Category Archives: Blog and Old Radio Shows

Retiring – How Much Income Can I Take?

How much income can I take when I retire?  Answering this question wrong can be disastrous.

The answer to this question depends on whether you want to be an employee or a business owner. Let me explain what I mean.

An employee has a set salary. A business owner does not. How much income the business owner takes is dependent on the profitability of the company. The employee’s salary is paid regardless.

There are countless studies that have been done to figure out what is a sustainable income a person can take from their retirement accounts. When I started in 1999, retirees were told they could take 6% or higher. Then the dotcom bubble burst followed by the Great Recession of 2008. When I left the business, some had dropped the percentage down to 3%.

Over my 18 years the percentage continuously changed. Those that started taking 6% in 2000 were quickly met with the possibility of running out of money before they die. It happened again in 2008. When will be the next time?

So, what is the correct percentage that you should take? Is there a correct answer to this question? The answer in short to the second question is no. Then, what should you do?

Business Owner, Employee, or Combination

Business Owner:

As a business owner, your income is based on profitability. This retiree will base his/her income off of returns. In a year that their account returns 10%, they will take more income than they will in a year in which the accounts return is zero or negative. Good returns equals higher income. Bad returns equals lower income.

Another option for the retiree/business owner is to own assets that produce income such as bonds or real estate. The owner of a rental property still receives income despite the value of the rental property. The bond still pays income despite the value of the bond.

Both options come with risks such as market risk, interest rate risk, and default risk to name a few.

Employee:

As an employee, your income is set as a salary. What you are doing here is similar to a pension and is usually done with an annuity. Just as with a pension, there are decisions to be made. Do you need income for one life or two. If all the money isn’t used, would you like it to be left to a beneficiary? Each decision made will impact the amount of the income.

The dollar amount paid is set, and running out of income isn’t a risk. The risk comes with inflation because the income typically does not change.

Combination – Business Owner/Employee:

If possible, many retirees will choose a combination. First, they will solve for the amount necessary to pay the bills or slightly higher. The remainder will be run like a business. This option provides inflation protection while covering the necessities of life.

Which retiree will you be? Do you know? Don’t wait until you’re about to retire to find out how much income you can take.

Mickey Ellison

mickey@aegis.insurance or mickey@mickeyellison.com

Office: 316-243-2131 or Mobile: 316-209-9005

 

 

 

Things to Think About

Life can become so cluttered that we find ourselves directionless.  Unless we’re willing to stop, we will wind up somewhere, but where? Here I will share with you some guidelines to help regain control.

  1. First, take a moment to think about who and what is most important to you. The decisions you make or don’t make will have consequences.
  2. Do you take time each day to address your health and physical fitness?
  3. Financially, do you know your income and outflow? If your outflow is greater than your income, we must address that first.
  4. Have you protected those you love? What happens to your family if your are no longer here? What happens to your family if you can’t work? Can you protect them for pennies on the dollar? Do you have children. If so, who will be their guardian if something happens to you and your spouse?
  5. Do you have any emergency assets should you lose your job? How long could you survive as a family?
  6. Non-Retirement Assets: Once we’ve navigated the above areas, this is we build freedom. Think about creating other sources of income and assets or real value.
  7. Retirement Assets: Much of our focus today seems to be here. While it is important for some, it is also the most restrictive. It is also the area where many people fly blind. What do you have? What risks are you taking? How much are you paying? Is there better alternatives.

The earlier you start on these, the better. When should you start? NOW!

Mickey Ellison

(316)209-9005

mickey@mickeyellison.com

mickey@aegisgroupprotects.com

What Qualifies Me?

What qualifies me to be a life coach? Is it the fact that at one time I had the initials CFP after my name on business card? Is it because I was a NCAA D1 athlete? Did having licenses to sell financial securities? Or, that I have a degree from Vanderbilt University.

In my past, I would have used those things in an attempt to impress people, but the truth is, none of those things qualify me. So what does? While those things are real, they only give a perception of success and may hide a reality of failures.

