Episode 9: Fred Brock: Retire on Less Than You Think

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Are you wondering how much money you will need to retire? How important downsizing your lifestyle will be? How the slump in the house marking affects your retirement plans? Or, how to choose a community where you can take it easy and enjoy life?

Our guest today will tell you some things that will make you feel better about the years to come and may even change your life. Only a few years ago, the question on many Americans' minds wasn't 'how will I retire' but 'when.' Now, with 401(k)s and IRAs at a fraction of their previous value and health-care costs soaring, it's time for a definitive guide book that walks you through the fundamentals of retirement. For more than a decade Fred Brock was a business editor and columnist at the New York Times. With his biweekly 'Seniority' column, he has earned a reputation for providing frank and pragmatic advice on the changing landscape of retirement. He’s the author of Retire on Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future AND Live Well on Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Achieving Your Financial Freedom.

Mr. Brock and tells you how you will fare in retirement with a few adjustments in lifestyle.& Do you need 100% of your current income? 80%? You may just have enough to retire right now. This podcast will lift your spirits.

Transcript

David Debin: Hello, there, and welcome to Third Age, with the doctor and the man from Hollywood, David Debin. I am the man from Hollywood. I’m here in Santa Barbara because they won’t let me back. And on the show that we do here, the Third Age, we turn the myths of aging upside-down and we sort out the scientific and the trendy. We’ll sort out the medical and the cultural as well and tell you everything you need to know about living in the Third Age with panache and just enough chutzpa to get you by. Remember, we guarantee, if you listen to us, you will never grow old. That’s an ironclad guarantee, and if you grow old and listen to us, you can come back and we’ll refund the years. The Third Age usually starts somewhere around age forty-five or fifty. It’s a time when you start to feel a strong desire for deeper meaning and fulfillment in your life. Your First Age is childhood and your Second Age is building your career and your family. The Third Age is a transition to a whole new set of problems, values, opportunities, gratifications. So join us as fellow explorers, is what we are in this journey to discover what brings passion, purpose, and joy into this uncharted time of life. Unfortunately for us, the doctor, Peter Brill, M.D., is on vacation. He’s in Turkey. But don’t touch that digital dial, because our guest today is someone who will tell you some things that will absolutely make you feel better about the years to come, and may even change your life. Only a few years ago, the question on many Americans’ minds wasn’t, “How will I retire?” but, “When?” Now, with 401ks and IRAs at a fraction of their previous value, and health care costs soaring, it’s time for a definitive guidebook that will walk you through the fundamentals of retirement. So, with his biweekly seniority column in the New York Times, Fred Brock, our guest today, has earned a reputation for providing frank and pragmatic advice on the changing landscape of retirement. He’s the author of the book Retire On Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future. He’s also wrote Live Well On Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Achieving Your Financial Freedom. When we get Fred on the line, here, I want him to talk to my wife about living well on less than you think. She needs a serious discussion about that. David Debin, here, guiding you through the maze of getting older and having fun doing it. I’m here with Marissa Scobasi and Jeryn Piltz, our producers. I want to tell you about somebody who is kind enough to come on our show. For more than a decade, and he’ll verify this for us, Fred Brock was business editor and a columnist at the New York Times, and for a number of years he wrote that paper’s seniority/retirement column. That’ll be perfect for Santa Barbara. You know what they say, “The newly wed and the nearly dead.” Fred also worked as an editor and reporter for the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He’s the author of many books, and you go onto Amazon and you’ll see that he has written a number of books. The ones we’re talking about today are Retire On Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future and Live Well On Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Achieving Your Financial Freedom. Welcome to the Third Age, Fred.

Fred Brock: It’s a pleasure to be with you.

David Debin: Just the titles of those books make me tingle all over.

