Jason interviews Sally Balch Hurme author of Get The Most Out of Retirement: Checklist for Happiness, Health, Purpose, and Financial Security.

Sally Balch Hurme is also the author of the bestselling Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes as well as Checklist for Family Survivors, the 2015 Grand APEX Award winner, and Checklist for Family Caregivers. A lawyer with more than 20 years of experience advocating for people 50-plus and helping them understand complex issues, she recently retired and shares her professional expertise and personal experience in this newest book in her Checklist series.

To purchase a copy of her most recent book Get The Most Out of Retirement please visit: www.aarp.org/entertainment/books/bookstore


Below is the full transcript:


Announcer: Welcome back, America, to Sound Retirement Radio where we bring you concepts, ideas, and strategies designed to help you achieve clarity, confidence, and freedom as you prepare for and transition through retirement. Now, here is you host, Jason Parker.

Jason: America, welcome back to another round of Sound Retirement Radio. So glad to have you tuning in this morning. As you know, we’re always looking to bring experts onto this program who we believe can add significant, meaningful value to your life as you’re preparing for and transitioning into and through retirement. It is my good fortune … I’m going to do a proper introduction here in a minute, but author Sally Balch Hurme is going to be our guest, and so we’re going to bring her on in just a minute. She’s got a new book out.

Before I do, as you know, I think a great way to start the morning is by renewing our mind. My Bible app this morning actually shared this one with me, and I think this is always a good reminder. Some of you may remember it from your wedding day, but 1 Corinthians 13, Verse 4 and 5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.” That’s just awesome. What a great verse.

Then some of you are going to be visiting with your grandkids this weekend, and so we always want to give you a joke, something to put on their face. Nothing better than seeing the grandkids looking up at you like, “Gosh, Grandpa, Grandma, that was a horrible joke,” but here you go. Why are ghosts bad liars? Because you can see right through them.

All right. Folks, you’re listening to episode 126, and like I say, it’s my good fortune to have Sally Balch Hurme on the program. I’m just going to read you some of the information that was sent to me, and then we’ll bring her on and ask her some questions. Here it is, “Are you ready for retirement? Seven in 10 adults fear they won’t have enough money to retire, and six in 10 want financial guidance. Whether we plan or procrastinate, all of us want to achieve the dream of a comfortable, secure, and exciting retirement.

“That’s why AARP in conjunction with the American Bar Association is releasing Get the Most Out of Retirement: A Checklist for Happiness, Health, Purpose, and Financial Security by expert Sally Balch Hurme. A lawyer with more than 20 years of experience advocating for people 50+, a recent retiree herself, and the best-selling author of Checklist for My Family, Hurme packs this book with the tools and knowledge needed to not only plan for and transition well into retirement, but also how to make the most out of this new life adventure.”

Sally, welcome to Sound Retirement Radio.

Sally: Thank you, Jason, I’m so glad to be here.

Jason: All right. Start off, just maybe share with our listeners … You’ve written several other books in the past. Why did you go ahead and write this one?

Sally: I had the exciting adventure of becoming retired, and I knew that there was lots of information that I had collected in my other AARP book, and so I thought maybe I could share some of the experiences I had transitioning into retirement and thought that I could help others who were kind of bewildered about just what is retirement going to be like, how I’m going to organize my life and my finances and my time. I pulled it all together, and it was my adventure myself into getting the most out of retirement.

Jason: Awesome. I met with somebody recently, Sally, who was sharing this. She’s getting to retire, and she said, “Jason, I feel like I’m stepping into an abyss, and there’s this uncertainty, there’s this worry.” What do you think worries people the most about making this transition into retirement?

Sally: I think probably the thing that people worry about most is just, “What am I going to do with my time? How am I going to continue to be productive? How is it going to change my relationships with all those around me?” Then, of course, in the back of your mind is, “How am I going to afford it? Am I going to have enough money to do all the things that I want to do?”

Jason: Yeah. Somebody else I just met with recently said, “Jason, you know, I’ve worked since I was a teenager. This is what I’ve known. This is my routine. This is what I’ve done my whole life, and now all of a sudden that’s going to change.” That can be a really scary endeavor for people. What are some of the tips or what were some of the things you did, Sally, as you made that transition into retirement to just give you more peace of mind?

Sally: I certainly had that same identity crisis as I approached retirement, because I’ve been working all of my life. I’d gone to the office every day for many, many years. One of the first things that I did was that I tried to create the same sort of schedule. I got a little office and got up and went to work every day, doing a totally different kind of activity, but I still thought it was important to maintain a similar schedule to what I had done previously. Sort of thinking about what’s best to do as you’re approaching retirement, I think a key thing is to just take a moment or a lot of time to think about what do you want to do more of and what do you want to do less of, and who do you want to spend more time with and who do you want to spend less time with.

Then, after you’ve sort of begun to think about the answers to those questions, just keep talking. Make sure all of those around you, your spouse, your colleagues, your family, all of your friends, they can assist you in figuring out what it is that is going to work for you as you transition into a new environment. Make sure that those around you share your vision and understand your expectations for your new life and how it’s going to impact them.

