Realtor Ready! – Transcript – Richard Burke with Kurt Baker
Written by Kurtis Baker on May 13, 2018
Our host, Kurtis Baker, is joined by Richard Burke of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors! Find out more about real estate now!
00:00 Kurt Baker: You’re listening to a podcast of Master Your Finances with me, Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional, Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM on 1077thebronc.com.
00:09 Announcer : You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 27th, 2016. Tune in next week, May 20th, for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 1077 The Bronc and masteryourfinances.us.
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01:33 Kurt Baker: Welcome back. You’re listening to 1077 The Bronc, 1077thebronc.com. Live from Killarney Publick House Studios, you’re listening to Master Your Finances presented by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. I am Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional. I’m hosting your show today. I’m located right here in Princeton, New Jersey. I can be reached through our website, which is www.cwmi.us or you can call me directly at 6097164700. And today our producer is Kyrie. We are very excited to have with us on the show Richard Burke, the broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors. And he was born in Red Bank New Jersey, raised in Middleton. He’s a resident of Mercer County and Middlesex for 37 years. He’s lived in Cranbury for about 26 years. Married to Debora for 37, has two children, Laura and Catherine. He owned Burke Media Design from 1984 to 2004, was the President, Creative Director and Marketing Communications Company, which was serving Fortune 1,000 companies in Central New Jersey, primarily in the pharmaceutical and banking industries.
02:45 Kurt Baker: And how he is at Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors from 2004 to present time as a broker associate and he as a full time realtor, Rick is in the top 7% of realtors serving the Central New Jersey market. A Mercer County top producer and five-star professional from 2012 to 2016 for exceptional customer service. And we’ll benefit from his marketing knowledge, network of professionals and negotiating skills and lifelong residency in Central New Jersey. And Rick has a senior real estate specialist designation, a training education, a personal life experience working with seniors and people with disabilities to help them prepare financial and future living arrangement plans in his area of specialty. Rick brings a sensitivity and professional network of resources to help the family plan together.
03:38 Kurt Baker: And today, we’re gonna talk a little bit about Rick’s background from going from media into the real estate business and how he’s transitioned that into being an expert in Senior Living Strategies as far as people transitioning from their living on their own in their homes, and then the different phases of residency that they may get into as they retire and we extend through our life process, to end of life so to speak. And so, it’s very important to understand that early as a family. So Rick, tell us a little bit about your background. I think it’s quite interesting that you started off, you had a media company, Burke Media. So what got you to the media business? And then from there, transitioning into the real estate as then specializing in Senior Living?
04:21 Rick Burke: Kurt and Kyrie thank you first of all for inviting me here to speak with you today. I’m gonna go back a little bit before that because I need to lay a foundation here in terms of where I am now and where I’m coming from. And that is, I’m the oldest of four, the only son, I have three younger sisters all about two years apart, and went to college for communications. Started off in American University in DC and wound up at University of Kansas. That’s a long story, but my wife has everything to do with it. And she and I started after college in Mammoth County, but we came out this way when she got her masters degree at what was in college? Well, college in New Jersey. So I’ve always seen my self out here in Central New Jersey.
05:10 Rick Burke: I have made a great life out here, raised two beautiful daughters. And having been in the communications business, having gotten a Degree in Communications, when I got out of college, I decided to use what my natural artistic ability was, if you recall, there was a book at the time called ‘What Color Is Your Parachute?’ That was his mantra was go with what you know and what you enjoy, and because you’re gonna be working for a long time. So after a series of Account Executive Positions with different companies producing a computer generated slides and multimedia presentations and videos and so forth, I decided to go out on my own and become essentially a producer and my niche was taking on the jobs the larger ad agencies didn’t necessarily want to do or couldn’t do cost-effectively or turn it around in the same kind of time I could. So it was a really fulfilling job for 20 years to go out and get the business, bring it in, and execute it, and be compensated for it. And it was a nice kind of a full circle thing. My average client was about 12 years, which I’m very proud of in that 20 years I was in the business. That’s pretty good track record.
