Mark Kenney - retirement

Health insurance, Medicare, and long-term care are deeply intertwined with your taxes and legacy plan. If you’ve done well and saved money for retirement by making sound financial decisions in your working years, we want to help you preserve those assets so you can enjoy your retirement without worrying about healthcare expenses.

To help our clients untangle this complex relationship, we’re joined by Scott Hokanson, the founder and President of Brabo Insurance. We’re thrilled to have Scott back on the podcast today to discuss the challenges so many retirees face when budgeting for healthcare.

In our conversation, Scott explains why healthcare is critical to a successful retirement plan, two choices you make when signing up for Medicare (and the advantages of each one), and how to create a strategy to get ahead of your premiums.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • Why so many retirees struggle to get access to care.
  • How medical care in retirement compares to employer-provided insurance.
  • Why HSAs are an amazing investment vehicle.
  • When to choose a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Why insurance has dramatically improved in the United States over the last 20 years.

Inspiring Quotes

  • “Where I’ve found health savings accounts help, when you’re retiring, you’ve got a little bucket there that is part of your plan that in your mind, in your spouse’s mind has been dedicated to this. It kind of makes the decision a little easier.” – Scott Hokanson
  • “There’s two things you’re never going to get back: health and time.” – Keith Ellis, Jr.


Derek Gregoire: Welcome everyone to another edition of the SHP Retirement Road Map podcast, and we are back. We have a repeat guest on today. We’re super excited. We have Scott Hokanson, owner of Brabo Benefits. So, first off, welcome back to the show.


Scott Hokanson: Thanks a lot. Appreciate you guys having me back on.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. For those of you who don’t know, we look at the five areas of SHP Financial of income planning, investments, taxes, health care, and then legacy planning. Well, inside the health care world is all about, like, health insurance, Medicare, long-term care. And it works with the tax code as well, because the more you make, the more Medicare Part B premiums go up. So, it’s all intertwined. But Scott plays a huge role on our team, helps so many of you listening right now. And so many of you that are going to join us in the future, he’s going to be your go-to. So, Scott, I know I probably shared this in the last one, but I can’t not share it. So, SHP started in 2003.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: In an attic of Hokanson’s…


Scott Hokanson: And I was your first landlord. I was your first landlord.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah, it worked out great because we didn’t have a clue and we didn’t have any money to start. So, Scott had…


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Scott was our symphony.


Derek Gregoire: He had an empty attic.


Scott Hokanson: Yeah, we had an attic. Yeah.


Derek Gregoire: No, it wasn’t an attic. It was a second-floor storage.


Scott Hokanson: Storage facility with all our filing cabinets.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Yes.


Derek Gregoire: You might have had to go through a few boxes to find us. But that’s where SHP started, was in their building in Pembroke on Schoosett Street. And we were there for the 2003 to 2005, I think. And then we kind of came down to Plymouth, and then that’s where it all started. So, thank you again.


Scott Hokanson: Listen, it’s amazing seeing what you guys. I was just talking to Michelle. And you guys are creeping up on, you got three locations, almost 50 team members here. It’s unbelievable.


Derek Gregoire: It’s been a fun time. And even our team members here, I always tell our clients, like, when we sit across from them, they’re like, “Oh, thanks, Derek. This is a lot of work.” They don’t realize– well, I tell them, like, there’s so many people behind the scenes, like your team’s helping on the health care side. We have our planning team helping on just financial planning and tax planning. We have our portfolio team. So, there’s so much going on behind the scenes where the client just sees an advisor in front of them handing the end product and so forth, but yeah. So, go ahead, Scott.


Scott Hokanson: No, I love being a part of it. And I’m proud to be able to help you guys on something that is so personal, so intimate, and so important. Everybody’s them and oftentimes, their spouse’s health care, and health insurance is what I sell. That’s how I get paid. But it’s the health care that we have to be concerned about and helping people make sure they have access, which is an incredible problem right now, doctor’s not taking new patients. And I’m sure a lot of your customers have decided to change. They raise their family one area, now they’re moving to wherever they’re moving to, and signing up with doctors and having access is one of our biggest challenges, which is why I think you send your clients to me and our team because we make sure, first of all, they have access to the care they need. And then we work on the pricing after that.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Exactly.


