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The icy grip of death awaits you

The icy grip of death awaits you

Ah, estate planning. Such a fun exercise. No one wants to think about the end, but we will all smile, so we might as well plan for it. In this week’s podcast, join Matt Robison and I as we explore the importance of planning for your golden years, the ones filled with activity, those that slow down, and even the ones where you may need extra care.

Some of the ideas discussed in this podcast come from the fantastic article by Karen Kreider Yoder and Stephen Kreider Yoder at the Wall Street Journal. Their article entitled “We’re Retired and Healthy. But How Do We Plan for Our Decline?” has a lot of great information and quotes. I’m always trying to learn from those slightly ahead of me (in life), and I highly recommend the retirement series that they are writing.

In this episode, Matt and I discuss:

  • The spending smile 
  • Realistic goal planning
  • Reframing your perspective from what you have to do to what you get to do

Don’t let the icy grips of death scare you. Instead, view retirement planning as an opportunity, not an obligation. By thinking ahead and preparing now, you empower yourself to make the most of your time. Embrace change, seize the present, and shape a future that’s not just secure but also filled with the adventures and experiences you’ve always dreamed of.

Are you ready to create your ideal lifestyle? Let’s Connect.

Learn more about Mike and my services at and connect at



It’s always a good sign when we’re already laughing before we started the show, because you want to call the show, plan for your decline, I wanted to call it plan for the icy grip of death on your deck losers. But you know, I mean, potato, potato, hey, I’m Matt Robison, I believe Mike Morton, this is the show where we talk about finances and your life, or as Mike would have it less and less of the latter. I’m making light of something actually, this is how most people react. Hopefully helpfully, I think this is healthy, to have some very hard discussions that you actually have to have with people about, hey, you know, planning for your retirement is also about planning for your estate, your long term health needs. And yeah, like, like the downhill slide in your life, you do a lot of that kind of thing.


You’re you’re looking at this all backwards. Man, I still think you’re upset that I told you a few episodes before that your life doesn’t matter. And I still think you’re just like…


You’re right to be suspicious. I definitely hold the cat as a grudge over you. But I have to say can I just submit this as evidence to the jury here? You’re the one who wanted to call this episode plan for your decline. I don’t know that there’s a difference plain English translation of interpreting this correctly.


First of all, this comes from a let’s give some credit here Wall Street Journal article that I happened to read and really loved it and I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you why. But this is a Wall Street Journal article, series of articles. This one’s titled, we’re retired and healthy, but how do we plan for our decline? So I took the word decline from how do we plan anyway, it’s not going to be the title you made Matt. So this is a series of retirement articles by Karen Yoder and Steven Yoder, and I love these articles. So if you get the Wall Street Journal, I highly recommend you know, you can check them out online. It is behind a paywall unfortunately, for those that don’t get the journal, but these two writers, Stephen Yoder was a writer for The Wall Street Journal for many, many years and now he’s retired and writing this series with his wife, Karen. And they come out about I don’t know, once a month or so. And it’s all about their experience in retirement, they just recently retired in the last couple of years and so it’s going through kind of the initial like, what does it mean? How are we enjoying retirement and stuff like that. And the reason that I like this series of articles and other books of this nature, is trying to learn from people that are slightly ahead of me, I’d way rather learn from someone else’s mistakes or insights, then try to do it in my own in real time. And so I’m constantly looking for other sources out there people that are slightly ahead of me or are way ahead of me, it’s not that hard to find.


I constantly have the experience of learning from people who are way ahead of me intellectually. That’s right. That’s why we do this show.


And so this is just a really great one and so that’s where some of the thoughts and quotes come from today. And I’ll reference that but again, Karen, Steven Yoder, from the Wall Street Journal. And that’s where the word decline came from, which will be titled differently. It’ll be the icy grips of death by the time you find this in your podcast feed.


