What to Do with Old Retirement Plan?

Updated : Aug 28, 2019 in Articles

What to Do with Old Retirement Plan?


it’s the weekend and you have financial
questions that need answering that can only mean one thing
it’s time for Jill on money the show that takes the mystery out of your
finances here’s your host Jill Schlesinger welcome welcome it’s the
last weekend in June very exciting it’s Jill on money this is our first show
where we can really make the big announcement mark it’s time Jill on
money has its first baby and mascot marks off daddy marks a daddy gang how
about it a baby boy am I allowed to say his name or not
vo baby Theo Jill on money he’ll be on the air very shortly well he’ll be in
the studio shortly I can’t wait you’re gonna have to bring him in here
everybody in the radio division wants to meet him so that’s good
hey this is Jill on money and we are broadcasting live from the Capital One
Bank studios and we are delighted that you are joining us and it’s exciting
because guess what in just a matter of days we will be celebrating what not
just the birth of Marx baby boy but the longest expansion on record
121 consecutive months of growth we just beat out the tech boom how about that
now while this is the longest expansion on record it is definitely not the
strongest the strongest expansion on record was the 60s coincidentally when
one of your hosts was born 1961 to 1969 52% growth in GDP the tech boom 42
percent growth in GDP the 80s the Gordon Gekko years 38 percent growth and here
now in this current expansion we only have grown by 25 percent not sure why
but we have made progress balance sheets look better you probably feel a little
bit wealthier that’s good about half of the country says according
to a bank rate study that they have either seen their financial conditions
worsen in the last 10 years or just stay the same so that’s a bummer
hopefully as things do continue to improve job growth continues wage growth
expands more and more people feel secure all right if you’ve got a question don’t
forget give us a call ask Jill at Jill on money.com
that’s what Nate did he’s up first Nate is calling from Texas hi Nate good
morning joe how you doing today great so the reason I’m calling in I’m
getting ready to start to retire from the Army
and I’m getting ready to enter the civilian workforce for the past 16 years
I’ve been investing in the TSP mmm with the army my question is should I plan on
rolling my TSP over and to us at land 401k or chef star a new 401k with
whatever company decided to take me up okay that’s a great question tell me a
little bit more about yourself how well do you Nate I am turning 40 this year oh
my gosh that’s amazing it’s like you’re gonna probably have ended up having like
three different careers in your life how much money is in the TSP right now so
TSP has about 200,000 okay and is this the only money you have saved for
retirement did you do a Roth IRA in addition or not
so I actually planned this out a little bit my my I guess my total value I have
I have a brokerage account or a taxable account I have about 250 mm-hmm
I have I have a Roth IRA with about 110 my wife I the Roth IRA with 110 we have
our savings which has about a hundred and then my birth mine I guess you can
call my investment account has about thirty and then I have my house mm-hmm
yeah total worth just I want to make sure I heard that you said you have a
brokerage account with 250 just a plain old brokerage account not a retirement
account right right right okay and how do you manage that money
are you doing that yourself or you rolling the dice a little bit or are you
hiring someone to do that for you so the broke the tech the taxable
account is managed by a USAA I’m at the Mathers brokerage account
it’s very very low fees I think it’s like point zero three percent that’s
good I grant got grandfathered in about ten years ago oh that’s great okay good
perfect alright and what about the Roth also USAA I’ll see USA both of them ok
great and same deal manage it at 30 basis points at point three percent yeah
okay great so let’s think about kind of your choices the Thrift Savings Plan is
actually a very good plan it used to be it used to be sort of like this like
well you got one or two choices like you can have a black car or you can have a
white car but they’ve added more choices the cost of the investments in TSP in
the Thrift Savings Plan are really cheap so I actually think I would keep the
money in there because rolling it over what I’m what I’m fearful of is that you
don’t really know and maybe this would change if we found out where you were
going next but wherever you go next I have a feeling the cost of investing
inside of the 401 k plan would likely be higher than what you’re getting in the
TSP and for what you know it’s really the same stuff so I my inclination is to
wait if you get a new job and you find out well you know what it’s awesome they
have a 401 K and it’s all index funds with a low-cost provider and its really
awesome maybe you would do that but that that would be kind of the the big choice
otherwise your other option would be to roll it out of the TSP into a rollover
IRA account and you could do that anywhere if your grandfather didn’t for
USAA is that also for new money or just existing money so since I maintained my
I have kept the same account for over ten years so they’re keeping me at the
same fees as long as I don’t start a new account I’m fine
oh so you know what that’s kind of a funky thing because we would have to
start a new account to do this because we would have to open a rollover IRA so
I think that the choice is really my I’m leaning towards keep it in the thrift
savings plan unless you go to a new employer
that has an obviously cheaper investment structure so what now I’m gonna ask you
a total separate question what are you gonna do next do you know okay so that’s
a really good question I’m trying to get into the technology sector trying to
start a brand new career get to do something I’ve always wanted to do and
so it’s kind of a kind of fishing right now I guess the best way to describe it
and when are you gonna actually retire it will be in September and you’ll have
a pension right yes okay so you’re really in great shape
you’ve saved you know one two three four photos like you have almost like
three-quarters of a million bucks how much did you make when you were in the
Army what’s your highest pay just out of curiosity is pay that I’ve earned if you
include all of our compensation and health and all that our total
compensation I think was about a hundred and six thousand a hundred and six and
does your wife work no she does not know so you have saved all of this money
making a hundred grand a year I don’t know far less than that actually
I went as a specialist and our paycheck at that time for two weeks is about six
hundred dollars every two weeks you are an inspiration mark is going to be
giving you the five-star general award of like a leader of retirements I mean
you’ve done a phenomenal job so congratulations keep us posted if you
get a new job and you’re like wondering hey should I do roll it or not you want
to give us a call back please feel free to do so we’ll get back to more of your
questions in just a minute the break time why don’t you go to Jill on
money.com you can read about the longest but not strongest expansion on record go
to Jill on money.com and all you have to do at the top is click on read and
that’s where the blog post sits okay we’ll be right back back to Jill on money where Jill
Schlesinger helps you take the mystery out of your finances your back it’s Jill
on money it is the last weekend of June and maybe you’re taking a nice extended
break hopefully you’re taking all of this next
coming week off that’s what I suggest you do it’s a dead week come on you can
always send us an email whether you’re on vacation or not ask Jill at Jill on
money.com let’s go out to Steve he’s calling from Michigan ideal yeah I’m
trying to determine the best course of action for where I am I’m retired from
teaching a few years back as well I’ve got a little over 500,000 and
traditional IRA then I accumulated over my working years the I read a book
entitled the IRA transformation plan your step-by-step guide to a tax-free