Derek Gregoire: Well, that’s a huge thing. If we think about, like, that’s the white glove service we provide to our clients, it’s so easy when we refer them to Scott and his team at Brabo because we know they’re going to get taken care of just the same. And I always say, listen, this isn’t like a sales thing where they’re going to try to sell you some health insurance. They’re going to look at your situation and advise what’s best. They’ve been doing it for a long time. They don’t need every single penny. They’re not trying to get every last dollar, just trying to help you navigate.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Put you in the right direction.


Derek Gregoire: It’s complicated.


Scott Hokanson: It is. Let’s just talk about that. I mean, there’s really two different stages. You can get health insurance on your own if you’re under age 65. Last time’s people look at, okay, I can’t retire from 65. I know I’ll get Medicare at 65. Medicare at 65 is such a positive because you’ve been paying for Part A your whole life. Part A is worth about $500 a month. So, you’ve been paying for it. Your employer has been paying for it. So, the reason why Medicare is cheaper and better and all that type of stuff is because you’re starting on third base. If you want to get the home base, you’re starting on second or third base. So, Part A of Medicare is why Medicare makes it all much more affordable.


But if you’re able to and you want to retire at 60, we can also help you there too. It’s not going to be your favorite meeting. It’s expensive. You know what I mean? And what I’ve found too is people that have that ability, people that have the ability to retire early like that usually are coming from successful environments. And those successful environments usually have really good employee benefits. And the private market, you have a bit of an adjustment. There’s no longer going to be a no deductible plan and whatever else.


Derek Gregoire: See whoever you want.


Scott Hokanson: So, I’ll still make sure they can see who they want. But on average, 60-year-old in Massachusetts, you could be paying about $1,000 a month in fixed expenses. But you can be exposed to $5,000 to $10,000 of variable expenses, deductibles, and all that kind of stuff.


Derek Gregoire: Keith, we were talking about there. How many clients have we sat down with that have plenty of money to retire, but they’re like, I just don’t know if the health care situation really has me bothered?


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Yeah, they’re extremely hesitant, probably because a lot of it’s like an unknown. Like Scott was just saying, hey, look, I have this great coverage right now. Now, I’m going to let that coverage go, retire, right? And step out into a different environment where the coverage, like you said, paying a little bit more than I probably did when I was working or a lot more. And when I go see the doctor, I still have to come out of pocket with a lot of things. All that being said, I always tell people, look, there’s two things you’re never going to get back, health and time. You know what I mean? If you can retire early and your plan fits it and you feel comfortable doing it, it’s something you should definitely explore. And health insurance shouldn’t be the barrier having to make that decision.


Scott Hokanson: It’s a budget I have. And for those of you that are a long way away from retiring and your employer’s office, that health savings account can actually help you. And where I’ve found health savings accounts help as well is mentally, people have chosen that money to go towards their health insurance. You know what I mean? It’s in a different bucket. And I think, guys, I’m not the financial advisor here, but what you guys feel about health savings accounts, but it’s just another way to help pay for your health insurance. And when you’re retiring, you’ve got a little bucket there that is part of your plan that in your mind, in your spouse’s mind has been dedicated to this. It kind of makes the decision a little easier. You know what I mean?


Derek Gregoire: There’s two things on that, one, for so many clients, now, I say listen because I think clients, the thing when they don’t have a financial plan, like it’s one thing to have a portfolio, but to have a plan where you can see things playing out over time, I always say, do you want to just get buy and retire? Or do you want to know what’s possible? Because what’s possible is we just build an extra budget for $25,000, $30,000 a year from 60 to 65, whatever it is. And that in a lot of times, their plan holds just fine. So, it’s like if every day you go to work, you’re just doing that to pass on assets to the next generation.