Well, like I’ve been-we could have euphemized about this but I, like I was saying, you probably go through this all the time. No one likes these conversations, and people dance around them, and they avoid them. And that’s not super healthy, ultimately, because there are some decisions you have to make. And I do think what you’re maybe getting at here is, hey, if you embrace the fact that all of us are going to have some physical limitations as we get older, and we’re going to have some health challenges as we get older, and it’s going to change what we do and how we spend our time, that’s a useful insight planning for that can make that better and can get you more enjoyment out of your current health and your current situation that actually, that’s not as much of a bummer as I thought it was. I just don’t like, I mean, I’m like everyone else. I don’t how do you deal with this, Mike. How do you deal with the fact that you have to talk to your clients about like, long term health insurance? And, you know, like, estate planning, and all this kind of stuff? Like who likes this?


Yeah, well, no one really likes some of these aspects and it’s definitely some work. But that’s why we’re doing the planning together ao when clients come in, and we go through this, it’s part of the process. And the great thing is you feel good about it at the end, many people go through getting life insurance, right? So you have to contemplate like, what if I’m not around, you know, how much coverage do we want or need? And so you got to think about that. But the good news is, once you’ve done it, you’re good to go. And same with estate planning, like once you’ve kind of gone through it, you’re good to go. Now, I didn’t want to get into, you’re not going to touch too much on that stuff today, here’s the crux of what I really wanted to hit on and you just mentioned it. It’s the planning for the Future knowing how much we’re going to change in the future, right? You think, hey, I’m this person, I have these desires, I’m in this health state, I will enjoy doing these things, you think that’s the way it’s going to be for 5 years, 10 years, 20 and 30 years and it’s just simply so not true. I’m constantly amazed at how much we changed not only physically, but actually our desires change every 5, 10, 15 years, just think back 10 years ago, how you love to spend your time, what it is that you were so excited to go out and do. And I’m sure you’re still doing a bunch of that today but I’m sure a bunch of it has also changed. And so therefore, I think planning, knowing that we might have some physical declines over the decades, but also the desires for doing things take advantage now. And so Matt, you asked, how do you have these conversations? I flip it around, how do you want to be spending your time now knowing how important that time is, and what you’re able to accomplish today? And so this article really hit me personally, too, by saying, hey, am I really spending these next, you know, my kids are at home for another five years, am I really spending that time the way I want to know, and I can’t get it back? And so it’s really important to consider where you are and how you want to be doing things.


I just had this conversation with my sports medicine doctor, who was evaluating my knees and he said, look, buddy, it’s interesting how like your physicians are like chummy with you when they’re giving you the best news, right? Hey, but you’re going to need to have both your knees replaced in the next five to seven years. I’m like, oh, that’s, that’s that’s not great and I said, I guess what you’re telling me is no more basketball. He said, no, quite the opposite. Since you’re getting the tires replaced, you might as well wear the tread out entirely, basically. Because once you do get your knees replaced, your surgeon is going to beg you not to destroy the hardware that he just worked, or she worked so hard to put in there. That’s interesting, because it means that like, my set of activities is definitely going to change. I think 10 years back, how do I want to spend my time, I want to play basketball a couple times a week. And now it’s just it’s very different. So you know, smoking, like if that’s your if that’s your new hobby, I don’t recommend it.


Don’t do that one. But that’s exactly right take advantage of what you can do now. So this is, let’s talk about retirement for a little bit and then we’ll maybe bring it back to kind of where you and I are today, which is not retired, but how we can use this advice. So this is something we do in financial planning all the time so on the financial side, in retirement, we have these three stages we’ll often talk about, which are the Go Go years, the slow go years, and the no go years. So typically, when people first retire now, retirement was invented just a few decades ago, it wasn’t even that long ago, people never retired, like 50-80 years ago, there was no such thing as retirement.


Ditto with the weekend as a very modern concept of like, hey, let’s not work right now.