retirement and so in consultation with the people who promote that book and
their texts and their advising business what I pulled away from that and in
order to save taxes as I was draw from retirement funds and so forth seems like
there’s a number of things they were suggesting idea one is to move those
monies into a Roth account which of course you pay taxes on as I do that and
the reason for that is just not to have that taxable income but also I guess
there’s a six year or so window from which to do that under the Trump tax
cuts right that’s advantageous so and then secondly maybe is it wiser to go to
like a vanguard ETF which as much lower fees I’m kinda in the process of seeing
it if it’s better to get those lower fees then paid a little bit higher fees
on the mutual funds that I currently have
in tirol price and then thirdly something that they’re offering and this
is a paid thing to get some money into what they called a guaranteed insurance
contract whereby I guess the idea is that is also a tax-free type of
instrument and to get the death benefit as low as possible and the earnings as
high as possible that’s like a third idea okay so let me go back a second
here sure okay how old you know 61 in a couple weeks
okay and you have a pension because you said
you’re a retired teacher yeah it’s not huge but it certainly pays the basics so
I don’t need to tap into this retirement money for end of course you know okay so
let me just that so how much do you receive is monthly pension benefit yeah
about 30 2,800 a month okay great and you have your medical covered through
the teachers pension as well yes i deductible but it’s nice to have yes
yeah great okay do you are you married single yes okay and what about your
spouse work not work what’s the situation yeah she two’s retired her
pension is very minimal that’s more like 300 a month okay um and she’s also early
sixties yeah okay great kids nice well done my friend
yeah and and tell me a little bit more about the other CE of $500,000 in a
traditional IRA is that you and your wife and got the car lined that’s
basically me she’s probably at about seventy thousand but hers is all Roth I
believe okay great how about non retirement assets what
have you guys accumulated Oh homes paid off a couple cars they got to
rental properties that are paid off those are bringing me after I have to
pay the taxes maybe a thousand each per month
oh so two grand a month in rental income yeah okay that’s great on and if you
looked the just like a safe emergency account
so you have no retirement you have no assets outside of retirement that are
you know invested but do you have like a bank account or CDs just take you know
just in case fund and emergency reserve yeah yeah our checking and savings would
count for that I mean there’s a fair amount of money in those about how much
oh I know I’m a pentagram okay perfect great but nothing else
there’s no like stock account or anything that’s floating around right
correct okay great now if I look at the let’s say call it the $3,100 between you
and your wife a month covers what your needs are right now yes and what happens
to the extra two grand a month it’s coming in from the rental properties
pretty much it’s sticking outside it’s in the bank but it doesn’t you’re not
spending that money or you not use it you’re not earmarking that for anything
right correct might take a nice trip once a year and
pull off that but basically that’s just growing on okay okay so I think that
what we’re talking about here is this idea that if you were to convert your
$500,000 into a Roth that you could potentially not definitely but
potentially save tax money in the future however you guys don’t have the money
set aside that would allow you to pay the taxes that are due right because you
I really don’t want you to spend that $50,000 emergency reserve fund on on
conversion costs because you still need it right you need your you absolutely
positively need this account just in case right correct all right so right
now you guys are in the twelve percent tax bracket I about like because you
make under seventy nine thousand dollars a year yeah okay so the idea of
converting part of this the the thesis behind it is why don’t you convert the
money while you’re still in the twelve percent tax bracket that’s good but I
wouldn’t do it right now I would wait so that you build up the money that you
would need need to pay for the conversion meaning
to pay the tax that’s due and the idea would be I’m paying the money at twelve
percent while twelve percent is the bracket I’m still in incase ten years
from now our tax brackets rise which is an absolute possibility I mean you know
we didn’t no one knows but I think that that’s a good guess so I think that the
idea to move to a Roth slowly over the next five or six years is fine but
remember number one you only want to convert as much money that’s gonna keep
you in the twelve percent tax bracket so whatever you convert it’s got to be
under that about it’s about seventy nine thousand dollars and then you have to
make sure that you have the money to pay the tax that’s due and if in one year
where you just like we get a you know some maybe maybe if you’ve sold a
property or you’ve popped up into the next tax bracket for some reason I don’t
know why but let’s just pretend you did then maybe that’s a year where you’d say
okay well I’ll pay some of this at twenty two percent but I think that
you’re I think it’s good to have some money that has been converted and your
wife if she already has seventy and that you had let’s say another hundred or one
fifty by the time the the sunset of the tax code takes place over the next six
years I think that’s just fine so now question number two you ready
well should you move to a vanguard ETF environment I think the answer is what
do you currently invest it in it’s currently quite widely diversified what
in in other words where is it held current fun to add tiro craze and mutual
funds uh-huh yeah but those are cheap mutual funds aren’t they yeah yeah as I
looked at it a lot of my round point seven percent and then as I look at the
ETF some of those are like point zero six or seven so there’s no reason to go
to Vanguard I mean Vanguard is great but tiro price is great stay where you are
and if you want to choose if you want to choose cheaper funds you can always just
stick to index funds that’s that’s the cheapest funds right so I think that’s
fine and then the the giq forget about it
take that off the table okay don’t do that otherwise I think it sounds like
you’re in fantastic shape yeah I think we are I think yeah I mean it just shows
you you can have two people who’ve worked really hard you probably didn’t
make a ton of money but you were teachers and you were part of a pension
system that’s amazing so I think that it’s great that you’re
managing this it’s great that you’ve decided to grab it when someone tries to
sell you something a product to service be a little skeptical give us a call but
absolutely positively stick to your guns because I think buying you don’t need
any sort of guaranteed income account you don’t need any sort of insurance
product you just keep it simple you you absolutely are in great shape
don’t worry okay we’ll get back to more of your questions hey have you
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Schlesinger helps you take the mystery out of your finances your back it’s Jill
on money and I am Jill Schlesinger and it is always delightful to have you
stick with us throughout the hour hey remember we mentioned so many
different resources and and I invite you to send us an email if you come across
some helpful resources just shoot us a note it’s ask Jill at Jill on money.com
and Markel check it out make sure it’s not something weird like someone’s
personal monetization of your financial life and will pop it into the resource
section of the website Jill on money so the again the email address asked Jill
at Jill on money comm if you again run across something interesting let’s
figure out together how we can help each other okay all right here is who I my my
voice just went up I guess I’ve had a little Peter Brady there here is a
message from Jennifer who found our channel meaning the YouTube channel mark