Now, maybe that’s what maybe that they want to or maybe they’d be bored to retire. But that’s the first thing is make sure if you’re not retiring because of health care, it could be a logical reason to not retire for some of you, but some of you might have saved enough where you have plenty, where you just build it into your budget and you’re fine. Secondly, HSAs are amazing.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: I was hoping you could unpack a little bit because we’ve talked a lot about HSAs.


Derek Gregoire: I’m going to ask Kevin why I would go and maybe you can give us during the show the episode because we had, like, one of our clients is one of the foremost, he’s like the HSA guru.


Scott Hokanson: Well, you can tell him that I was in Howard’s Ville, Wisconsin in the late 90s. Literally, a bank that has now– HSA Bank by Webster Bank.


Derek Gregoire: That’s right.


Scott Hokanson: Yeah. And I was there in the late 90s, figuring out how to make it work for our clients. And real exciting part, I remember I was five, six years into my career, and it was a real cool thing that I became an expert on early that a lot of people didn’t know about, and it really didn’t take– I was an expert on something nobody cared about for about 10 years. And then 10 years later, that was kind of a cliff vesting. All of a sudden, people were interested in it.


And long story short, what a health savings account does is it allows you, as a member of a health plan, to put money aside into something called a health savings account. It’s really just a checking account. But that checking account goes in tax free, grows tax free, and comes out for the right reasons tax free. And here’s my promise to you, I will always give you enough bills for the rest of your life. You can come out tax free with no problem. There’s always going to be health insurance bills. Okay? So, whether you decide to retire at 60 or 65 or 70, health savings account can be used for premiums and deductibles and dental, like crowns and inlays, and vision expenses, hearing aids, CPAP machines, all this stuff is eligible under health savings account.


And while you’re working, especially when you’re young and you’re not using the plan a lot, a lot of people buy the most expensive plan from their employer, buy a less expensive plan, put money into a health savings account, and I promise you you’re going to win. I have five children. We use the plan all the time. I have a good amount still in my health savings account. Now, my wife and I have decided that if it’s less than 100 bucks, we just pay out of our regular checking account.


But the big bills, orthodontia, in her mind, the kids’ orthodontia, it’s not in her checking account, so it’s free. Spouse math, I got to fight off sometimes. But in her mind, it’s really not coming out of our household budget. And I really want to get across that mindset of whether it’s formally through health savings account or through SHP onto a portion that’s dedicated towards, that freedom of knowing, this is what we plan for that. I’ve found people have sat in my office and they look at each other and it’s that little aha moment. Yeah, we can do this.


Derek Gregoire: We can do this.


Scott Hokanson: We can do this. Well, now, we’ve done it and you’ve earned it. And nobody’s gotten to that point to try and retire at 60 because they haven’t worked hard.


Derek Gregoire: Well, the good point you mentioned is, like, sometimes, I have some clients that have had 529 plans and they never use them all. And that does happen. My wife and I, we have the HSA. We’re just kind of letting it grow because you can invest it and it’s taxed. So, I’m trying to let it grow to older because like you said, you’re not going to worry about running out of health care expenses. There’s so much to worry about. So, if you want a detailed, like full detailed podcast on HSAs, we have a client that keeps the legislation on it. It’s Episode 37 of our podcast. So, I think we’re in the 50s now. That’s Episode 37, if you want to check back. All right, so now, let’s say someone is looking towards Medicare. Maybe they do want to work, or maybe they’re retired, but they’re looking forward to Medicare. No one’s ever looked forward to 65 so much.


Scott Hokanson: Well, like I said, it’s the first time in your life, you’re going to get good news with respect to health insurance. My life, my retirement plan, I’m going to sell Medicare for the rest of my life. My main talent is selling an employer’s health insurance plans. And I’m going to retire from that because that’s a very difficult job at the moment. But meeting with people and showing them their options on Medicare, it’s a beautiful, fun event.