Right? Yeah, oh, yeah, we can get into whole other episodes with it, you know. So that’s kind of it’s a modern thing and say 65, right, because that’s what we talked about so from, you know, in your 60s and early 70s, your still pretty healthy, hopefully, cross fingers, knock on wood, still pretty healthy. And so we call those the Go-Go years, where you have energy, you have health, you finally want to do some of those bucket list items, you haven’t gotten to the things that you just didn’t have time earlier to do and you have the health and energy to do them. And so often you’ll spend more money. So the financial side, you’ll spend more money in the go-go years doing that travel, going and doing the things that you’ve always wanted to do. And then something might happen 5 or 10 years into that you may be mid 70s, now that health starts declining, something happens to one of the two partners, if you’re in a partnership, and you have the slow go years, you just start slowing down, you have less energy. And this is thinking ahead too Matt, because it’s hard for me to envision like having less energy, but it’s going to happen. It happens to everybody, you know, wanting to do a little bit less, sit around just a little bit more. And those are the slow go years where you don’t spend as much money. So on the financial side, you don’t spend as much. And then finally, the no go years when you’re getting sort of towards the end. There might be a lot of medical bills, medical facilities, more medical issues and stuff like that, we call that the no go years, you’re not really going anywhere. But financially it goes back up, you might be spending more because of medical costs. And so that’s also called a retirement smile, spending more at the start and then kind of dipping down for the spending more to go-go dipping down to the slow go and then spending more in the no go. So then it’s a good frame of reference, at least for the retirement and financially how we kind of look at that.


What a euphemism the retirement smile. Look at you.


Exactly, the retirement smile


So how do you how do you then plan around that? Like, what do you do knowing that that’s the typical pattern? What do you advise people to do?


So when we’re, you know, looking at retirement spending, I’ll definitely take a look at those different chunks, those different types of years and knowing we might be spending more, so people who are just going to retirement may feel like, okay, I’m no longer making money, I’ve got to be really careful about what I have. And spending, of course, we need to be careful and plan as we do our work. But knowing that you might want to spend a little bit more during those years saying, look, we probably we’ll spend, this is what all the retirement research says, that’s why you have this retirement smile, because it’s based on tons of research, and this is what people actually spend. Now, of course, caveat, every individual data point could be all over the place. So this is averages, but you spend more at the start, and then it dips down and you spend a little less so feeling a little bit more free to say, yeah, let’s go ahead and take that trip. Let’s go ahead and do that thing now. Let’s spend the money now, while we have the health and the energy, knowing we won’t have the money in the future, but we probably wouldn’t want to do that thing in the future anyway. Are you ready to create your ideal lifestyle? Let’s discover what’s most important to you and design a plan to have more of that in your life? Go to meet Mike All one word meet Mike


And is this the kind of thing where you’re working this out with your whole family? Is this the kind of conversation that you need to bring in if you’re working with retirees that you want to bring in like the next generation with and kind of tell them like, look, here’s how we’re planning to do this because there are state issues involved there. There are questions like frequently for kids, when you talk about like the other end of the spiral. Yeah, talk about a freudian moment for me, sorry, I forgot we were utilizing the smile.


Oh, we’re going down the drain Matt.


You know, your, your involving the rest of your family or involving your kids, there are care decisions that need to be made. So is this the kind of thing where it’s helpful to bring the whole team involved? Or is this something that you just work out individually with your financial advisor and your partner?


Well, I would say first, it’s kind of just figuring it out for yourselves, and making sure you have a plan for what you want to be doing, but yes, on two fronts in terms of involving the next generation, and so for those listening, a lot of my clients are in that sandwich generation have the kids and doing the financial planning, but also of the aging parents. So a tip there is to understand your parents, or if you are the parents, talk to your kids about that plan, not necessarily like the retirement smile, and how you’re gonna be spending all this stuff but really, what is your overall plan? You really want to make sure you have an overall plan for are you staying in your home? You know, do you want to go to a nursing home? What are your expectations or thoughts? Are you going to retirement community? You know, I’m looking for a downsize and retirement community and it has these facilities and here’s kind of the timeframe that we’re looking, you want to start, you know, have that communication with your family. And then also there’s gonna be decisions around that. So there is a lot to plan in terms of that but I think the communication is the biggest factor to make sure you’ve talked about it with with your kids or with your aging parents.