oh my gosh I love that um and she says Jennifer says I’ve been loving all of
your advice I wanted to get your take on some next steps for me and my husband
I’m 30 my husband’s 36 we both have stable full time jobs no kids no plans
to have any together we make around $100,000 a year we increased our
retirement savings this year I’m putting 20% into my 401k fantastic she makes 42
grand a year husband is putting in $400 a month into a state retirement fund
we have decided with your help to open and fully fund Roth IRAs as of this year
but I’m not sure where to open them what kinds of funds to use we are finally at
the point where we’re not saving for any big purchases I’m just not sure where to
put our extra money every month I know a good problem to have
and so let’s see combined they’ve got 63 grand and retirements 20 grand emergency
reserve three hundred thousand three hundred thousand dollar house 150 grand
outstanding 3.875 all great okay now let’s talk about where to put this money
if you want to go full-on do it yourself right in meaning that you will invest
your Roth IRA money you’ll invest any money yourself the best way to do that
is with index funds and the places where you can get access to index funds are
the places that you have heard of and those are the big investment houses like
Vanguard t rowe Price fidelity TD Ameritrade Schwab all those places offer
cheap index funds okay now presuming that you want to do it
yourself then you would just do some sort of allocation some sort of risk
questionnaire but you’re young and especially for the retirement money
you’re gonna you know basically have more money in stocks than bonds and cash
you might want to pick two or three different funds maybe a US stock fund
and International stock fund and again these are index funds and then maybe an
intermediate term bond fund okay now you do that I’m gonna make up an allocation
for you you don’t have to do this I’m just making this up for you but you know
I’m 30 years old it’s a retirement account so what would I do maybe I would
have 60% in some you know broad US index fund SiC so maybe another 15 10 15% in
an international and then another 15 percent 20 percent whatever is left over
in an intermediate term bond fund done that’s it if you actually want a little
bit of help you want to step up a tiny bit what you would do is you would
choose an online platform that would for a quarter to maybe point
percent maybe 0.4% offer you some advice but also manage your money for you those
services include the Vanguard personal service advisor the Schwab intelligent
portfolios betterment which is a company that used
to sponsor my podcast but doesn’t I always like to say that do you think I
have to keep saying that or not mark I’m done now they don’t they didn’t renew
goodbye but they’re good company so I should say so but their’s are like good
choices and that I think is kind of where you want to be Jennifer
writes other part of her question is her company’s employee stock purchase
program which she’s been enrolled in at the max she’s about $36,000 in stock I
feel like it’s too much based on our holdings overall I’d like to start
selling some of this over the years I want to contribute I want to continue to
contribute as I do now when I do sell only the gains go towards my taxable
income for the year companies stable I’ve made some good gains over the years
I’ve enjoyed the dividends you know when I think about the amount of money you
would want in a stock purchase plan or in just your company stock which a lot
of firms will match their 401k contributions in company stock when I
think about that what I believe is kind of like the best way to keep a tight lid
on the risk is to say whatever your overall investment is let’s say you had
a hundred thousand dollars in your 401k I would never have more than five
percent in my company stock now for you obviously just given the amount of money
you have and and having a bunch of money in your company stock you may have a
little bit more in company stock than you’d like so I don’t think it’s a bad
idea to sell some of it you should check with your company exactly how the sale
of that stock would be treated for income tax purposes and also whether
they could potentially withhold the money on your behalf so that’s it
Jennifer I hope your will here is a question from Christine I enjoy watching
in the morning news and I love the daily updates I’m looking to purchase a new
car is there a better month two car shop hey you know what
that you know the best month the car shop is mark end of the year it’s always
the end of the month the days at the end of the month also literally the last two
three days of the year because a lot of dealerships have monthly quotas they
have to meet in terms of just units sold quarterly and annual so that is that’s
what I that’s kind of how I look at it Christine I bought my car one year I
remember I was literally mid wiring the money on December 31st the morning of
and when the dealer asked me a question that seemed to indicate he was gonna
just do you know not honor what he told me I was like okay forget I just click I
cancelled the wire no no no no no wanted that unit anyway good luck Christine
it’s Jill on money will shop for anything with you guys just give us a
holler the email address ask Jill at Jill on money.com and when we come back
more of your great questions do I invest here should I put my money
there Jill Schlesinger can help you back to Jill on money your back it’s Jill on
money and if you’ve got a financial question we’d love to hear from you you
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read get it before the fourth of July hurry up alright just a dovetailing on
the email we just did previously here’s a question about Robo advisors with CFP
support listen to a recent podcasts how to preserve assets and we are in a
similar situation so it was very informative our question is whether or
not it makes sense for us to engage a hybrid Robo advisors guys let me just
define that for you the Robo advisors essentially the the automatic online
trading platforms and many of them have now added advice as a component so again
you know we’ll talk about this but let but that’s really what we’re talking
about talking everything online some of these
organizations will allow you to even have a call with an advisor so that’s
kind of cool okay so let me get back to Jess here we are considering the
Vanguard flagship services it’s a flat 0.3% plus about a tenth of a percent of
her investment fees for the exchange-traded funds so let’s think of
it as 0.40 or 40 basis points okay the other choice Schwab’s premium advisory
one time $300 planning fee $30 a month for unlimited access to CFPs okay now
back to Jess he says I’m 66 I retired last year I’ve
always managed her money my wife is 62 she works part-time she’s
never really been interested in money management this is a major reason why
I’m looking at a hybrid Robo having some personal contact input and guidance we
have Social Security and a joint annuity that provides sixty-eight thousand
dollars a year we will be drawing drawing 25 to 30 grand from our assets
we’ve got 2.2 million dollars I’m looking at a 30% stocks 60% bond
portfolio for stability and safety in your view do such hybrid robo-advisor
services add sufficient value even if my wife managed money we would still
consider them for consistency and to allow us more time to enjoy retirement
they’re solid and trustworthy appreciate your time and input thank you very much
Jess you know here I’m thinking two things one is if just drop dead tomorrow
god forbid how would his wife feel about having the robo-advisor is that enough
now this is one of those cases where I mean I think if it were just two people
who were sort of similar similarly interested and knowledgeable about
managing investments that might be something I would say firstly you can’t
go wrong with either one all right so the Schwab or the Vanguard do we have
any idea mark like what like does one versus the I mean vanguards been around
a little bit longer Schwab just introduced this year maybe I would lean
slightly too words Vanguard I don’t know I mean look
to me it looks like you’re short the Schwab would be cheaper for you over the