Jason: I was just thinking this morning, if we were to … Because I think it can be intimidating sometimes to think way out into the future and to think about all of these things that people have been dreaming about doing, the travel they want to do, the time they want to spend, the places they want to go, the road trips they want. It can be so overwhelming. Sometimes I think it could just be if you were to sit down and describe your perfect day, imagine you just had one day to live, what would that look like. If you just designed retirement one day at a time, boy, I think that would really get some people some mileage. What are your thoughts about that?

Sally: Taking little steps into your new adventure is probably very wise. You don’t necessarily need to plan out the next 20 years, because if you think about the changes that you’ve encountered, let’s say, between the ages of 20 and 40 or 40 and 60, you can’t plan every detail. One of the things that I suggest when people are thinking about just, “How am I going to transition into retirement?” is to try something, some little new thing. Maybe try out just a course at the community college or try out learning a new sport or maybe taking that, trying maybe music lessons or getting back to the piano that you haven’t touched since you were a kid taking piano lessons. Try a little something new and see if that brings you sort of the excitement and the enrichment and engagement that you’ve perhaps had to ignore while you had your regular nine-to-five daytime job.

Jason: Yeah. For me, too, because I tend to get in these ruts where I’m very routine-oriented, so I tend to do the same thing over and over and over again. Sometimes little changes, just like when I go jogging, just go in a different direction, a different path, seeing different things, that can be exciting. Was there anything that you did, as you talk about this idea of trying something new, that was just refreshing and invigorating for you?

Sally: The key thing that I thoroughly enjoyed as I entered retirement is that I took up kayaking. We moved to be closer to our grandkids, and we moved … We’re right in the Shenandoah Valley, where the Shenandoah River is, which is a fabulous place to kayak. I got to spend a lot of time learning and enjoying and getting much better at going kayaking, which was a sport that I never tried until I retired.

Jason: That’s awesome. Tell me about that trip, that moving to where your family was. Was that hard for you to pick up and leave the place? Had you been in this other community for a long period of time? Was it hard to make that transition?

Sally: No, it wasn’t. For me, it was not hard at all. It was a thrill to leave the Washington metropolitan area where I had a very long commute. It was great to have that opportunity to move, to be closer to my grandkids. They’re nine and 12, and I now can be very much involved in their activities, helping them get to school when they miss the bus, going to baseball practices and chaperoning on field trips with the elementary school classes.

For me, the move was invigorating. It also was exhausting going through that whole process of packing up. We downsized a bit, so sorting through, going through the attic and the basement and the garage, all of that took a lot of energy and was pretty … It wasn’t traumatic. To a degree, it was almost cathartic to have that opportunity to sort through and get rid of and organize and find new places in my new home for everything.

Jason: Hmm. That’s awesome. I love the fact that you’ve been through this transition recently, so you can share not just ideas or concepts, but your actual, real-life experience and what it was like. Folks, if you’re just tuning in to the program, I want to remind you you’re listening to episode 126. I’ve got Sally Balch Hurme on the program. She’s an author. She has a new book out called Get the Most Out of Retirement. Sally, you mentioned that you were the victim of a scam, and so you talk about how to avoid financial exploitation. Would you mind sharing with our listeners what happened, what was your experience, and then what people need to look out for there?

Sally: Actually, it was my husband’s experience. He got ensnared in the granny scam, or the imposter scam, where somebody called him in the middle of the day and pretended to be our daughter who was hysterical because she’d been arrested and she was in jail in Los Angeles. Of course, it was a total hoax. He was instructed to go to the bank and get cash and then go to Walmart to buy a Green Dot card for $3,000. Then they collected the numbers off of the card and the money was gone.

As soon as I came home, I immediately recognized that this was a total hoax. While I was at AARP, I spent a lot of time doing consumer education around frauds and scams. To think that my husband could be ensnared by it was just astounding, but as the scammers do, they used psychology and hit all those buttons about how you want to be sure that your children are safe and not in trouble and you obviously want to help them out.

The scam shows a lot of red flags that would work, that are prevalent regardless of what the scam is. Probably the biggest red flag of any one of these kinds of scams is wire money or use these prepaid cards like Green Dot or MoneyGram or Western Union or whatever it might be. The scammers know that these wire transfers are just like putting cash under your front doormat. Once you’ve wired that money, then you’re completely out of luck. It’s extraordinarily difficult to track down where that money went.

The signs of scams are wiring money, “Act now, don’t verify. I’m someone you should trust,” and, therefore, you don’t need to figure out whether whatever the scam is is true. Other signs of scams are pitches that say, “You’re one of the very few who have been selected to …” or, obviously, the age-old sweepstakes scam, “You’ve won,” and they get everybody excited about the fact that they’re going to be receiving these large sums of money, and, of course, they have to pay for it. It’s all illegal. The key that scammers use is to try to sweep you up into the excitement or the emergency or the experience of a sudden call that you need to react to immediately.