Fred Brock: The basic idea behind those books, the two main themes I explore in those books, in the retired book, is that maybe you can retire when you think you can’t. You go into the workplace these days, a lot of people in their late fifties and early sixties are sitting around, continuing to work when they’d like to retire because they think they don’t have enough money. I argue they probably do if they’re willing to make some very minor changes. The other book, Live Well, I think makes the point successfully that we live in such a rich society. But if you’re willing to be economical, not overly frugal, just economical, that you can cut back on your expenses enormously and in effect give yourself a huge raise.

David Debin: Why do we have to tell people to be economical?

Fred Brock: Because we live in a society that encourages us not to be. People are encouraged to fritter away their money and to spend it on frivolous things, every time they watch television or listen to the radio or go to the movies or read the newspaper.

David Debin: It’s astounding, isn’t it?

Fred Brock: It is. It’s not that hard to resist, actually. It just takes a little discipline and a little self-will.

David Debin: I agree with that. The Boomers are known for spending, not saving.

Fred Brock: That’s exactly right. The Boomers have had this sort of “BMW” lifestyle and now, all of a sudden, they’re faced with the prospects of retirement and if you go to the places like the Federal Reserve, and you look at the amount of money that Boomers have, it’s pretty paltry. So the Boomers are kind of in trouble, but I maintain that they’re going to build themselves up by changing the rules. Typical Boomer reaction.

David Debin: That’s an interesting thing. I think a lot of Boomers depended on that inheritance they were going to get and nobody planned for the fact that their parents were going to live twenty or thirty years longer than they thought.

Fred Brock: Exactly, and that inheritance is turning out to be a bit of a myth, because if you divide the amount of money that’s going to be left by the number of Boomers, it doesn’t work out to very much per capita. It’s true that if you come from a wealthy family, you’re going to inherit a lot of money. If you don’t, you won’t inherit any. But the point is that, spread out over the entire population, it’s not nearly as much as people have pretended it is.

David Debin: I know, because I heard great sayings like, “the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of modern times,” and I guess maybe that’s what they thought it was going to be.

Fred Brock: I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s working out that way. The parents are living longer, and many of them are using up their money.

David Debin: Yeah, using up their money, and I’m sure I shouldn’t say this, but there are a lot of Boomers out there who are thinking, “Come on, get it over all ready!”

Fred Brock: The Boomers have some built-in advantages, but it’s a different generation. The G.I. generation, their idea of retirement was, you get to be sixty-five and you just stop working and get to go on vacation three hundred and sixty-five days a year. One day you’re a worker, the next day you’re not. The Boomers don’t look at work that way, and they don’t look at retirement that way. Their work is a part of their psyche, so they’re not going to just walk away from a job. They’ll be employed one day and on vacation the next. They’re going to transition into retirement by continuing to work in some fashion that fits their new lifestyle. So the Boomers are not going to have a traditional retirement, where sort of on vacation. They’re going to be very active, they’re going to be adventurous, they’re going to want to do things, they’re going to want to work. But one thing they’re going to do, and we’re seeing this starting already, is they’re going to change their lifestyle to match the money they don’t have. They’re going to have to sell their homes in these expensive coastal cities and they’re going to move to less expensive areas. They’re going to downsize. It’s not by accident that Time publishes a magazine called Real Simple that appeals to the Boomers. The reason for that is that Boomers are going to downsize their lives considerably. They’re going to move to less expensive areas, and they’re going to call it a lifestyle change, but it’s going to bail them out.

David Debin: I totally believe that that’s what’s going to happen, but I don’t think it’s happened yet. I think the trickle has started.

Fred Brock: Look at the most popular retirement cities, smaller, less expensive retirement cities, and it’s beginning to happen.

David Debin: What are they? Austin? Portland?

Fred Brock: Some places like Santa Fe, for instance. They’ve already peaked there.

David Debin: Santa Fe’s expensive.