long term but here’s one last thing to remember it is different doing business
with a Robo than it would be doing business with a human being and in this
case maybe you could do a Robo but also I think that just given that you that
your goal here is about hopefully helping your wife get a little bit more
familiar with the process of managing money and taking control of this perhaps
in this case I might say how about talking to a person who is a fee-only
advisor or a CFP or a CPA who’s got that PFS designation talking to someone like
that it would cost more but I wonder if maybe it’s really this maybe it’s you
talk to somebody like that you pay up for that advice you establish a
relationship you talked to that person once a year you keep managing the money
but you establish a relationship with someone with whom your wife would feel
comfortable if you were not managing the money so I think that that’s what I
would do I would start thinking about it it’s a more expensive way to go but
maybe if you I wonder if maybe you could just pay a flat fee for the hour pay you
know a couple three thousand dollars for someone to look at this for for one time
and then get some updates I don’t know that might be that might be the way that
I would look at it okay here’s a note from Wendy about paying for college my
question how and where can parents and adult students find financial support
for students who are are will enroll in graduate school and beyond my daughter
is working and paying off her undergraduate and college graduate loans
she’s been accepted wishes to complete her PhD in the next three years hey do
you would Kelly be somebody for that mark I don’t know you might want to try
going to money – mentor.com money – mentor calm have her do that see if she
might get some help from someone on the grad school side but graduate
grad school by the way very different animal and also I think especially if
you’re getting a PhD there’s more flexibility in getting money from the
institutions so let me know what you find out from money – mentor com its
Jill on money and if you’ve got a financial question give us a shout it’s
ask Jill at Jill on money.com hop on to the website you can read the stuff that
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Jill on money very exciting let’s go and do a quick emails before we head to a
break between hours so this is from Linda how would you invest two hundred
thirty thousand which is what Linda will be receiving from the sale of a rental
property here’s her goal safety and to pass along
the money tax-free to my two children Linda is 72 and retired and she does not
need this money to live on her income is about a hundred thousand dollars a year
it’s pension and Social Security and she wants this investment this two hundred
thirty thousand dollars not to generate more taxable income her only debt is the
two hundred fifty thousand dollars that she has outstanding on her house which
is in the form of a home equity line of credit should i gift my children money
or pay off my mortgage her mortgage is four point three percent so listen if
you’re thinking that essentially that you want safety and security right and
you don’t want to create create a tax problem any this two hundred thirty
thousand dollars right in and of itself by putting it in a safe account would
create a tax liability alternatively it might not if you put it in a municipal
bond fund a short-term municipal bond fund but there’s some risk in that and
frankly if you have the opportunity to pay off your mortgage that’s locking in
a 4.3 percent return maybe it’s a little bit less after you get the tax deduction
with no risk so presuming that you don’t need any
money in your emergency reserve fund but you that’s already set um I would say
that paying off the mortgage is a good opportunity if you want to gift your
kids some of the money maybe the depends what kind of what they need like do they
need the money right now maybe what you do is you give each of your kids 15
grand that’s your gift you can do that and take the rest of the money and pay
down the mortgage that may be something to consider so I would you know sort of
in the big picture make sure you’ve got enough money in emergency reserve see if
your kids need 15 grand each right now there’s no tax associated with that and
if you got those other two things go ahead and pay down that mortgage 4.3%
not bad all right that’s the end of our one we have been broadcasting live from
the Capital One Bank Studios here in New York when we return we are going to get
more of your great questions during the break head over to Jill on money.com and
check out our resource tab got a lot of good stuff there all right Jill on money
we’ll be right back it’s the weekend and that can only mean
one thing you’re listening to Jill on money the
show that takes the mystery out of your finances here’s your host Jill
Schlesinger okay we are back it’s our number two here at Jill on money where
we are broadcasting live from the policy genius studios policy genius is the easy
way to compare and buy insurance go to policy genius.com our guest this hour is
really interesting his name is Aaron Dignan and he has written a book called
brave new work you know he’s an angel investor but he also has a company that
helps transform and coach different types of companies large and small his
firm is I think really interested in figuring out how to kind of rip away
what’s not working in the job space and figure out what is working I found him
really interesting I think that the idea of prioritizing people who are more
adaptive and autonomous over the people who are checking all the boxes that’s
gonna be a next step in the workforce the book is called brave new work and
we’re gonna dive in we also talked about his company which is called the ready so
here is our interview with Erin Dignan all right so what does your company do
right now so the ready helps organizations particularly very large
ones around the world get away from bureaucracy they’re kind of inhuman
hierarchical way of working that kind of drags it all out of us and move to
something more adaptive inhuman how do you do that in a big nasty I mean I’m
coming we’re broadcasting live from one of them CBS Corporation how do you do
that it’s interesting the of course the the mindset most of us have for change
is that you go in from the top and you get some big dynamic leader and you tell
everybody it’s all gonna be different now and and there’s you know one grand
gesture one new org chart pushed out in PowerPoint and then it’s done what we’ve
learned through years of really trial and error
honestly trying all the different ways to crack this nut is it’s a lot about
actually just inviting teams at every level to solve their own problems so we
we actually go to teams and say what’s stopping you from doing the best work of
your life and when they tell us the answer we say great what are you gonna
do about do you have to get buy-in from the top to allow that to occur you do
you need support at least within the domain where you’re doing the the work
so if it’s inside a function or a P&L or a location I mean we’ve done factories
we’ve done you know all sorts of different places once you have a ring
around that where the power holders say okay we’re sick of the old way let’s try
a new then that’s really all they have to do is make space essentially let’s
say I have a friend who works at a large metal corporation let’s just say I have
that friend and that friend maybe works in this one division which pumps out
content all the time this is a news organization let’s say that friend is me
let’s look at that as like a model here you walked into this building let me ask
you a question have you ever been here before no I haven’t what was your
impression as you walked in there’s a lot of gray there’s a lot of hallways
that I didn’t see a lot of people on my way back cuz they’re all world away do
you get it a sort of a first impression like a hot take on an organization when
you see the physical space yeah because it’s funny one of the things I talk
about in the book is that we all sort of live in this operating system which is a
set of assumptions and practices and principles that kind of make up culture