Real life is what qualifies me! I’ve messed up so many things. Yet those failures are only failures if I never use them to help others. If they help others, then they become successes. So, here comes a list of things that I’ve lived through.

  • Failed at reaching my highest potential in baseball – Why? What did I learn.
  • Failed multiple times at losing weight until around 12 years ago – Why? What changed?
  • Failed at a business, and left with a mountain of debt.
  • Watched people lose half of their wealth twice. (2000-2002 and 2008)
  • Saw what happened to people who were unprepared to lose their income. Felt that one personally too!
  • Witnessed what can happen to a family when one spouse dies without insurance to protect those that they loved most.
  • Lived and still living through a child’s illness that isn’t covered by insurance.
  • Failed so many times that I couldn’t sleep. If I could sleep, didn’t want to get up. And, at times just wanted the emotional pain to go away.
  • Wondered where God was, and still do at times.

So, my failures have done more to qualify me than the degree, the initials, or the licenses. Despite those failures, I’m still here. Let me help you!

Mickey Ellison

(316)209-9005

mickey@mickeyellison.com

mickey@aegisgroupprotects.com

 

Landmines (Who’s Most Important)

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and be prepared to be surprised”   Unknown Author

What would happen to your family if you were killed in a car accident today? Would your spouse be able to pay the mortgage? Could they stay in the house or would they be forced to move?  How about your kids? Speaking of kids, if both you and your spouse were in that same car, what happens to your children? Where and who do they live with?

If you were laid off tomorrow, how long would your family be able to pay the bills? What if the car accident mentioned above didn’t kill you, rather it left you unable to work?

The financial industry spends most of its time focusing on retirement planning, yet there are landmines in each of our lives that can make retirement impossible. What are they? Have you addressed them? Can you plan for those landmines?

Retirement is only one aspect of our lives, and focusing too much on it leaves us blind to the landmines of life. Life planning addresses all aspects of life, and protects those who and what is most important to us.

For personal advice and help, contact me.

316-209-9005

Email:  mickey@aegisgroupprotects.com

 

 

 

Life Coach

Thank you Andy Frieze and the Aegis Group for giving me this opportunity.

Great coaches help athletes reach their highest potential on the field. Teachers can be invaluable to students in the classroom. We associate coaches and teachers with sports and academics, but what about life?

For 18 years I worked as a financial advisor; the last 10 as a Certified Financial Planner. Over the course of those years I endured the dot.com bubble and the Great Recession of 2008. Over a 7 year period of time, I watched people lose significant amounts of money, gain it back, and lose it again.

It was in 2009 that I began to question what I was doing for a living. What I wanted to do was help people, but how I got paid was by selling them an investment product or charging them a fee for assets under management.

Real Life # 1

In my time as a planner, here are a few things I saw. A man lost his job. He had significant savings in retirement accounts but very little in personal accounts requiring him to either pull money from those retirement accounts or borrow money to survive. When he returned to work, his income was significantly less than it had been before. By the time he could stop the bleeding, his retirement accounts were decimated. To make matters worse, he wasn’t over 59 & 1/2 requiring him to take out more money to pay taxes and a penalties.

Real Life #2

Just recently, I was contacted by someone who had lost her husband. He was responsible for the majority of their income. She is now faced with selling their home or losing it in foreclosure. Not only did she lose her husband, she lost the majority of their income and she is going to lose her home.

How could I have helped the client in Real Life #1 better? What could have been done to help Real Life # 2?

Nothing could have been done to prevent the man from losing his job. None of us are immune from death. That being said, the disasters that followed were preventable.

What I Learned

The vast majority of those that hold themselves out as financial planners are in reality retirement planners. Why? Because that’s where they make most of their money. Think about it. What’s more profitable? Making 1% of assets under management on  a $500,000 401(k) rollover or helping a couple with two kids create an emergency fund?

Who or What is Most Important to You?