Fred Brock: It wasn’t expensive a while ago, but it’s gotten that way because people have started to move there. You look at other smaller cities. I just spoke yesterday to a woman who runs the commission in Oxford, Mississippi, that works to attract retirees to that town. They’ve had an amazing amount of success attracting retirees to Oxford because it’s a pleasant town. It’s a university town, and the state is very tax advantageous to retirees. Towns like that.

David Debin: Give me a couple more.

Fred Brock: Bloomington, Indiana. Oxford, Mississippi. Manhattan, Kansas, where I live.

David Debin: What about Bloomington? What’s special about that?
Fred Brock: Bloomington, Indiana, has Indiana University there.

David Debin: So is it always good to look for a university town?

Fred Brock: For the Boomers, it is, because they want to be around culture, they want to be around good restaurants, they want to be around good medical care, and if you’re going to go to a smaller town, you’re likely to find those things in a smaller town that has a good college or university very close.

David Debin: Boy, that is really great advice. And Manhattan, Kansas?

Fred Brock: Manhattan, Kansas has Kansas State University. The town of Manhattan is only about forty-five thousand people, but the number of students at the university are twenty-five thousand, so you can see the difference it makes.

David Debin: And what are Boomers afraid that they’re going to miss when they make these lifestyle changes? What’re the fears of making these lifestyle changes?

Fred Brock: People used to think that the Boomers would have trouble adjusting to less money. I don’t think that’s true. I think the Boomers—they’re such a time-pressed generation. They’re so busy, they’ve been so obsessed with their careers. I think on some level they look forward to taking a breath, to downsizing, to not having to worry about making some payments, and, you know, to get off the money machine. I think they look forward to that. But at the same time, I think it’s not the money and the things that money buys that they’re so concerned about giving up. I think they’re concerned about losing things like good food, culture, that kind of thing, and that’s why they’re looking at these university towns.

David Debin: I love this conversation. We’re going to take a break for our sponsors and don’t go away, please, Fred. This is just great for all of us. Thanks. We’ll be right back with the Third Age.

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David Debin: You’re back with the Third Age, or we’re back with the Third Age. I’m David Debin. I am here with Jeryn Piltz, with Marissa Scobasi, and we are having a very important conversation with Fred Brock, who has written many books. The ones we’re talking about now are Retire On Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future and Live Well On Less Than You Think. Hi, Fred. Thanks for being with us. Tell us, before we go forward, what we can do, because what’s the best way to get these books? Or do you have a website we can go to?

Fred Brock: I do have a website. It’s just called fredbrock.com. The website has links to places where you can order the book, but you can also get it at amazon.com or any Barnes & Noble bookstore. They’re around.

David Debin: Okay, great. I’m sure they are. Got a good name associated with it. My favorite newspaper, as I say. We were talking about living when you retire. I don’t want to say “retire.” When you get older, your work is winding down in some ways, hopefully because we’ve all been working ourselves to death, and then it’s time to step back a little bit. And you look at your financial situation, and you think, “Well, how can I step back a bit?” And you don’t really say, “How do I change my lifestyle?” You just get scared. How are you going to keep this lifestyle up? Fred, you’re going to tell us about something called “real estate arbitrage.”