06:30 Kurt Baker: Excellent.
06:31 Rick Burke: So when I hit 50 and the internet was getting more and more of an impact in terms of the marketing mix, I noticed the kids were coming out of college and running circles around me, and I thought, “You know, this has been a good ride, and I need to start thinking about where I wanna be 10 and 20 years from now.” And I did some serious soul-searching. I did the whole Briggs Myers tests. And coincidentally, one of my neighbors happened to become an agent in 2002. And I respected Kathy, she’s very bright lady, and she said, “You know Rick you oughta give real estate a chance.” And it was the furthest thing from my brain, I just had no interest whatsoever. And I thought to myself, “Well, let me think about it.” And then I realized a lot of the skills that I had as a marketing communications manager, going out meeting with my clients, my product managers, marketing communications, people who had to shape a message, define their audience, define the objectives that they needed to meet, I realized that there were so many similarities and my ability to communicate with people to be a good listener to define their objectives, what they wanted out of the transaction, so to speak, translated seamlessly.
08:00 Rick Burke: And while when I came in in 2004 to the real estate market, it was still somewhat of a frenzy with the no doc loan period, so to speak. Everybody was doing crazy business around me and I was just trying to get off the ground. And then as you realize, 2006, 2007, the bubble burst in the real estate market. And I’m one of those people who’s just not gonna quit. And I stuck with it for a really tough four to five years. And it made me laser sharp in terms of my skills now and that’s why I’m having so much success. So when I found out that there was a designation offered by the National Association of Realtors for a senior real estate specialist, I jumped all over it. Why? Because in my own personal experience with my family, I have had to deal with situations that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for. So with the aging Boomer population right now, I’m a Boomer and I’ve got parents who are… One is still alive, and a lot of people in their 70s and 80s don’t necessarily have family in the area that they’re necessarily connected to.
09:22 Rick Burke: So by default when the time comes for them to make a choice to move or whether they’re forced into a situation to move, you become the family. You become the project manager to help them make it as seamless and stress-free as possible. And there’s a lot that goes into that in this designation. It’s, as I call, a little bit more heavy lifting, but it’s so much more fulfilling and rewarding at the end of the day in terms of what’s good for the soul, so to speak, and the pocketbook. There’s no question, but having said that, the goodwill that I believe it generates and the word of mouth, that is now starting to take off with my business. Now I’m getting the business I want, and I’m really having more fun out of it. It’s just that much more rewarding.
10:09 Kurt Baker: Well, I think that’s key. It sounds like from the very beginning, I guess you had a passion for communications and working with people and kind of doing that problem solving as far as getting the message across to someone. And then obviously took that in college. You had a passion when you’re very young and I think it’s great you transitioned that, noticed an opportunity out there, and a lot of us forget about how things have changed so quickly that there was a time where it was very difficult for some of these media companies to do these smaller jobs. So this smaller company, you jumped in and found a niche, kinda used your expertise, filled that niche. And then you recognize when that market was shifting again, where I’m sure you had things like price compression and all kinds of other things are probably occurring at that time and said, “Hey, what’s kind of that next phase where I can take my expertise in communications, and marketing, and personal relationships, and problem solving?” And you were willing to listen kind of outside the box a little bit. And it turns out, one of your neighbors had just gotten into the real estate business, and you said, “Hey,” a lot of that kinda translates over.