Derek Gregoire: Money’s going down.


Scott Hokanson: Save money. And essentially, when you turn 64, your mailbox and your phone are going to blow up with marketing. Okay? And there’s going to be all sorts of scare tactics and mean and all this kind of stuff. Nothing I can do about that. But essentially, just know that when you decide to go on to Medicare, all of your choices really come down to two choices. Do you want a Medicare Advantage plan, which is run by an insurance company? That’s what 75% of my clients take. It includes medical, dental, vision, prescriptions all under one umbrella. But you have an insurance company saying, oh, I know you want knee surgery. Why don’t you try physical therapy first?


So, that’s just like you have under your employer. There’s usually Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross involved. And they’re involved. They’re involved on whether or not you’re entitled to care. Those can be as cheap as $0 per month. So, for a couple, they save about $5,000 a year. Twenty-five percent of our clients take a supplement, which is Medicare is deciding yes or no if you’re entitled to knee surgery, and politicians don’t say no. So, the experience of being on a supplement is far better medically. You don’t get all the bells and whistles. You don’t get the dental, the vision, and all kind of stuff.


But if you have tough care issues, a supplement is 99% the better home for you. If you’re healthy-ish, you’re on cholesterol and heart meds and whatever else, lots of times I recommend save the money, go on to Advantage plan because no matter what, every January 1st, you can change your mind. So, I am healthy, let’s save the five grand. We are on a couple of meds and we go to the doctor a couple times a year. Let’s save the money. And then next January 1st, we’ll enroll. And the worst-case scenario is not a bad scenario.


Derek Gregoire: It’s like you’re going to spend $2 million.


Scott Hokanson: You still have health insurance. Basically, you can go on a Medicare Advantage plan and be in the same situation you are under your employer plan. If you Google which one’s better, a supplement wins every time because the people that are experiencing cancer or big treatments or something like that, a supplement is just easier to deal with. So, the tough thing is, the only tough calls I get, I don’t know, I guess, when somebody got a bad diagnosis. And they made the other decision in January. And I can’t change their plan until January 1st.


But the top one example and if you look at Episode 3, I might have used it way back when as well. But I had the situation, and husband and wife, they both were on an Advantage plan, and the wife had deteriorating memory care issues. And he found her a bed in August, but they only took supplements, not Advantage plans. And it broke his heart. And I’m like, “Listen, what we can do is we can just cancel the Advantage plan.” And then he was left with Medicare A and B, which meant he had to pay 20% of the bill for the month. And that’s what he did. That’s what he did, even in that situation.


And we’re like, listen, in January, we’re upgrading to the supplement. Now, sadly, she didn’t make it to January, but that’s where we got involved. So, to me, I’ve been selling since 1994. That’s the one time I’ve had, and like I said, I don’t know when Episode 3 was. It was a couple of years ago, I’m sure. I haven’t had another one since. You know what I mean? But there’s…


Derek Gregoire: Even that scenario cost wise, it wasn’t like…


Scott Hokanson: Listen, it’s five grand for 10 years.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah, exactly.


Scott Hokanson: Do you know what I mean? And he wasn’t mad at me. It was just, he just loved his wife and wanted to get her where he thought she should be. But what I like to put out is perspective. If you’re on an Advantage plan and they charge $0 in premium, the reason why they can do that is because the government gives them the budget they’ve set aside for health insurance. Okay? They say, listen, if somebody signs up for Medicare, we budget this dollar amount per month. And if you’re on a supplement, the government’s stuck with the bills. If they’re on an Advantage plan, then the insurance company is stuck with the bills.


Well, the insurance company has found that they say no so much. They manage your care so much, they can give you free dental, free vision, free hearing aids, free prescriptions. So, that should put it in perspective for you, okay, it’s zero, that’s great, but there’s a reason why. There’s a reason why. And I think the knee surgery is the perfect best example because that’s practically what happens in the real world. You want knee surgery. If you’re on a supplement, you probably get it. If you’re on an Advantage plan, they’re going to say, we’re going to make you go through physical therapy first, okay.