Fred Brock: Well, it’s what I call “real estate arbitrage.” The truth is, you’re not going to keep that lifestyle up. Several years ago, when they did surveys, say twenty years ago, they used to ask people this question: when you retire, do you want to move or stay put? Eighty per cent of the respondents said, “I want to stay put.” Now when they ask that question of the Boomers, from sixty to eighty per cent, depending on the poll, the Boomers say, “I want to move.” And the reason they want to move is what I call “real estate arbitrage.” Let’s give two examples. I’ll give a hypothetical example and I’ll give you my own example. First hypothetical example, suppose you live in San Francisco. You’ve lived there for thirty years, you have a house that’s paid for or mostly paid for. The median price of a home in San Francisco is more than seven hundred thousand dollars right now. It’s actually close to eight. Let’s say more than seven. Let’s suppose you decide to retire to Jacksonville, Florida. Nice town on the Atlantic coast. Jacksonville, Florida, the median price of that same house, transferred to Jacksonville, Florida, median price is about two hundred thousand dollars. Well, do the arithmetic. You can move to Jacksonville, Florida, buy a home free and clear, have no mortgage, and have five hundred thousand dollars to invest to give you some income. If you invest it at four per cent, that’s twenty thousand dollars a year. If you invest it at six per cent it’s thirty thousand dollars a year. Without touching the principle. Presumably you can make more than four to six on your money if you’re in long-term mutual funds, things like that, so without even getting into the principal you’ve got an income, you’ve got a house that’s free and clear and no mortgage payment, and you have no work-related expenses. You don’t have to buy those fancy clothes, you don’t need two or three cars, you don’t have to buy those lunches and so on. So your expenses drop dramatically and you’ve played a little real estate game there, you’ve leveraged one house into another and taken the cash. Now let me give you an example of my own life. Three years ago, when I was sixty years old, I was able to take early retirement from the New York Times. I lived in the New York area and in New Jersey, a town called Montclair, New Jersey. I did not want to retire. At the same time, however, I was offered a teaching job at the Kansas State University. Well, after crunching numbers I decided to move from one Manhattan to the other, and my wife and I had bought a house in the New York area, we had bought a house about ten years earlier for something like a hundred and eighty-some-odd thousand dollars, and those houses there had appreciated dramatically in the nineties, and we wound up selling that house for around four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That enabled us to come to Kansas and to buy a house, a nicer house actually, free and clear, so no mortgage. My taxes, property taxes, dropped from nine thousand dollars in New Jersey to only about twenty-five hundred in Kansas. My car insurance on two cars went from three thousand dollars a year to eight hundred dollars a year. Things of that magnitude. All of a sudden, expenses dropped dramatically. Now, I didn’t make that move to retire, but that’s, nonetheless, what happens when people do make those kinds of transfers. Those kinds of moves. The kind of money they can save if they’re going from one of these high-cost coastal cities to a less expensive place.

David Debin: Okay, so a New Yorker is going to look at you and say, “How can you want to live somewhere other than New York? It’s the most exciting city in the world, you had a great career here.”

Fred Brock: When I came out here, some of my friends looked at me like I was crazy. They looked at me like they think there are still cowboys and Indians West of there. They only have a vague notion of the country. They look West and they see California, and they’re a little vague about what’s in between. But at any rate, yeah, you run into that a little bit. I still stay in touch with these friends, of course. I remind them that I ride my bicycle to work and I regard three cars as a traffic jam.

David Debin: Let me ask you this. This is a good premise to work on, that you just presented to us. I’ll tell you something that I’m finding as I go through working with Third Agers and people working in this situation. There comes, and you can tell me what happened in your own situation, there comes to be a bone of contention between the husband and the wife. It’s not that they both agree, “Okay, let’s sell our house and move to a cheaper place. Okay, let’s go and do that.” I think that there are ties and stuff that become an emotional thing that a husband and a wife really have to be able to work out in making this kind of move. Am I just talking about my own situation?

Fred Brock: No, no. I think that’s true. For instance, my wife’s family is still in New Jersey, and so there was a bit of a separation that had to take place there, but we had lived away before. We had lived overseas before, a couple times before, and we’d lived in a couple other parts of the country before. So her family, I think, was used to the fact that we lived away. And my family, of course, is sort of scattered all over the South, so that wasn’t an issue. I think what will happen is that we’re such a mobile society, we’re all scattered around anyway, and a lot of the Boomers are living where they live not because of family ties, but because of work ties. They’ve followed jobs. So suddenly the job ends, or they’re able to retire, and I think most of them can move pretty easily because they’re not necessarily tied to families in those places. Their families may be scattered everywhere. I’ll give you an example from the book of a man who retired. He and his wife retired in New York and they moved to Henderson, Nevada, and actually wound up being closer to those family members than they’d been in New York.