As a coach with 18 years experience as a financial planner, I can help people navigate through the complexity of life, developing a plan to prioritize based on who or what is most important. Then implementing that plan, followed by monitoring and adjusting as needs and priorities change.

We start with one question.

What happens to who or what if _________________ happens?

Mickey Ellison (316)209-9005 or mickey@aegisgroupprotects.com or mickey@mickeyellison.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apathetic Ignorance

Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.  Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information. Apathetic ignorance can then be defined as a lack of interest in knowing.

When it comes to wine, I don’t know and I don’t care that I don’t know. Others may feel that way about sports. That’s okay when it comes to sports or wine but is it okay when it comes to financial planning?

When using a realtor to buy a house, it’s common for the commission to be around 6%. So, for a house that costs $100,000  you will pay around $6,000 in commissions. What if I came to you and said I would only charge you 2% or $2000. You in? Let me tell you the rest of the story, and let’s see if you’re still in. Next year you will pay me 2% and you will continue to pay me 2% every year for as long as you own the house. You still interested in my “discount”?

If you’re fortunate, the value of your house increases over time. Sometimes you are unfortunate, and the value of your home declines. Did I have anything to do with either of those scenarios? Would you have been better off paying me 6% up front or 2% annually?

While this sounds ridiculous, this is what millions of people agree to every year when it comes to financial planning. Would it be a better deal if the realtor met with you for an hour once or twice a year? Did your house go up more than the houses around it based on the advice of the realtor? Did your house lose less value than the houses in your area? Did the realtor have anything to do with it?

How much is remaining apathetically ignorant going to cost you?

 

 

Focused Control

Understanding this is a key to either success or failure whether you are on a baseball field, planning for your future financially, trying to lose weight, or life in general. Baseball has been a part of my life either as a player or a coach since I was 5 years old. I’m almost 47 now. It wasn’t until my 11th year coaching that this finally clicked. If I had understood this at an earlier age, I might have played longer than I did.

There are things that we can control and then there are things that we can’t control. Focusing on what we can’t control is a recipe for failure and if we continue focus on what we can’t control long enough, it will lead to misery and possibly depression.

There are parallels to my baseball career and my career in the financial industry. As a player, the beginning of the end came when my focus turned from what I had control of verses what I didn’t. The exact same thing happened in my career in the financial industry. In college as a player during my freshman year of baseball, I began to struggle for the first time. I went from starting every day to playing very little. Rather than focusing on what I had control of I began to make excuses and focused the guy starting in front of me and the coach. Neither of which I had any control over. The only thing I had control of was to do what got me there in the first place. Hours in the cage. Hours in the weight room. Running and being a good teammate. Focusing on Jeff and Coach Mewbourne did nothing to get me back in the lineup but it did lead to misery and ultimately to my failure as a player.

Focusing on what I couldn’t control also lead to the end of my financial career. I became obsessed with the one thing that I couldn’t control, the stock market. After watching people lose half of their life savings in 2008, I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening to them again. At night before I went to bed, I had to see what the markets were doing overseas. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I would grab my phone to see how the overseas markets finished and how the day was going to begin here. Constantly throughout the day, I was checking the markets. I was miserable and at home, I was distant. My wife told me this more than once, “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You protect them from loss, they will yell at you for not making as much money as they could have. They lose money, they will yell at you because you didn’t protect them and it’s killing you and your family is paying the price.” In September of 2017, I walked away.

Just the other day, I had a former client reach out to me, and the conversation that we had is the inspiration for this video. His exact words were, “We need to talk because I don’t want to lose what I have saved.” He went on to say, “I know there are no guarantees, but I also know that you can move it to a safe place if things start south.” What he said is both dangerous and naïve and makes him vulnerable. What he said he knows doesn’t exist, but there are plenty of salesmen that will tell him it does.

In my 18 years in the financial industry, I learned what you can control and what you can’t. Most people when they come into a financial adviser’s office will focus on what they can’t control and believe that the adviser can control what the advisor can’t. My hope is that there are people watching this video reach out to me to learn these things because knowing what you can control and what you can’t could save you thousands if not tens of thousands in fees and prevent you from becoming a victim because of ignorance.