Derek Gregoire: Even though you know…


Scott Hokanson: Cancer is covered everywhere. Heart attacks, cover that, don’t worry about that. It’s the annoying stuff that maybe the insurance company can try and save money on.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. So, if people are listening and they’re in their 60s getting close to 65, when do they actually sign up? How soon before?


Scott Hokanson: Well, you have to decide if you’re going to leave your employer’s plan or wherever you’re getting health insurance today and go on to a plan. So, things come into play, has my spouse turned 65, and whatever else. So, if the subscriber, so the person working that buys the health insurance, if they leave, their spouse has to kind of go with them. You know what I mean? So, we got to factor that in.


But the timing is very simple. You can sign up two months before the month of, two months after you turn 65. So, there’s your open enrollment, and then you can always sign up on January 1st. One of the most frustrating things that I hope you guys see and you guys vet out and that I see is somebody is 67, they’ve been working. They’re covered by their employer’s plan and they’re paying for Part B because they’re afraid of some penalty that’s out there. If your employer’s plan meets MCC, the minimum creditable coverage from the…


Derek Gregoire: Most do, right?


Scott Hokanson: If your employer’s based in Florida or Texas, check it. But everywhere else, okay, Massachusetts, 100% are credible. If your plan meets minimum creditable coverage and you’ve decided the right thing for you to stay on the employer’s plan, you should not be on Part B, and that is just disappointing. Yeah, it’s just wasted because you might be able to get one month back, but they’re not going to go back a year. And it’s very tough.


Derek Gregoire: That’s a good point because some people, they always ask you, like, you’re working and you have an employer plan, you can wait until after. There’s no penalty.


Scott Hokanson: There’s absolutely no penalty. And let’s say you want to quit work, you want to retire on May 1st, that’s a qualifying event.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah, it’s qualifying event.


Scott Hokanson: So, we have open enrollment, January 1st, we have when you turn 65, but then we have a handful of other dates that include loss of employer coverage, that’s a very common one, but also change of residence. You lost your primary care physician because you moved from the North Shore to the Pine Hills here in Plymouth. Okay, that becomes an event. And in fact, we’re going to have a problem with this right now. Steward’s closing a handful of hospitals.


Derek Gregoire: I saw that.


Scott Hokanson: And if you were going to Steward and your plan, that was your primary care doctor, that becomes a qualifying event for you because now you can re-evaluate, and I can make sure you have access to a new doctor that’s accepting new patients in that area, which is going to be a problem for us.


Derek Gregoire: I have a question. If someone is like on, I get this question a lot, if someone, let’s say, husband and wife are on a work plan. So, let’s say the wife’s working. She has a health care coverage. She’s 63. The husband turns 65. Are there any plans to work become cheaper when…


Scott Hokanson: Sure. So, in my office, I pay 65% of my employees’ health insurance. But I’m only paying 65% of the single or the couple or what have you. So, let’s say, it costs $1,000 a couple, the employee is responsible for $350 there. But if it’s $500, they’re only responsible for $150. So, it’s 200 bucks a month.


Derek Gregoire: So, sometimes, it makes sense for someone to get off, go on Medicare or the Advantage or whatever.


Scott Hokanson: Which is literally why I do Medicare today. I started doing this because health insurance got so expensive. Even when the employer was paying half, it’s cheaper for people to leave the plan and go on Medicare and be better off. So, if they just pay for Part B and if they buy the extra $200 for the supplement, fine. But they can leave their employer plan and save money and get better benefits. That’s awesome.


Derek Gregoire: Well, you can see and a lot of clients who have been with us for some 20, 21 years, but you know, in this scenario, for us to be able to give that portion of like, think of how this, you need a PhD. I always say people that do it yourselfers, maybe they know how to manage a portfolio. But to be able to manage a portfolio, keep up with the changing tax codes. The legislation changes. The health care world by itself is like a whole– you need a PhD just for that. My point is like, I think that’s what we pride ourselves here at SHP of having best of the best in each category, so client’s not to worry about going here and there, figuring it out. It’s like, this is a lot of information, a lot of work for someone trying to figure it out themselves.