and of course space is a huge decision in the operating system so what does it
look like what does it feel like do people sit next to each other do
different kinds of roles and functions sit with each other and so yeah when I
walk into a place I do get I do get a really quick sense of like okay okay
what’s going on yeah right you get like a little like a vibe yeah I know I do
too so I was down in some other media companies yeah offices I mean look the
place could be falling apart I don’t care if horizon wrote a big check and
they’re blind but it it is so nice to see people just open it’s bright mm-hmm
it felt collaborative it could be baloney I don’t know maybe it is right
but I’m just saying that the feel was so different and it was so palpable because
I came from the CBS broadcast Center and I was right there
trés it was weird I was asking them about you know how do you incorporate
the video versus the written and how do you do this that and it seemed a bit
more collaborative what happens if there are silos so I’ll give you like here we
have CBS we’re broadcasting in the back of the radio division sure but you know
I do work in the television division there’s Network there’s there’s
affiliates how do you bring them together if they have all been
traditionally siloed in the past yeah certainly the first way to do that is to
start with an experiment so we don’t want to just you know tear up the sheet
and try to do something at scale right away because that never works I mean
something like 80% of all large change management fails so that’s that’s a
challenge so we often start with an experiment and the experiment might be
let’s do something cross-functional to break the silo around this project or
this venture or this vehicle and do that for a few months to see what do we learn
right what what works what doesn’t work what breaks what what rules policies
boundaries rhythms have to change to make that possible and if we get you
know great success with that then we can replicate it there’s one company that I
studied in the book in China called Haier they’re the world’s largest and
fastest growing appliance manufacturer they took 60,000 people who are working
in silos blew it up into 2,000 autonomous teams in a single year and
and completely took the like rip the band-aid off and said all right you’re
all now pnls you all figure it out for yourselves your customer service your
delivery they had some central shared services to help them do it but for the
most part you had literally thousands of teams running around trying to do their
work and what’s amazing is it’s totally successful well you know it’s amazing
about that story also is that it’s so counterintuitive to consider that a
Chinese company just like the planned Society has moved in this direction yeah
I think what’s interesting about what’s happening globally with this sort of new
ways of working phenomenon is that we’re seeing it happened in almost every
country so almost everywhere you look there’s a huge what they call corporate
liberation Renaissance in France happening right now there’s a lot going
on obviously in Scandinavian countries China the thing about China is there’s a
little bit of a pragmatism there like does it work then we’ll do
so when you go into a business that is seeking your guidance and then we’re
gonna get to the book also because y-you read the book but I’m just wondering
where do you find the pressure point where is the pushback come from I feel
like there are two kinds of pushback one more subtle and one more vocal the vocal
one is we don’t have time we’re also busy we’re back to back it’s for one
project to the next one meeting to the next I mean I had a clients that had 45
hours per week of meetings on average stop it unknown dead serious and so
there’s a little bit of like we can’t make time to fix it and I always go back
to the old adage you know if I had five minutes to cut down a tree I’d spend
three sharpening my axe we want we don’t spend any time sharpening the axe so if
the meeting isn’t serving us no one ever says should we change this like should
we get rid of this Monday meeting or tweak it or what are we missing here we
just barrel through and we’re not to keep our heads down so that’s the first
kind of resistance is everyone’s really excited after the first you know TED
talk and let’s all go do it and then you know week two I’m like all right let’s
start our retrospective on Friday oh well we can’t you know we can Yanks yeah
exactly we got to hit the quarter so that’s one which I understand and
empathize with but it’s it’s critical and then the more subtle one actually
has to do with ego and identity oh yes so if I’m a leader if I’m a founder if
I’m an executive and now you’re telling me that the way to get what I want which
is resilience and speed and that apptivity and growth is that I have to
give up power I have to share power and I have to distribute Authority and I
have to leave space and not be a hero Who am I right why am i important what
is what has happens to my identity and my purpose and my sense of self and I
have to trade one kind of control for another and one kind of power for
another and for some people that gap that bridge to sort of the new identity
as space holder and as as kind of gardener rather than commander that’s a
hard one we’ll get back to our interview with Aaron Dignan in just a second hey
during the break why don’t you go to our website it’s Jill on money.com
you can read listen watch you can buy my book the dumb thing smart people do with
their money you can also sign up for our free weekly newsletter so much to do and
such a short break but get going go to jail on money calm we’ll be right back do I invest here should I put my money
there Jill Schlesinger can help you back to Jill on money your back it’s Jill on
money this is the program that takes the mystery out of your financial life okay
we’re gonna get back to our interview with Erin
Dignan right now Erin wrote a book called brave new work and he asked this
really interesting question what’s stopping us from doing the best work of
our lives and his thesis is it is the way we work bureaucracy hierarchy
compliance all the things that slow us down and what he says make us feel less
human Erin basically thinks that the organization’s are broken and sometimes
you find out that organizations are broken from the people who are doing all
the work but what about the rank and file how can we the small little people
in these big behemoth corporations you write about this what we can do on the
ground level now what constantly surprises me is
we’ll go in two teams particularly teams at the edge I like to refer to it as the
edge rather than the bottom and I’ll just ask them you know what’s stopping
you what’s holding you back what are your tensions we have a bunch of tools
we use to help them generate those tensions and then they’ll outline them
and I’ll say great which of these can you do something about and the first
reaction is none but then as we peel back the onion even for 15 minutes it’s
like oh well we can change the way we Mead and we can’t change the way
communicate with each other and we could ask for this and suddenly 80% of what’s
on the table they’re like maybe we could chip away at that and start to move the
needle so part of it is just claiming your power and and taking responsibility
for your way of working right I mean there’s a lot of control there even
within the constrained kind of work flow that we all have what do you think the
elements are to creating these independent teams that function with
within these large organizations what are the characteristics that you
have seen make them more successful yeah I think at a principals level it’s
really about three right transparencies one so really having a
high flow of information we all know what’s coming on we all know what we’re
trying to do we can see progress you know work in progress there’s not a lot
of this kind of theater that goes on it’s like I’m gonna hide it and then I’m
doing a big presentation or you don’t know my divisions doing because it’s
part of you know we’re gonna be successful and you’re not so high
transparency high autonomy so this idea that you know each of us can be the