Take a moment now and think. What do you have control of and what do you not have control of? Which do you focus on? For athletes, do you have control of the person that you are competing against on the other team or the person on your team who you are competing with for a position? No, so don’t focus on them or what they are doing. Focus on what you have control of and that is you!  If you get beat, learn from it, use what you learned, and go back to work.

In planning for your life financially. Learn what you have control of and what you do not. If you don’t know what to focus on, Mickey Ellison, Inc exists to teach you.

If you want to lose weight, focus on what you can control. This is one of the few things that I have done and have maintained. In a future video, I will share with you how I’ve done it and why I’ve been successful. It’s something I call The Process, and it applies not only to weight loss but is vital for athletes and in life.

Finally, what do you focus on? That which you can or cannot control. Things are going to happen that we have no control of but how we respond is in our control. Nothing can change the past, so don’t let your past dictate your future. Focus your control because what you focus on will control you. And, what you can’t control, leave to God.

Common Sense – Slaves to Ignorance

What if we were in control, yet we were ignorant to that fact? What if 2008 gave us a hint, but in our fear and ignorance we were too blind to see it?

Let’s go back to 2008 for a moment. I’m not interested in conspiracy theory, simply looking at what happened. What happened to the price of real estate? They dropped and in some places significantly. Why? Forget politics and use common sense. What caused the prices to go up? The availability of debt! What caused the prices to come down? The inability to obtain debt. This is simple, if we apply common sense.

You ever have someone give you a card on your birthday showing the prices of items when you were born compared to the prices of items now? Have you ever asked why?

Now, let me ask you another question. Who is helped when prices go up? Are you? Am I? As a financial planner for 18 years, helping people plan for the future, we were taught of a multitude of risks that every family has to be aware of; market risk, political risk, longevity risk, and interest rate risk. Another was inflation risk. What is inflation? What causes it?

In economics, we are taught about supply and demand. If the supply is too high with little demand, the price of an item will drop. If demand is high, but supply is low, the seller can charge a higher price. So, if dollars are easy to borrow, what happens to the price of stuff in high demand?

I’m going to continue with questions in hopes that it will cause you to think. Is it easier for us to build a house today than it was 30 years ago? Can cars be produced faster and easier now than in the past? Is it possible to achieve a college degree from the comfort of your own home?

What if no loans were available for a house, a car, or a college education? What would happen to the prices? What if were content with where we are until those prices came down? Could you be disciplined enough to as NO to any new debt?

An evil man once said, “Give me control of a nation’s money supply, and I care not who writes the laws.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild.

Again, keep it simple. Who borrows the money? We do! Then who controls the money supply? We do!

When we figure this out as a people and act on it, we have a chance to free ourselves and our children from the burden of debt. This is a fight that we can win together if we use Common Sense!

Just Me, Mickey

I look back on my life and now understand what the writer of Proverbs meant when he wrote in chapter 16 verse 9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” If I’m honest, for the last twenty plus years, He was establishing my steps even though I had no plan.

In 1999, I joined a financial planning firm despite having no interest in the industry prior to my father-in-law asking me to join in 1998. Prior to that, I had been floundering since my business failed in 1996 that left us with a mountain of debt.

Starting in 2009, after watching people lose half of their savings, I began to pray a specific prayer, “God, I want a door out of this business and I want to know the truth.” The more I studied and read, the more truth I learned, but the door would not open for another 8 and ½ years. When it finally did open, my faith was tested like no other time in my life.

Within two days of walking through the door, September 30, 2017, my dad went into the hospital and passed away on October 13, 2017. From October 2 through early November I would spend about 5 days at my house in Kansas and the rest of the time with my mom in SC.

