack his question and Pete helps craft a non-retirement plan for our reader. Our next question, one we get especially in this time of year, “what is the BIGGEST financial mistakes new college graduates make, and how to avoid it.” The answer is more obvious than you think, but how to avoid it… maybe not so much. To round out this episode, we embark on another budgeting question, “how much is too much to spend on food each month?” And to answer, we take another peek at our good friend The Ideal Household Budget. We’ve got all that, the biggest waste of money of the week, and more on this week’s show!
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May 22 2018