David Debin: A more central location.

Fred Brock: Right, exactly. If it’s an issue that separates a husband and wife, one thing they can do is say, “Well, look, let’s retire in a place that’s a major airport hub.” It’s real easy and relatively cheap to fly.

David Debin: That’s great advice.
Fred Brock: In my case, I live in Manhattan, Kansas, and I’m two hours from Kansas City. I am not near a major airport hub. But that wasn’t an issue in our situation. But if it is, that’s one way to solve it, is to say, “Let’s make the transportation part of this easy.”

David Debin: The other thing about this is—we have a minute before we go to break, so I’m going to ask you anyway—if I say to my wife, “Let’s look at Jacksonville, Florida,” anywhere in Florida is perfect for what you’re talking about. She’s going to say, “No way am I going into that weather.”

Fred Brock: Suggest Arizona or New Mexico.

David Debin: Come on! They get hotter.

Fred Brock: Not up in the mountains.

David Debin: No, that’s true. See, we have to do our research. Isn’t that true?

Fred Brock: That’s right. And that’s what I stress to people, is you need to—there are a couple of wonderful websites. Do we have time to discuss the websites?

David Debin: We will as soon as we come back. We’re going to take a break and we’ll come right back. Thanks for being with us. Stick with us.

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David Debin: Okay, all you Third Agers! Wake up, because this is your time to win a free book. The name of the book that was written by Dr. Peter Brill and David Debin, it is Finding Your J-Spot. Joy in mid-life and beyond. You’re going to get a free book if you can answer one of these questions, but you’re in a race with Jeryn and Marissa. If they get them first, then you’re not going to get the book. 564-1290 to get a free book. Here’s your first question, for all you Boomers out there: what did all really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school? Here are your choices: immediately sniff the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high. That’s A. Made paper airplanes to see whose could sail out the window. Or C, wrote other people’s names on the top to avoid failure. What did savvy students do? Does anybody know what a savvy student—you don’t even know what the word “mimeographed” means, do you, Marissa? Jeryn, you can’t answer that either, can you?

Jeryn Piltz: No, that’s a challenge, right there. We need someone to call in.

David Debin: Well, nobody can do it. I’ll tell you what I did.

Jeryn Piltz: What’d you do?

David Debin: I sniffed it to get high, and guess what, that’s the answer!

Jeryn Piltz: Did it help you do better on the test?

David Debin: No, I was terrible.

Jeryn Piltz: So then you wrote someone else’s name on there, and then you made a paper airplane out of it. So all of them are right!

David Debin: No, but when you sniff it to get high, you don’t have to worry about how you do on the test. Okay, the next question. If you want a free book. What was the name of the group who made the song The Gypsy a hit in the U.S.? Was it the Inkspots, the Supremes, or the Esquires? The title of the song was The Gypsy. Who made it a hit in the U.S.? The Inkspots, the Supremes, or the Esquires? Okay, take a guess, Jeryn, because I know you don’t know the answer.

Jeryn Piltz: You know, I have the Cher song Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, so I’m a little bit lost.

David Debin: Okay. Marissa, take a shot.

Marissa Scobasi: I would guess the Esquires on a whim.

David Debin: You’re off the shelf. It was the Inkspots. You don’t even know who the Inkspots are.

Marissa Scobasi: No, I don’t.

David Debin: Okay. Last question for a book. Who left his heart in San Francisco? Was it George Gershwin, Xavier Cugat, or Tony Bennet? Take your choice. Tony Bennet, Xavier Cugat, or George Gershwin? Who left his heart in San Francisco? Okay, somebody knows the answer to that. Marissa? Jeryn?

Jeryn Piltz: I think I know the answer it Tony Bennet, but I’m thinking it might be a trick question, like someone else wrote it.

David Debin: It’s not.

Jeryn Piltz: Oh, good.