And I assume that’s mostly true, like the inner layer of the onion is with your partner, and making sure that you’re kind of on the same page, because people can have very different-we’ve talked about this before about effective spousal communication when it comes to your finances and lifecycle events. Maybe like being on the same page about this kind of a concept where one person might have more anxiety about the hey, we’ve got to make sure we have the resources for the long term, the other might be thinking more along the lines of smoke it if you got it. And so I imagine that the foundation of all of it.


Absolutely, making sure you have good communication and planning and making sure you’re on the same page. It’s the same with everything that we talked about matters from the budgeting, right? Hey, make sure that you talk about your budgeting, and so you don’t have blow ups and the same with the time. So this is talking about how you want to spend your time and energy. So make sure you’re on the same page. So let’s pull it back from the retirement because the reason I thought about this is it really struck me personally, I was reading this and I’ve been thinking a lot recently and I’ve been planning my own future.


You’re going to say my funeral go on.


The spiral the smile, man.


This actually happened to me, by the way this happened to me when I was in grad school, we were doing a course on running for Congress. And at the time, it was still the case that the majority of women who were elected to federal office got there because their husband died. They basically were widows who took their deceased husband’s seat and as soon as we heard that statistic, my colleague who was sitting next to me, a woman who was extremely intelligent, leaned over to me and said, hey, do you want to get married? Now talk about questioning the motives of someone around you. It’s oh, my gosh, no. And I do not want a sip of your tea either.


Exactly. Yeah, I’ll be I’ll be moving seats now.


All right, but you’re not planning your funeral. Quite the opposite. You are planning something you’re planning your life?


Well, how you know how I want to be spending my time, right. I’m in the middle of my career doing a bunch of stuff. I have no plans to retire anytime soon because I do have some clients that might listen to the podcast no, no, I’m not retiring. But it is like how do I want to spend my time and energy, and especially with my wife and our family, and like I mentioned, I got the kids at home, and they’re home for another 5, 6, 7 years. And I want to continue to be able to spend meaningful time with them. Not only that, though, it’s really looking forward to, there’s of course, so many things I’m interested in doing. I talk about all the time with my wife, let’s go and do this and it’s always full of like crazy, fun ideas of things to go and do and now I’m realizing like, I can’t put that off for 20 years, you know, I can’t go all the way to like the typical, hey, I’ll just work kind of full time, and we’ll just work forever and then in our 60s, I don’t, that’s not what I’m looking forward to, I want to use these kinds of articles as a wake up call, and say, look, what can I do now? What are the things that I can be doing now? Either spending time by working slightly less or being more flexible? Or looking only 5 years or 10 years in the future? You know, what can we be doing sooner? And making sure that we’re accomplishing if we say, look, I’ve always wanted to do this big hike, or big adventure that takes some physical nature to it, then let’s plan that earlier. Like, let’s not wait till if I want to do the Appalachian Trail, let’s not wait until I’m 70. Let’s figure out a time to do that earlier, things like that are becoming, the more I read these articles, again, people that are a little bit ahead of me in age and wisdom, you know, by living their life, what are they learning? What are they seen, and I know that I will get there, I will have less energy, you know, and so I just use that as a catalyst to plan my time accordingly.