On November 5th, while driving back with my oldest son from Oklahoma City after baseball, my wife sent me a text that read, “We have a new leak.” This would be the beginning of a disaster in our home that forced us out of our house for almost a month and to this date, May 7, 2018, the work that was supposed to be done, still isn’t finished.

On top of that, our youngest son has a condition called P.A.N.D.A.S., Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. It’s a condition that we didn’t know existed until 2014. This is a condition that I would not wish on any child. Because of this condition, he has practically had to be home schooled since January.

This was not what I expected when God finally opened the door for me to get out of the business. Many times I even found myself questioning God and questioning myself. Did I not do what you asked? Was that really a door that opened or did I force it open? Then, I realized that had I not walked through the door, it would have been difficult to be with my dad when he breathed his last breath. I couldn’t have been with my mom while he was in the hospital or for the time after he passed.

For an entire semester of school, I’ve spent time with my son that I couldn’t have if I hadn’t walked through that door. And, despite the struggles, he continues to get better and one day, he may have the opportunity to help more people than I ever could.

What about the house? It’s just a house. We have a roof over our head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a family that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So, what now? I believe that each and every one of us have the opportunity to make the lives of others better because of what we’ve lived through and what we know. For me, that’s 22 years of debt and 18 years in the financial industry. And, only God could have orchestrated that. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” One thing I know, is that I love God, and I believe that I’ve been called according to his purpose.

When I began to pray for a door out of the business, I thought it was because I hated the business. As I was approaching my last day in the business, the truth was, I didn’t hate all of the business. I really like helping people, but I was limited in how many I could help when my income was dependent on money under management.

How could I share my knowledge in a way that would benefit people? What was it I could do to get their attention? What should I call it? Complete Fitness? Mission Freedom? Today, I write to you as nothing other than Mickey Ellison, Me.

The knowledge that I gained in over 18 years in the financial industry has given me knowledge that could save people thousands of dollars in fees if they knew where to look. It has given me knowledge on how to help young couples prioritize in a confusing and overwhelming arena. Information that can help people make educated decisions when they change jobs or retire.

Most of the financial advisors that I know are good people that do want to help their clients achieve their goals. They are also people who have a built in conflict of interest because their income is usually derived from gathering assets or commissions and not advice. What I believe most people could use is a coach. Someone who’s income is not tied to how much money you have.

Think about it. Would you buy a house without ever seeing it? Would you pay $250,000 without having it inspected? Yet, that’s close to what most people do when they retire or invest money for any other reason. They hear terms that they don’t understand in a language that seems foreign, and assume it’s too complicated to understand. When the truth is, it is much simpler than most believe and taking a little time with someone to become educated may save you thousands, and prevent you from becoming a “victim” because you didn’t understand.

Please know, that everywhere you sign or initial on an investment application means something. Don’t sign it if you don’t understand it. I saw this hundreds of times while I was in the industry. Many times the advisor takes the blame but the reality is when you sign it or initial it, they assume that you understand. The book, prospectus, that they give you when you make an investment, should have every fee that you could possibly pay in it. On that application, you are signing that you’ve read that book and you understand.

The issue is, who can you ask that doesn’t have a vested interest in you making the investment? Maybe someone with 18 years of experience in the industry. Someone that was a Certified Financial Planner and had 4 different securities licenses.

Those 18 years of experience also had a direct relationship with 22 years of debt. Because of what we have had to go through with debt and my experience in the financial industry, I have an understanding of debt that most do not.

Debt is where the idea of Mission Freedom came from. Debt enslaves people, not only those that are in debt, but those that have no personal debt. My hope and prayer is that, we as a nation will gain an understanding of this because it very well may be the greatest threat to our freedom that exists, and there’s very little understanding of how. If we did, we would be doing everything we could to eliminate our own debt and joining forces to eliminate each other’s debt. And, I believe that can start within the church.

So, no more catchy names. It’s just me, Mickey.

mickey@mickeyellison.com

God Bless!

