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Jeff Motske, CFP®
President and CEO

"For 10 years, I have used proven coaching strategies to help clients strive for their most important financial goals through behavior modification and sound planning."

Jeff Motske, CFP®

Jeff Motske is an author, an accomplished executive, radio personality and financial advisor. He is the author of The Couple's Guide to Financial Compatibility and hosts the weekly radio show, Declare Your Financial Independence, where he crusades to bring real planning to real people and help them use the proven steps toward financial independence.   But that's not what's special about him, what's special about Jeff happens on a Tuesday afternoon at his son's baseball practice, or a Thursday night playing slow-pitch softball with his 70 plus year-old dad, or an early morning pouring over ideas with his wife, Kendra. Jeff is one-of-a-kind in the financial services world because he knows and lives what some people really don't understand: financial success isn't a destination, it's a choice and a commitment, one decision at a time.

Jeff started as just another California kid with Midwestern roots. He got a job straight out of college with a small mutual fund company doing retirement planning. But his aspirations grew. As he watched the landscape of financial services, Jeff saw in living color how disconnected most of his industry was from the real-life, everyday issues of Americans. He saw, with great remorse, how distant his profession could become from the people it served and from the goals they espoused. His clients were making the hard decisions to pay down debt, save for the future in small sums, commit to their families and their work, live deeply-rooted lives. He believed that financial planning could be more like what he saw in his client's lives everyday and less like Wall Street. By creating Trilogy Financial in 1999, and bringing together the resources for middle-class Americans to find financial independence, Jeff has focused on revolutionizing his industry and is still doing so today.




 

 

Jeff's Client Relationships

Jeff and his team support a wide variety of clients, but here are some of the groups he has built his practice around.

 

One of the most popular topics in financial services is Social Security.  Open up your mailbox in certain neighborhoods and you can monthly (if not weekly) get an invite to a hotel ballroom or restaurant to learn about the little-known “secrets” of social security.  All of this makes a lot of sense in an era where the system of social safety nets now nearing their 100th anniversary are showing signs of wear – social security is not what it once was, and deep down everybody seems to know it.  What they don’t know is what to do about it.

Picture yourself in 1935.  You are likely either a factory worker or a farmer (statistically speaking).  If you are the latter, much of your social safety net lies in the land you own or have a long-term rental agreement for.  You have a son who is going to farm that land for you and make sure that you keep food on your table.  If you are a factory worker… not so much.  The industrial revolution of 30 years back has created massive income opportunities within cities, but with those opportunities come fluctuations and risks, never before borne by the bulk of American citizens.

You also, due to a variety of factors, have a much shorter life expectancy.  If you live past 61 you’ve really achieved something.  Retirement (as we know it today) was a luxury of the uber-rich: people who—with fortunes acquired by blood line or business acumen—faded from work in their fifties to watch from corner offices as progeny and associates ran their financial affairs for them.
 
Enter the Social Security System.  Passed into law in 1935, the benefit was designed be accessed at Full Retirement Age of 65.  (Yes, you’ve done the math correctly, that’s 4 years AFTER you’re supposed to be dead.)  And, at that time, there were 37 active workers for every retiree, so the government got the math pretty well figured out in their favor.

So, Mr. 1935 guy, how does retirement work for you? If you live longer than your peers and work until full retirement age, you probably take a couple years of benefits and maybe a small pension from your factory and live in relative stability until passing away much later than planned.  Luxurious (if you don’t mind outdoor bathrooms.)

Today? A whole different story.  Today there are 3 active workers for every person in retirement. Today the average life expectancy exceeds 75 years, so a person taking full retirement benefits may be on the program for a decade or more.  Yes, the Full Retirement Age (FRA) of the Social Security System has crept up a few years, thanks to some Reagan Era legislation, but the issues remain the same.

Add to that fact that you are probably neither a factory worker nor a farmer.  You don’t have a small pension, you’ve worked at a wide variety of jobs, and you’ve got money stashed in random 401(k)s, IRAs and other accounts with varying investment performance and benefits.  Retirement today (for better or worse) is a self-made affair, not one primarily provided by government or your employer.  A study in 2016 by DST systems notes that the average retiree (and who’s average?) will collect only 34% of their retirement income from social security, with 66% needing to come from other sources.  And the earlier you take your benefit the riskier that proposition is.

So what’s a 2017 future retiree to do? Wait for the government to rebuild social security so it looks more like its 1935 origins? That’s about as likely as you remodeling your house and moving your toilet outside in honor of the “good old days”. No, today, retirement is about a matrix of informed decision-making.  You must understand your social security options, and decide which is best for you and your family along-side all of your other investment and financial considerations.  As we say often here at Trilogy: every dollar affects all the others.  And that’s especially true of social security dollars.

So, don’t feel (In)Secure.  There are ways to traverse these waters and we’re here to help.  But make sure that you aren’t waiting for 1935 to come back in vogue… unless perhaps you’re thinking of getting into farming.


*Unless otherwise noted all statistical and historical data is taken from The Social Security Dilemma, www.stanford.edu.

THE LATEST FROM JEFF



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