director of our own effort and can choose what we work on and can choose
when we work on it and can choose where we work on it and all that kind of stuff
which is hard for certain places to get on board with and then the last one is
really participation or consent is another way to say it if you if you talk
to folks in the Netherlands we’re so see acqua see a way of working that really
focuses on consent was born the idea is just we don’t all need to agree we don’t
need consensus we also don’t need command and control but what we do need
is consent meaning we all agree that this is how we’re gonna do this or we’re
gonna structure it this way or this is the role or this is how we’re gonna
figure out who does this work and so just by asking for a consent which is
that’s safe to try I may not love it I may not even agree but it’s safe to try
then we can kind of move forward so autonomy transparency consent are really
good places to start look you were on your own company and you’ve run your own
companies right you’re a serial entrepreneur sure so talk about
hierarchy the good and the bad of hierarchy because here’s something
that’s kind of intriguing to me I ran a company for a while I was the second in
control I really didn’t run the company I was just a high producer in a company
and I had ownership so I didn’t really want to manage so clearly stated that I
just did not like that role but there were times where the rank and file were
unhappy having to make the decision themselves I’m like just figure it out
and I felt like there were times I had to jump in because that’s what they
wanted was that a failure of not having the system that was in place to give
them that autonomy or it was maybe as a failure of my business partner who’s a
complete maniac it depends right so one of the things we
do early on with teams when they’re sort of read
how they work is talk about decision rights so where does the decision live
and there’s a bad habit that we have of doing like a racy chart where it’s like
who’s responsible and accountable and informed and consulted and it gets very
messy very fast it’s impossible to hold in your head so we just focus on where
does the decision live does it live with an individual does it live with a role
that’s held by an individual the way the president has an authority but not does
it live in a team and where once we know where it lives then we know how to make
it so some decisions are best made by a team right they need different
perspectives they need diversity of thought and opinion and so we need a way
to make decisions as a group that’s fast and efficient and effective and safe and
then if it’s owned by an individual then maybe it’s something that they can just
decide on their own or maybe it’s the kind of decision that for example at a
company like higher or burt’s org or Fabi comes with an advice process so you
have the right to make the decision but you have to seek the counsel of people
that are going to be affected vice and consent exactly right
so so that’s that’s one of the things that might have been unclear there is
like what why are we freaked out about this decision maybe because we don’t
know where it lives and if we don’t know where it lives we automatically assume
that it lives at the top right with the lunatic I think I passed my statute of
limitations on everything anyway when you go into different organizations you
go into mature you go into tech you’re going to international are there certain
ones that are just harder than others for you because I you know listen I come
from financial services right big boring old farts of the universe right yeah is
that a harder environment for you to enter as a change agent it sort of yes
and no so we do a lot with financial services actually but what’s fascinating
about it is they’re the most in pain but they’re also the most constrained so
they actually call a lot and they have a desire and there’s a need and there’s a
kind of a passion for figuring out better ways to do this but at the same
time they’re regulated or they’re in a high-risk space I mean we’ve worked in
you know aviation we’ve worked in spaces in healthcare where it’s like you can’t
screw up or something really bad can happen what’s challenging about those
environments is that 1% of decisions that actually falls into that bucket
becomes a hundred percent when there’s sort of a learned helplessness right
because the regulator said no to one thing because we have to be compliant
with 10 things all things are not possible now so it’s
easier to just say no to everything right and it’s easier to create a
culture of risk aversion that sort of wraps around the handle so yeah in a way
those are some of the most challenging industries to work in not because it’s
not possible to do this work because there are cases like Bert’s Oregon
healthcare right that do really do it well but the the challenge is actually
the mindset it’s this it’s the way people have become identified with that
category and that regulation and that compliance that actually means we have
an extra six months of work to do to get everybody sort of unwound so if you have
an organization like let’s say Facebook yeah was it flawed to begin with that
you have this one guy who has all the voting rights who has really no
accountability I mean is that just basically setting someone up to fail to
some extent because no one can fire this dude no one gets that like you could be
shamed but there’s no accountability is that a problem with a system design or
is that just an individual weird company issue well no I think it’s quite common
now and actually being replicated I think the problem is actually the
intersection between the organizational OS at the Facebook level and the
economic OS founders like that one of the reasons that they try to hold that
those you know sort of super voting rights is that they’re afraid of the way
the public market can really ruin a business and the fact of the matter is
that the public market has now gone from something where we would hold a stock
for eight years in 1960 to an average of five days today there’s a lot of
short-term trading there’s a lot of volatility trading there’s a lot of
automated trading people are hoping for rapid growth quarterly outcomes things
that are not necessarily long-term goals right so don’t go public then screw you
don’t take the money well and I think that’s something that a lot of startups
are figuring out with things like nd VC and other funding sources is maybe we
don’t want to go public or maybe we go the route of you know Eric Ries is
creating a long term stock exchange where the longer you hold a stock the
more vote you have I think if those mechanisms really were brought to scale
then organizations like Facebook would have a third option right option a is
you have this super power holder option B is you go to a public market that’s
going to ultimately destabilize the vision and its greed for short-term
outcomes sounds like by the way that the executive folks were
pretty hand-in-hand with that greed factor no possibly yeah I mean it
certainly infects the mindset if you’re already part of it which they right
right there’s and they’re already part of that system
okay now talk about the third way the third way is that you have a more
distributed ownership within the company and maybe not full cooperative but you
have a lot more employee ownership and a lot more steering and participation and
consent right and you have a different funding source you’ve gotten public on a
long-term stock exchange maybe you’re a public benefit corporation that can put
purpose ahead of profit when it makes sense these are just little balancing
factors that I think ultimately change the dynamic of you know this thing that
sort of is addicted to its own growth and you know and success into something
that’s a little bit more socially positive so we are seeing organizations
start to move in that direction and it’s you know it’s promising we’ll have more
of our interview with Aaron Dignan in just a moment hey hey you’ve got a
financial question we want to hear from you send us an email ask Jill at Jill on
money.com we’ll be right back 401ks IRAs refinancing she covers it all back to
Jill on money with Jill Schlesinger your back is Jill on money yes that’s me