Well, two things. First of all, I figured out what we should have called this, we should have called the episode before the smile, you’re talking about people engaging with this before they entered that smile pattern. For me, my version of this, it’s interesting you say this I really value the time that I have in this phase of life with my kids. They’re just they’re at a good age and my daughter likes to tease me about this because she knows it’s a psychological weak spot for me that like, I don’t relish them moving on and going to college and so she’s constantly dropping things on me like, only three years until I drive or only six years until I leave the house. And I’m like, you’re cruel, what did I do to deserve this? And my wife and I are beginning to engage in conversations like that, what did we do to maximize this phase, the things that we enjoy, it’s hectic, it’s hectic, to have kids at the age of our kids. But the insight she had is not to think in terms of the things that you have to do because you’re in this phase, thinking about the things you get to do and reframe it that way. I found that so useful. I coach, my kids soccer team, and I have to drive them 45 minutes away to a game or I could think about it as I get to do this. How else do I want to be spending my time? What else do I want to be doing? And I think the same way in terms of my money. This is what the money is for all the money that I earn as your co host on this show. What do I want to use it on? I don’t want to like I eventually, someday maybe I’d like to give some of it to these kids but I’d actually rather spend it having experiences with them right now while I’m able to. So to me the version for the people who are in the sandwich realm like we are. That’s my version of this is how do I maximize everything I can get out of this phase because I get so much out of this time with my kids.


Yeah. Well, you can use all the dollars that you make from this podcast and walk outside and enjoy some of that free air so that you could use it here.


I haven’t taken up smoking. You know what I went to do because I still can. I was able to play a little bit of a version of basketball with my ten year old my seven year old. My seven year old slipped on the driveway on a dirty patch and there was a little accretion of dust. He slipped and I’ve heard nothing but like, there was like three hours of complaining about how I fouled him. Oh my gosh, you’re in the wrong sport, you should go play European soccer.


Uh, you probably did foul him I’ve seen you play basketball. Yeah, you probably did.


That was valid at some point, if it wasn’t that it was another point, whatever.


Well, I love what you said, and I’ll reiterate it that I have to do this, just reframe it, I get to do this. And it’s so challenging with kids, and it’s hectic, and it’s frustrating at times but if you can just take a moment and a breath and say, I’m never going to get this day back so I get to watch my eight year old play three hours of baseball.


Wait, no, there’s an exception to the get to have to rule. If you’re watching baseball, you have to do that. I’m sorry. I’ve alienated all of our baseball fans today. Sorry.


But it’s so true. And just that one word, can change something that takeaway and try that for some things that are coming up this week and just say, you know, yeah, I get to do this right this week, you know.


And it’s because of the insight that you had at the beginning here. And like the Yoder column insight, which is, you have the you literally have the ability to like this, it’s not just that this phase of life isn’t going to come again, it’s that this combination of health, energy, time ability, that’s not coming back, either, and every parent, I have yet to meet a parent who runs across someone with a baby, and doesn’t say some version of cherish this time, it goes by so fast, it does freaking go by so fast for your clients, and for all of our audience. For listeners who are in the sandwich realm, I’m telling you, it is true, it does go by fast. And I don’t mean that in like a to make you panic kind of way. I mean that from a while, like there’s an upside to thinking about relishing it like just that, that reframing is so useful, in my mind anyway.


And if you want more time, the more present and the more you relish what you’re experiencing, you will expand the time that you have so it’s amazing. I will end before we end Matt, I’m gonna give a quote from Karen, who wrote in the article, I love this, she writes, we need to enjoy each stage, plan ahead for the next stage and make sure we have supports in place by the time we’re there. And I love the start of that we need to enjoy each stage, there are stages of life, make sure you spend your time and energy enjoying that current stage because there’s going to be something new and exciting around the corner to plan for and get ready for and enjoy. So take the time and energy and pay attention and be present to where you currently are and how you want to be spending that time and energy.


I like that reframing too. I like the idea of it’s not just for right now. it’s also for what’s coming up ahead. And in the future you will get to smile before the icy grip of death. Okay, all right. That is kind of spiraled downhill. Mike Morton and Matt Robison we will see you next time.


Thanks. Thanks for joining us on financial planning for entrepreneurs. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to and rate the podcast on Apple, iTunes, Google Play Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can connect with me at LinkedIn for Morton financial I’d love to get your feedback. If you have a comment or question please email me at financial planning . Until next time, thanks for tuning in. This recording is for informational purposes only and should not be considered for investment advice or opinions expressed as our of the date of recording. Such opinions are subject to change. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data presented here.

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The icy grip of death awaits you

Episode 114 •

29th August 2023