Education is Key: Victims of Ignorance

We are all vulnerable when we are ignorant. History if filled with stories of people who suffered because of their ignorance. Slaves in the United States were purposely kept uneducated by their owners. Products are sold to people with marketing techniques that are purposely used to manipulate.
Let’s face reality, it is impossible to be an expert in everything.
Personally, I would not consider myself to be an expert in many things, but education and experience has made all of us experts in something. There are a few things that I consider myself well versed in: Debt, financial planning, and baseball. In this blog, I am going to focus on two of them: Debt and financial planning because they work hand in hand. Both of these, I have learned more about through personal experience and education.
First, let’s look at financial planning. In 1999, I moved from SC to Kansas and began my financial planning career. It wasn’t a career that I sought, but the opportunity was presented to me and I accepted. From October 1999 until September 30, 2017, I learned things that I know can help people when they need it the most. Helping young couples when they are first married. Those same young couples as they start a family. People who have received an inheritance after the death of a loved one. Others who have lost a job and have retirement money that they need help with. Older couples as they were approaching retirement, and a host of other reasons why someone would seek a financial planner.
This world of finance can be a confusing world and it is ripe for those that prey on ignorance. In truth, most people that work in that industry are honest, hardworking people that want to help others. The problem is knowing who is and who’s not. To make it more confusing, there are celebrities that have made a living bashing the industry as a whole, and while speaking, they give generic information that sometimes can be harmful while lining their own pockets. Most often, people become “victims” because of their own ignorance.
In September of 2017, when I left the industry, I didn’t leave because I hated all of it. In fact, helping people is something I love, and I could see where help was needed but my income was dependent on selling investment products.
One question I began to ask myself was, “Why do people hand over a lifetime of savings to an adviser or broker and have no idea what they are investing in?” They are given a large book that describes what they are being sold and never read it. The interesting part is, the person selling the investment often times has not read the whole thing themselves. Think about it, you are 65 years old, you have almost a million dollars in a retirement account that has to last you for the rest of your life.
Would you buy a house for $500,000 without seeing it or having it inspected? Yet, people go into financial planning offices every day, hand over money, and never seek advice from someone that isn’t getting paid to sell the product. Some people are true victims of fraud while most are victims of their own ignorance and often their own laziness.
Eighteen years in the industry has given me knowledge that can save people thousands of dollars in fees that they don’t know they are paying because they chose not to read the prospectus or they didn’t know where to turn when they read it and didn’t understand what they were reading. Some of the most important advice I can give is, do not invest with anyone until you know what you’re investing in and how much you are paying for that investment. Not what the adviser is making! What you are paying! The two are different.
For younger couples, what should you focus on? The answer differs from couple to couple. What products to be aware of because they can be your first sign of a planner to stay away from if you know what to look for.
This is knowledge that I hope to share with anyone seeking help. Information that can prevent you from being a victim of ignorance.

DEBT
Now to debt.
For 23 years, debt has been a part of my life. Ours came from a failed business. For others it could be from student loans, auto loans, mortgages, medical bills, or credit cards. Going back to the young couple and even those younger. STAY AWAY from debt at all costs. Debt is an area where not only do I have experience, but I absolutely hate it. By working in the financial industry, I saw just how devastating debt can be. The fact is, if you were alive and an adult in 2008 during the financial crisis, you have seen just how destructive debt is but you may not know how or why. Financial giants disappeared; Lehman Brothers. And others, should have.
Have you ever wondered why those that were underwater in their mortgages were not bailed out, but those that loaned the money were?
Our everyday lives in America and around most of the globe are impacted by debt, even when we personally do not have debt ourselves. The prices of houses. The cost of cars. Especially the cost of college.
Many have offered classes to help people get out of debt. They’ve sold books, video and CD’s. None of which are bad, but we still have millions that are in debt. What I hope to start is not another class. Rather, I hope to start a debt revolution. And, my dream is a debt free body of Christ. Maybe one day, thousands of churches will join hand-in-hand to fight this beast and together we can slay it.
Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance leads to slavery.

Mickey Ellison