Scott Hokanson: I get a lot of referrals from this team here at SHP. And I would say three quarters of them don’t buy insurance from me. They are where they should be. They’re doing the right thing. But 15 minutes with me, they feel better. They feel better. Now, I know what my situation is. Scott, I’ll call you two years from now. So, they’re 66 and they think they need to, but they’re not retiring until 70. They want to max out Social Security, whatever. They’ve got all sorts of different plans. And it takes me 15 minutes, 20 minutes.


Derek Gregoire: Sometimes, it would take them like three days.


Scott Hokanson: Right, right. And I love you all. But the fact that your sister was in billing in a doctor’s office, you don’t have to prove that you’re smarter than me on Medicare. I gotcha. All right. But it’s funny, 15 minutes with me, half hour with me, you’ll know your situation, and then we’ll go from there. I joke and I’m telling my wife, they’re not part of our financial plan. I’ll be doing this forever because they’re great meetings. They’re happy people. People are retiring. They’re in a good mood. You know what I mean? And there are some negative situations right now. And one of the big ones right now is we have the Ozempics and Wegovys, and I think, it’s Trulicity.


Derek Gregoire: Oh, yeah.


Scott Hokanson: They’re tough to get, but they’re really expensive and…


Derek Gregoire: Health insurance covers them?


Scott Hokanson: Yeah. So, health insurance does. If you’re diabetic, you have to have certain qualifications and that type of stuff. But these, like, Enbrel, Humira, the expensive arthritis meds, those are the tough conversations. So, nine times out of ten people walk out of my office happy. The one out of ten is when one of the family members is stuck with an expensive medication because that’s going to be a financial consideration. We’ll have caps or maximums but…


Derek Gregoire: Still more costly.


Scott Hokanson: Yeah, it’s going to be more costly than you’re probably experiencing in an employer environment. And that’s one area where I see people decide to stay on the employer plan because a prescription doughnut hole incident doesn’t apply usually. And with me, sometimes it does.


Derek Gregoire: How about some of the questions, like, if someone’s collecting Social Security, you’re not collecting Social Security, does that…


Scott Hokanson: Doesn’t matter, yep. So, you’re entitled to Medicare for the Medicare reasons. Turning 65, stopping employer coverage, those are pretty much the two reasons. So, you can sign up. And if you choose to delay collecting Social Security, we’ll just send you bill. We’ll get the billing.


Derek Gregoire: And then after you’re on, it comes out of your Social Security.


Scott Hokanson: It comes out of your Social Security.


Derek Gregoire: Well, the other thing too, Keith, in planning, so when it comes to tax planning, we try to look at Roth conversions as an opportunity when they’re available, which we always say, if you can convert to Roth and it works in this situation, again, not everyone should go do this, it has to be in a plan. But if you can do it before in your early 60s, it’s a huge advantage because as you get close to or in Medicare age, you start having the Medicare Part B premium conversation.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Yeah, usually, I always call it two taxes we’re looking at when we’re calculating IRA to Roth IRA conversions. Again, like Derek said, this isn’t for everybody. But you really want to make sure that if it is applicable to you, you’re getting ahead, to be able to compound interest tax free for 10, 15, that’s a powerful thing, right? So, almost like you were talking about with the HSAs, triple tax free. And now, money comes out. That’s a powerful thing.


So, the first tax we look at is your federal tax, state tax, just your income tax in that regard. Second tax is, and I know Medicare doesn’t want to call it that, but it’s a tax. It’s what you pay in Part B. And the more you make, the more you pay. So, when you construct a proposal for a client, you want to take them through, hey, look, here’s what you’re going to pay an income tax. And if you want to stay in your current Medicare rate, here’s the amount we would recommend. Now, you kind of make escalations across. Hey, if you want to jump to the next one to the– and you let the client choose. But at least they’re educated. They know. And we are taking it into consideration because it is going to cost the money. It is only a one-year time frame. They reset that every year, correct?