David Debin: You win. Jeryn, you win the book. Even though you’re not old enough to read it, you win the book. We’re talking to Fred Brock, who says people sometimes leave their money in San Francisco. Welcome back, Fred.

Fred Brock: Glad to be back.

David Debin: Okay. Let’s go on to where we were headed with the hypotheticals.

Fred Brock: Right. We were talking about how you need to do your homework. Before you move anywhere, you need to look at lifestyle and finances, and there are two fabulous websites that are absolutely free. One of them’s called www.bestplaces.net. It allows you to go in there and to compare virtually any town or city across America with another, and you can compare them financially, life style things. You can make all kinds of comparisons. You can set up side-by-side numbers and that kind of thing. You can look at the median price of homes, you can look at the climate, you can look at cost of living, you can look at taxes. All kinds of things. It’s a marvelous interactive site run by a man named Bert Sperling, who lives in Portland, Oregon. Whenever you read these articles in magazines, about the best places to do this or that, he’s the guy that provides all the data for those companies. And his website is bestplaces.net. I highly recommend it for people who are looking to move from one place to another for retirement reasons or just to move from one place to another to save money. Another good site, also, is called retirementliving.com. And it’s run by a man out of Connecticut. It is mostly free, although there is one little part that if you want some specialized data you need to pay a little one-time fee for, but it’s not much. But most of it is absolutely free. And it’s particularly good on allowing you to compare the tax load in the various states around the country. Which states are most advantageous for retirees in terms of taxation. That’s very important information. Because people sometimes think, “Oh, wow, a state like Florida has no income tax. I’ll want to move there.” Well, in fact, a state may have no income tax, that’s great, but they’ve got to get the money somewhere and so there may be high property taxes, there may be high sales taxes. So you need to balance all that, look at it and compare it.

David Debin: That’s what we have here in California. We had that Prop 13 where they can’t raise your property taxes—

Fred Brock: But if you’re a new resident, can’t they?

David Debin: I don’t know about that. I’ve lived here for so long I don’t know about that.

Fred Brock: I know about Prop 13.

David Debin: Oh, okay. But what they do, of course, is California income tax is huge.

Fred Brock: It was huge when I lived in New Jersey and in New York. It was huge there, too, as was sales tax and everything else.

David Debin: There’s a whole bunch of questions I want to ask. Your book contends that Wall Street and the mutual fund industry overstate the amount we need to retire. That is really important.

Fred Brock: They overstate it by a lot. They will tell you that you need seventy to eighty per cent of your pre-retirement income in order to retire and not eat cat food or be in a bread line. That’s just self-serving data that—they want your money. And how better to get it than to scare you into giving it to them? In fact, you don’t need that much, and you especially don’t need that much if you’re willing to make some of these lifestyle changes I talk about. And the problem with figures like that is it scares people to death. They think they can’t retire. Charles Schwab wrote a book a few years ago in which he said he felt like you needed eighty per cent, but he was more comfortable with a hundred per cent, and in some cases you might need a hundred and twenty-five per cent. Well, you know, come on. The truth is that most people, when they retire, their expenses are going to way down. The mistake being made with those kinds of projections is you shouldn’t be looking at income, you should be looking at expenses. What are your expenses before you retire, what are your expenses after you retire? That’s the magic number. And in one of my books, I guess in both my books, I have a chart you can fill out. You can list your pre-retirement expenses and your post-retirement expenses. And many of those are going to go down dramatically or they’re going to disappear.

David Debin: Is this a crazy statement, “fear drives capitalism?”

Fred Brock: Oh, that sounds dangerously political. I don’t know. I guess, on some level. But I don’t think I want to get into that.

David Debin: Okay. It just popped into my head. I thought I’d try to trap you with that one. I guess I couldn’t. We had Erik Olsen, the head of AARP, on the show, and he actually said you only need fifty per cent, if I remember correctly. Jeryn, do you remember what he said? I had it written down. But it was some incredibly low number.