Jill marks running the show sleep-deprived mark running the show
he’s doing all right he’s good hey let’s get back to our
interview with Erin Dignan because I always like to know what’s the story
behind the story so let’s find out a little bit more about Erin Dignan now
what makes you so good at this like what’s your background who are you man
oh yeah that’s a good question my background is really just about
following the most interesting question right so I came out of school where I
was doing grow up I grew up in Colorado that’s why you’re so nice so everyone
from Colorado is so nice did you grow up in a nearest city or outside I did yeah
near near Denver I went to school in Boulder all that stuff yeah you’re a
party boy then huh you know I I was actually not I was
nerd you are a nerd at a party school yes what’s that like it’s isolating but
I got a lot of reading done so you went to college and then you graduate and
what’d you do I didn’t graduate actually blew out yeah so I I started a company
my senior year because I had spent the the last year reading about the
psychology of brands and cults hmm so what makes us have irrational
connections to systems to communities to you know to things that we that we
identify with and got so obsessed with that and would so not shut up about it
the people started to hire me to do little workshops around their brands and
things that they were launching so I ended up starting a company that my
choices were go to finals or go to Coke headquarters so I went to coke much to
my parents chagrin and and yeah now I’m three credits shy of a psychology degree
dude come on you gotta get the degree that honorary no three credits it’ll be
fun for you I’d rather do another book honestly it’s that maybe you should oh
my god you’re nuts okay so you became like this marketing guru essentially
right yeah spending time thinking about that and what I noticed was we were
talking about brands what I noticed were all the brands that were shaping culture
were suddenly technology brands like Facebook or Google you know fill it fill
in the blank Apple etc and I was like wow they are really levering on culture
in ways both good and bad I want to know more about that so then I ended up
co-founding a company with some friends that was focused on digital change mm-hm
and so we started advising you know huge companies like GE and American Express
and the Gates Foundation on how disruptive technologies like Big Data or
AI or robotics or you know 3d printing would change their world would change
the the way they do what they do or change the market that they operate in
so that was the question that became really interesting and then eight years
into that I was like man it’s actually not about the technology at all the
reason these things are so confounding to us and confounding to large
organizations is that we don’t know how to change we don’t know how to adapt
what what does add apptivity at scale look like does it happen and so then I
went on this walk about looking at biomimicry and complex adaptive systems
like weather and traffic and all this other thing and so
to define these organizations that were out in the wild really fringy no one no
one really spent a lot of time covering them I mean you know obscure like a
tomato processor in California that is where people set their own salaries and
write their own job descriptions that kind of stuff I like that and and who is
10x more profitable than their average than their category average and finding
these companies and saying oh my gosh there is a better way to work and it
metabolizes the technology but it also metabolizes all this other change that
we need to do social you know economical etc so then that became the thing and
and then I started the ready and and started working on this book so it’s
just been like a lily pad from you know is that the bottom of the ice cream tub
no there’s another scoop and you know I feel like I’ve hit the bottom but we’ll
see what do you think about some of these consulting companies that have
come under pressure you know like the McKinsey gets the headlines but I’m sure
every single one of them has like these weird conflicts where they’re asked to
do like the presently asked to do work for really bad actors oh yeah right so
what is the role of saying no whether you’re a law firm or you’re an
investment house or you are a consultant because I feel like that sometimes gives
a weird signal to the staff of money always comes from you what do we care
about right what’s fascinating about this is it’s back to decision rights
right so who gets to decide if we work with Big Pharma or tobacco or firearms
or fill in the blank or some foreign you know nation that we’re not super psyched
about you can answer that question however you want but you need the
consent of the group so in my firm the way we’ve created a boundary around this
for now at our current scale is if we can staff an entire team of people who
are passionate and ready to put their heart on the line for that client then
we’ll take it and if we can’t find a whole team then that’s a signal that
it’s not it’s not going to align with our values if we were 10,000 people that
might not be a good enough barrier we might have to decide that we need the
support of some percentage of the population inside or we need the consent
of you know a guidance board or who knows what right but the idea is figure
out a way to answer that question create a decision right around that that
everybody consents to and then live with the consequences how many people at the
ready I think there are about thirty right now around the world what do you
feel like is like the optimal amount of staff that you would feel good about
managing as the boss can where can I get a job that’s what I’m worried about
yeah first of all I try not to manage so we sort of take the role of leader boss
manager that’s we they’re ready of all the all my partners no but I mean like
so you are what is your title so I’m the founder but I don’t have a title we have
roles that we hold so I hold a whole bunch of different roles including
author okay so we break the work up into roles
people hold combinations of roles and they build a career path and a role mix
so I’m gonna take on this and that’s something that’s done with the consent
of team members on each circle many roles are elected roles the second thing
is that everybody at their ready is a shareholder so we’re all partners in the
entity not everybody has the same amount of shares but you know we basically
award shares every year based on the contribution everybody makes that’s
decided by everybody so it’s a sort of multi variant approach you know and
everybody is essentially participating through that consent principle in
building the firm so that’s you know that’s the way it operates I like that
that’s kind of interesting because yeah I mean the challenge is that is the
founder as things get bigger you’re then popped into roles that you may not want
and in fact but you’ve solved for that already which is we all have different
roles and so I think that’s really smart we worked with them with a non-profit
recently actually where the the founder was saying you know all the things I
have to do as CEO now that we’ve hit this certain scale are not all about
appealing to me I like to be the spokesperson and the and the instigator
the visionary director and the other visionary and so what I think I’m gonna
do is bring in a new CEO or a CEO oh but I think maybe that might be a bad idea
and why and just like talk me out of it basically and my response was yeah you
know you you run the risk of importing when with a new leader some other
operating system some other way of thinking about how to run the business
and it’s very common that people bring in that bureaucracy by trying to find
that you know that replacement for those needs I said what if we just went to
your leadership team which is very capable and very strong and just said
these are all the roles I hold right now which ones can you hold right because I
can’t do over roll up I like that and so that’s exactly what we did that’s great
yeah thanks again to Aaron Dignan for being a wonderful guest
stay tuned we’ve got a little bit more for you ahead some of your questions
