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Retirement, investing and Tony Fauci

Special to Gannett
Walton Sun

Last week, two great Americans popped up as Facebook memories. One morning I listened to Wade Pfau’s retirement planning presentation, and that night, we saw The Sam Bush Band close the day at Rockygrass in Lyons, Colorado. Both put on a good show. Also, in Buz’s Pantheon of great American stands Dr. Tony Fauci.

Find a job you love and will never have to work a day in your life is a quote attributed to many, including Confucious and Mark Twain. Dr. Fauci doesn’t have to deal with the vitriol directed his way. He’s pushing 80, and given his length of service, his CSRS pension is well into six figures. Fauci could sit in a rocking chair and not have to deal with the hassle. I can’t read his mind, but he seems determined to continue his life-long dedication to America’s health. He likely sees his work as a calling, and trekking to his job is no struggle.

In addition to his pension, Fauci can contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), an elective deferral plan for government employees similar to 401K plans. Twenty years ago, the TSP was hands-down the best 401K plan in America and still is better than most. Plan providers have gotten religion about 401K fees, and many have closed the gap. Pay attention to the costs of your retirement plan. In addition to low fees, the TSP offers only index funds that outperform actively managed funds. Finally, the TSP has a unique money-market equivalent, the G fund, superior to anything provided outside the TSP. Expand the TSP so any worker whose employer does not offer a 401K plan can participate.

I’ve seen the YouTube videos circulating on social media where Fauci expresses doubt masks work, a position he now supports. When facts change, change your mind. At one time, I recommended preferred stocks, but now I don’t. With preferred stocks, you get the risk of common stocks but none of the growth. Just two months ago, I had no clue the power a country that has monetary sovereignty, like the United States, has over countries that don’t. Government deficits are not always bad; they can be harmful or maybe not, depending on inflation and employment.

Retirement planning has changed over the last two decades, too. Historically, it was all about the Benjamins, the financial aspect, but successful retirement is more than money. Look no farther than the dizzying rise of gray divorce, people divorcing after decades of marriage. Last week my good friend Rick Ferri tweeted, “… the most important element for happiness in retirement is having a quality plan for how to spend your time.” Time is money; treat them equally.

Inaccurate and misleading social media tropes don’t have America’s best interests at heart. Many come from overseas troll farms that want to promote discord in America.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP, can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by, masked, 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.