Fred Brock: Right, well, the number I’ve used is somewhere between forty-five and fifty per cent, I think is a reasonable number. Look, the mutual fund industry and Wall Street can say you’ve got to have eighty per cent all they want to, most people are not going to have it. It ain’t going to happen. So what’s going to happen? Are we going to have people starving in the streets? Of course not. People are going to downsize and continue to live meaningful, full lives, I expect.

David Debin: And are communities going to start to become partners in this downsizing thing?

Fred Brock: They might. Communities help a great deal. Depending on where you go there could be tax breaks, tax exemptions for retired people, there can be facilities available for retired people. I know a lot of towns now, the way they attract retirees is, if they’re a town without public transportation, they offer some kind of van or bus service for retirees that they can pay a small fee and get picked up and taken places at some times of the day.

David Debin: This kind of thing, I think, will be more common as we go along.

Fred Brock: Oh, absolutely. I mean, look, as Theodore Kosinksi said, “the future belongs to the old.”

David Debin: I’m glad to hear that. We have been talking with Fred Brock, who wrote Retire On Less Than You Think and Live Well On Less Than You Think. Get these books. They’re critically important to your peace of mind. Fred, thank you so much for being with us, and I hope that you will come back sometime and tell us more.

Fred Brock: My pleasure. Any time.

David Debin: Okay. Thank you.

Fred Brock: Thank you.

David Debin: We are going to come back after a word from the people who keep us on here.

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David Debin: Mick Jagger, who’s sixty-six now, and he’s still jumping around ready to go. They’re still making a hundred million dollars every year on their tour. So I think that we should all have been rock and roll stars.

Marissa Scobasi: So you don’t have to retire on less.

David Debin: So you don’t have to retire on less. So how about those Lakers, Marissa? What do you think? Could be a good year for the Lakers?

Marissa Scobasi: Better be.

David Debin: Why?

Marissa Scobasi: Because I like them. They’re the only team.

David Debin: That’s the only team you do like?

Marissa Scobasi: Yes.

David Debin: Would you like to be a Laker girl?

Marissa Scobasi: Sure, why not? No, I wouldn’t. I’d rather be smart.

Jeryn Piltz: They’re starting to play a little bit more like a team, and that’s all that you can hope. Wait, what show is this?

David Debin: What’s your gold handicap, Marissa?

Marissa Scobasi: I am way below par.

David Debin: You’re way below par? In golf?

Marissa Scobasi: Yeah.

David Debin: Wow, that’s fabulous.

Jeryn Piltz: Good answer. I was going to say I don’t play.

David Debin: How could you be way below par? You’d beat Tiger Woods if you were way below par.

Marissa Scobasi: I play mental gold.

David Debin: Did you ever get a hole in one?

Marissa Scobasi: Of course. More than once.

David Debin: Okay, I’m going to stop playing real golf and switch to mental golf. Are you enjoying yourself?

Marissa Scobasi: I am. Can we wear Hallowe’en costumes?

David Debin: Yes. We do a whole thing with wigs to have fun, and be playful. And actually, we’re going to be talking about Hallowe’en costumes as Hallowe’en comes up. As a matter of fact, now that you’ve mentioned Hallowe’en costumes, you didn’t know that I was prepared, did you? I have some costumes here. What would you rather be? Would you rather go as a penguin, a hot dog, or a whoopee cushion?

Marissa Scobasi: I like the hot dog.

David Debin: You’d like to go as a hot dog? Here they are, hot dogs.

Jeryn Piltz: Is the hot dog kosher?

David Debin: Yeah. What would you go as?

Jeryn Piltz: Oh goodness. I like the penguin. I think he’s awfully cute. Little bow tie.

David Debin: Why does nobody want to go as a whoopee cushion? It’s really a great costume.

Jeryn Piltz: It’s a gas!

David Debin: Everybody, thank you for being with us. Be good, be healthy, save your money, and stay strong.