woohoo its Jill on money ask Jill at Jill on money comm is our email address
we’ll be right back 401ks IRAs refinancing she covers it all back to
Jill on money with Jill Schlesinger you’re back it is Jill on money it’s uh
it’s June are you getting ready for your vacation don’t forget to take your
vacation ladies and gentlemen come on Marc knows I love my vacation Marc’s
vacation is now filled with diaper duty and I mean do you tea why don’t want to
make right I don’t want to be brash about it but that’s about all I got for
you mark sorry all right if you’ve got a financial question give us a holler you
can reach us at ask Jill at Jill on money.com we’re blowing through the
emails here we have from Karen my husband had an annuity when he retired
through work he rolled it over to a North American new annuity about 20
years ago contracts almost up mark I know this next sentence will shock you
it did not perform that well oh my god you’re kidding and now writes Karen they
are trying to get us to sign another 10-year annuity with a $12,000 bonus to
roll it over not sure where we should put it so it performs better he’s 72
it’s $200,000 okay Karen you said this money came from a retirement account
therefore I think this is either a 401 like basically it’s an IRA rollover if
you look at the top of that annuity statement does it say IRA rollover if it
does the you have a fantastic opportunity to
simply roll that money over into an IRA rollover account easy and by doing so
there’s no tax liability two hundred thousand dollars would flow in and you
could do anything you wanted with that money preferably not with the help of
the guy who’s trying to sell you yet another annuity that will be larded up
with fees so one of the things you can do at this point is this could be a
perfect opportunity to roll the money over go to one of these online
investment services like a Vanguard personal service advisor like a Schwab
intelligent portfolios like a betterment go through their risk questionnaire
develop a game plan and move the money without not too much must or fuss so I
think you should try that he’s 72 there’s no reason that you should be
tying this money up any more definitely try to keep that that fee structure nice
and cheap and I think you’ll be better off Stephanie is a county employee she’s
got the benefit of receiving a pension however it is employee contribution
which means it’s required to my employer takes 8 percent of each pay period for
the pension I’ve no control on how its invested yeah I know that’s that’s how
pensions work that’s a municipal pension okay now Stephanie says I’m browsing the
market for a new job both within pension system and without how do I weigh the
benefits offered when making a decision I’ve heard that having a pension is one
of the best things to happen I’ve also heard that pensions are not what they
used to be what should I be considering when faced whether to stay in public in
public or go to the private sector oh this is too complicated mark I can’t
answer this straight up I really need more information don’t I it really
depends how much how much time you have in the system
you know Stephanie if you’ve been working for a year and a half then I
might be bolder but what you need to understand is that pensions are
guarantees they are good if you are in the a system that is underfunded like
you’re in a state like California New York Connecticut Illinois yeah it’s
risky because we don’t know what’s gonna happen to that pension benefit at the
end of the day what I try to say to people is this try to find the job where
you think you have the best opportunity you wouldn’t stay in a job just for the
pension on the other hand you might stay there if it took let’s say it’s 10 years
to vest in that pension and you’re in year 8 and a half and then I might say
hey cut it out make sure you get pet get get vested so I’d love for you to follow
up with us give us some more details let’s get you on the air let’s talk
about it let’s talk about the good and the the upside and downside of your
current job that to me would be really smart for us ok Bonnie wrote about a
column I published called financial literacy about financial literacy
weaknesses it’s so funny every paper has a slightly different headline so I don’t
know I’ve no literally have absolutely zero zero zero way to manage this okay
Bonnie wants to make sure that I was aware of the magnetar youth investment
academy the goal is to fill in the gap in financial literacy with lots of
competitions and this that and the other and it’s a joint public-private
initiative so I’m gonna check it out I had no idea anything about magnetar
except that I remember it was the name of one of those horrible CEOs that
almost burned down the entire financial system so an unfortunate name but uh
mark did you check it out or not we’re gonna check it out and if we like
it we’ll put it up on the website how about that seem fair another so anyway
here’s another note from Ruth about the financial literacy column as a retired
high school home act teacher for a hundred years I’m so sad that so many
schools don’t value a comprehensive curriculum of the Old Hall MEC
Industrial Arts music art I live in suburban Illinois Illinois had a has had
a graduation requirement of consumer education interestingly parents then
push to have an exemption test for their own quote smart children who shouldn’t
have to quote waste their time since all the topics are quote
common-sense it’s got a great emoji they’re all not true blah blah blah
thank you so much for writing that I really yes everyone we’re gonna do this
together financial literacy talk about it know it live it it’s Jill on money
we’re trying to become more financially literate together ask Jill at Jill on
money.com that is how you reach us we’ll be right back you’re back it’s Jill on
money and before we close out the program I this is a great question from
Linda who wrote what do you think about AXA capital strategies offered through
Prudential we had a bad feeling about this when a Prudential agent agent is
always by the way funny so salesman tried to have us change our
our Charles Schwab accounts to these products we are retired we decided not
to go with it it sounded could too good to be true he was pushing the 10% 5-year
there were no fees he said it wasn’t annuities he said that and but it said
that it I think she left out a word that it was on the printout thank you these
are structured notes they’re incredibly complex so what is it it’s it’s probably
it’s really like a junk bond almost it’s a senior debt obligation it’s so it is a
riskier way to invest in something that might be liquid there are lots of
different ways to to buy these things but here’s the thing these can be quite
expensive and what the problem is is because they’re so complex there may be
a case for it but honestly it doesn’t seem like in your case there is a case
for it so what I would say is when you feel when you have a bad feeling like
the one you had it’s an ex idea for you to simply say I’ve got a
bad feeling about this this is not good I’m not doing this so one of the things
that I think is like a good mantra for all of us is that if you can’t readily
understand the product and it’s filled with lots of jargon just stop and do
nothing and I think you did the right thing
also these structured notes can really get you in trouble when markets move
against you and it it you know they usually promise something that’s like an
annuity like downside protection with a you know a little bit of upside growth
but honest to god do you really need this probably not okay
so this is the most important thing when it smells a little bit fishy give it a
big pass okay this has been a wonderful show
we have been broadcasting live from the policy genius studios policy genius is
the easy way to compare and buy insurance go check them out at policy
genius com if you’ve got a financial question we
would love to talk to you send us an email ask Jill at Jill on money.com
and while you are kind of finagling around online hop onto the website Jill
on money.com you can set it for our free weekly newsletter all right we’ll see
you next week thanks for listening

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