Derek Gregoire: Well, what happens a lot of times, if we have clients that if you do nothing because you have a good income and you have a lot of money in IRAs, we don’t do any planning by the time, depending on when the RMD is 73 to 75, depending on their age now. The RMD age, they have to pull money out of their 401(k)’s, IRAs. And at that time, they might have Social Security, investment income, pension. And so, maybe right now, they’re in the lower tier Medicare premium, which right now is $174.70, thanks to Scott. So, if you’re in the lower tier, that’s where you are.


But if you start going into the higher tier, it goes $174 to $257 all the way up to $675 per month per person, depending on where you’re– and that’s obviously, if you have a really high taxable income. But the point is you might be in a good place from 65 to 74, 75, you might, God willing, have 20, 25 years of life left. And if we don’t do any planning ahead of time, you might be paying that Medicare premium every single year ongoing where, with proper planning, maybe you can get ahead of that.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: You’re kind of taking control. And I always say, you’re…


Scott Hokanson: Take the hit one year.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Yeah. By not doing it now, you’re kind of kicking the can down the road into the unknown. The unknown when it comes to Medicare, rules can change. And the unknown into tax codes, I mean, with the way that we spend money, federally, rubber’s going to meet the road somewhere. You know what I mean? In regards to our deficits, you got to start to get paid down at some point or some type of control restriction. What’s the low hanging fruit, in my opinion? Retirement accounts. All they have to do is stroke of a pen, they get more of it.


Derek Gregoire: So, think about like the whole point of this is like income planning as you’re pulling money out of IRAs relates to tax planning because how much you take increases your tax bracket, but also relates to health care planning, not just the health care in general, but the tax that comes out of it or the Medicare premium based on how much income you have for that year. So, it’s a puzzle beyond just like…


Scott Hokanson: That’s the fascinating part and why you need experts in all these different areas because I can barely spell tax. You know what I mean? It’s not my expertise. I am as good as a person you’re ever going to find on health insurance and health care. And this gets so complicated. And these rules are changing every year. The dollar amounts are changing every year. There’s elections every four years. There’s all this stuff that’s happening all the time. And coming up with a plan is just fascinating, like I said. So, there are times where your clients come into my office and they tell me some of the stress. So, they ask me, did Keith or Derek or Matt, this is what we’re doing? I’m like, no, no, I’m out of that. I said, I’m not involved with that discussion, I said…


Derek Gregoire: I’m just doing the health care.


Scott Hokanson: Usually, it’s the Roth conversions, that kind of stuff, and I’m like, guys, I said, I’m here for this one page, okay? But it’s fascinating how, with planning, people win. And I love this country, but I don’t have to give them extra fees.


Derek Gregoire: I was at the gym this morning, and one of the guys I see every day, he’s been with a firm for like ever. And they’re at a different state, I would never, I’m like, but if he has questions, I help him out. And I was saying like, I said, listen, if you have a firm that just– and I say this all the time, they just manage your money and that’s all you talk about is like the– hey, I have stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, that’s like 101 of retirement. And so, I always say I don’t care if it’s with us or someone else. Make sure you have a firm that has experts in each of those areas. And that’s what I mentioned.


Like, earlier, we have an expert in-house team on planning. We work with CPAs and attorneys on the tax side and legacy side. We work with Scott and his team on the health care side. So, each of these areas, it’s like, how do you say, like, let’s say you’re putting a brand-new lawn in, right? If you just put it in, it’s going to look nice and green right away. But talk about all the legislation changes, all the tax changes, all the health care changes, stocks, everything that changes over time. If you just put a nice lawn and let it sit there, it’s going to go to trash. It’s going to be all brown and weeds and everything like that. But if you make sure all the i’s dot and t’s across and you’re taking care of all the little weed issues and fungicides and doing the mowing and the irrigation and all these little things, like financial planning, the lawn’s going to be nice and green, and same with planning. So, that’s my lawn analogy.