Jason: Right.

Sally: You really need to always engage your head rather than your heart. Independently verify, slow down the transaction to find out what really is going on, and if they keep pestering you, just hang up.

Jason: Yeah. Boy, that’s great advice. That experience your husband had, I actually met with a woman recently who had a very similar experience, but the person called and said it was her grandson. In that case, it was go down and buy some Target gift cards, but very similar exciting story to what you just shared. She’s a very smart lady, but she got wrapped up in the emotion. I know for me personally, last year, I remember getting all these telephone calls at our home number that it was supposedly the IRS leaving me a message saying that they’re going to garnish wages and they’re coming after me, and ooph. I almost wanted to call them back and record them just for the radio show, just to see what it would be like to be on the … Maybe I’ll do that next time they start calling me about that.

Then the other one that I almost got suckered into was the fake e-mail, the e-mail that comes, it looks like it’s from your financial institution that says, “Hey, somebody tried to access your account. Click here and sign in,” or whatever they do to capture your e-mail. I remember getting one of those once, thinking, “Oh, my goodness, what’s this?” Fortunately, I talked to my wife. One of the things I guess I would chime in on there, too, Sally, is before you act, just talk to somebody else, because sometimes just getting another person involved can really make a big difference.

Sally: It really can. Another scam that traditionally goes around that’s along the same line is the jury duty scam, that you failed to show for jury duty, but if you pay X amount of dollars, then you can avoid being arrested. The cop’s on his way, but if you pay now your fine for not showing up for jury duty, we won’t arrest you.

Jason: I see. That’s timely. I’m on call for jury duty this week, so that’s a very timely scam to [inaudible 00:19:12]. We’re almost out of time. I can’t believe it. One of the things you write about are the top three things people need to be more cognizant of when they retire. What are those top three things?

Sally: The top three things really are know what it is that you want to do, make sure that you have a good budget, that you understand what your expenses are going to be and where your income is coming from, and make sure that you stay active. It might be totally new activity, but be sure that you have an opportunity to, in one way or another, give back to your community, however you might define your community.

Jason: Hmm. You talked about budgeting there just a minute ago, and that’s something that we’re always harping on. It’s hard to create a cash flow plan if you don’t know where your money’s going in the first place. Were there any tools or resources? When you guys created a budget, how did you go about doing that? Any software that you used?

Sally: I used a tool that is within my book, which basically helps you identify what your fixed expenses are going to be going forward as well as identify what your fixed income is going to be that’s going to come in. Keeping track of what your auto-pays are, what your direct deposits are, the dates that they come in and the dates that money goes out.

Jason: Wow.

Sally: Another thing that I … Yeah.

Jason: Oh, I was just going to-

Sally: Another thing that I … Excuse me.

Jason: Go ahead.

Sally: Another thing that I did that I found to be essential in getting my new financial life in order was to simplify my banking. I had five different accounts in three different banks, which at one time made sense but absolutely made no further sense. I cut back on some of my credit cards, made sure that I was reducing my credit card debt so that now that I had just … I knew exactly what my income was going to be for my retirement, and I had to make sure that my expenses were going to be in hand and I understood what my cash flow was going to be.

Jason: Awesome. Sally, will you share with our listeners, if they’re interested in picking up the book, the best place that they can get the book? Is there any special offers we can offer them? Any way to get a discount on the book?

Sally: Sure, absolutely. You can get the book on Amazon, and you can also order it through aarp.org/bookstore, and there is a generous discount for AARP members to purchase the book.

Jason: Bookstore, okay. What’s the title of the book again?

Sally: It is Get the Most Out of Retirement.

Jason: One last question for you, and you only have a minute to answer it. How do you think differently about you money in retirement versus when you were accumulating money?

Sally: Oh, it’s somewhat scary because I know exactly how much money I have coming in, and it’s not going to change. I have to be sure that it’s … It’s a big difference to start spending those savings that I’ve been accumulating. That’s what is so different, really, in my financial perspective.

Jason: Awesome. Folks, we’ve got a retirement planning webinar coming up. You can sign up for that at soundretirementplanning.com so you can learn more about a process for having a good retirement plan. Sally, thank you for being a guest on the program today.

Sally: Jason, it was my pleasure.

Jason: Awesome. Until next week, folks, this is Jason Parker signing out.

Announcer: Information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate and complete, for general information only, and should not be construed as specific tax, legal, or financial advice for any individual, and does not constitute a solicitation for any securities or insurance products. Please consult with your financial professional before taking action on anything discussed in this program. Parker Financial, its representatives, or its affiliates have no liability for investment decisions or other actions taken or made by you based on the information provided in this program.

All insurance-related discussions are subject to the claims-paying ability of the company. Investing involves risk. Jason Parker is the president of Parker Financial, an independent, fee-based wealth management firm located at 9057 Washington Avenue Northwest, Silverdale, Washington. For additional information, call 1-800-514-5046 or visit us online at soundretirementplanning.com.