Scott Hokanson: It’s awesome.


Derek Gregoire: Not bad, huh? But yeah, so as we wrap up here, and I think we’ve gone through most of the things you want to talk about. Obviously, there’s a lot of information and people’s heads spinning, so they might want to listen again. But any final, like, just final thoughts? So, things we didn’t cover that is worth knowing.


Scott Hokanson: Just find someone like myself to meet with. When you’re 63, 64 years old, know what you’re up against and be ready for that plan. And don’t be afraid. I’ll tell you what the cost to health insurance is, and then you and your financial planners can decide if you can retire at age 60. It’s not a no. You don’t have to wait till Social Security. You don’t have to wait till Medicare. Just know that there’s a cost and it’s finite.


And the other part too is with national health care reform 15, 20 years ago, whatever it was, there is no bad health insurance being sold in the United States. There just isn’t. Okay? We’ve got good health insurance. Your cancers, your heart attacks, all that stuff is going to be covered. All we’re talking about is what your co-pays and deductibles and your access to care issue is. And making sure you have access to where you want to go when you need it, to me, is my most important job.


The pricing and the dollars are important too, but there’s not that big a difference. It’s $5,000 per couple per year is my top to bottom delta. Do you know what I mean? It’s a big number, but it’s really not life changing if your spouse has cancer. So, really appreciate working with you guys. And we’re here for you. We’re here for your clients, and…


Derek Gregoire: So, the easiest way is, obviously, go to our website,, you can reach out. But is your website, Brabo…


Scott Hokanson:, just Google Brabo Plymouth, Mass, you’ll find us, B-R-A-B-O, two B’s.


Derek Gregoire: Perfect.


Scott Hokanson: But obviously, go through your advisor here at SHP, believe me, they know how to find me. I have a little Calendly link, and I set up a half-hour meeting. We can do it in person.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Exactly worth it.


Scott Hokanson: And it’s funny, my Medicare meeting used to be 100% in person. Now, it’s about half. People learn Zoom.


Derek Gregoire: Zoom is a great thing.


Scott Hokanson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I’m always happy to meet people in person, and we’re about 10 minutes up the road from SHP.


Keith Ellis, Jr.: Right in Plymouth.


Derek Gregoire: So, yeah, that’s awesome. And as always, thank you so much. You’ve been a great resource, taking care of our clients. And you can see this is just a lot of information. Don’t try to go out this alone. We have help for you to be able to navigate these waters. So, thank you so much for joining, Scott. And for everyone, have a great day. And thanks for listening to the SHP Road Map, brought to you by SHP Financial.

The content presented is for informational purposes only and is not intended as offering financial, tax, or legal advice, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Some of the informational content presented was prepared and provided by tMedia, LLC, while other content presented may be from outside sources believed to be providing accurate information. Regardless of source no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of any information presented is implied. tMedia, LLC is not affiliated with the Advisor, Advisor’s RIA, Broker-Dealer, or any state or SEC registered investment advisory firm. Before making any decisions you should consult a tax or legal professional to discuss your personal situation.Investment Advisory Services are offered through SHP Wealth Management LLC., an SEC registered investment advisor. Insurance sales are offered through SHP Financial, LLC. These are separate entities, Matthew Chapman Peck, CFP®, CIMA®, Derek Louis Gregoire, and Keith Winslow Ellis Jr. are independent licensed insurance agents, and Owners/Partners of an insurance agency, SHP Financial, LLC.. In addition, other supervised persons of SHP Wealth Management, LLC. are independent licensed insurance agents of SHP Financial, LLC. No statements made shall constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal or tax professional before investing. Both SHP Wealth Management, LLC. and SHP Financial, LLC. will offer clients advice and/or products from each entity. No client is under any obligation to purchase any insurance product.
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