11:08 Kurt Baker: It’s really a marketing thing. It’s just a different product, so to speak. It’s a different set of problems that you’re solving, but you’re still dealing with people. You’re still dealing with their passions, and then you brought in some of your personal experiences where your family, yourself, you’ve had to deal with some things as far as the planning. And as we get, especially as boomers we’re starting to really focus on, “Hey, what do we do for ourselves, or our parents and things like that as far as their housing goes?” ’cause these questions are coming up, if they haven’t already come up, for a lot of us and the fact that you’re now transitioning, you kind of taking an opportunity that fits right in with your own personal experience with you and your sisters and your… You still have a parent living that needs to really plan for these things, and translating all that information and that passion into a business. I think that’s really key because now you’re kind of, you’re doing what you love. And I always think that that’s a great idea, because it’s really tough to get up in the morning If you don’t love what your’re doing, it’s really hard to be good at it, I think.
12:03 Kurt Baker: I think it’s key. You kind of put all those pieces together. You’re taking a lot of your past experiences, your passions, and been listening to other people about opportunities. And now things with succeeding, and you really kind of powered through the tough time there. And a lot of us that have been connected in the real estate world. That was a pretty difficult time for three or four years. All the rules were changing in the game. Nobody really knew what was gonna happen. So, I admire you for getting through that, because a lot of people didn’t get through that phase, as we all know. You have to keep your eye on the ball, so to speak, and focus on the… Ultimately, I think it’s great that you focused on that. Ultimately you knew… Hey, people are gonna need to have housing when they get older.
12:43 Kurt Baker: People are gonna have to make decisions. Your priorities obviously change. We have a couple phases in life as far as real estate goes, and that’s the one that… To me that’s the one that kinda gets tough that people don’t think about enough, right? ‘Cause when you’re younger, you wanna buy a house for your kids or whatever the case may be. Then, as you get older you gotta make really serious decisions. Are you gonna move out of your house? Are you gonna downsize? What happens when you have issues with mobility and things like that? But we don’t think about that. When you’re healthy, and you’re young, and you’re in your high-earning years, most of those things don’t occur. So, it’s great that we’re talking about all that.
13:18 Rick Burke: Well, and the concept of retirement is changed. Back in 1935 when they started social security, the average life expectancy for the average man and woman was basically late 50s, early 60s for women. And now that number is well, plus 20 years, roughly 78 to 82 years old. My mantra is basically, make choices while have choices. So while you’re in your 40s, you’re in your 50s, early 60s… Have a plan, communicate that plan, write it down, and try to meet with your significant other, or your partner, or your children an average of about once a year. Just to say, “Here’s what’s changed. Here’s where the access to my will, my other important documents are. Here’s the website you can go to to get my passwords.” Because, God forbid, something happens to you and they can’t access, for instance, your bank account because they don’t have your password. That could be a nine-month to a year-and-a-half proposition to access the funds necessary… For whatever. That’s huge.
14:32 Kurt Baker: No, I think that huge, and obviously you’re translating into some of the things that I’m concerned about because I do a lot of retirement planning. And I think you’re right. This is really something that is a family process. And it’s one that you hear people when you start talking about these… Last phase of our life is what they like to think about. But it’s really about planning it for the benefit for the family. When you don’t plan, those decisions are gonna get made anyway. They have to be made, so it’s really better if you guide that process. And I know many people are a little uncomfortable with that, but the other side of it is if we don’t help with those decisions then you’re kind of leaving everybody to scramble on their own. And that can create a lot of issues among the family members who are remaining or have to make decisions when maybe you’re not capable of making decisions, even if you’re around. Or maybe if you pass and you’re not around, you’re no longer able to have any input whatsoever and they’re purely guessing. And a lot of times people have different interpretations of things you’ve said or done, and then the family has an issue.
15:32 Kurt Baker: Now you have a problem with the family afterwords, which is just not the best case scenario. And I think it’s really key that we take control of our own destiny and our own process and go through that. Because once… The thing that I’ve always noticed, and I’m gonna assume you’re gonna agree with this… Once people go through that process, even though it’s a little bit struggling at times, they feel better. Because they feel better about the path, they feel better about their future, and they feel more comfortable about what they’re gonna do as far as their decisions make. So when we come back, we’re gonna talk a little bit about what that process is and how we begin that process, and what the most effective ways are.
16:08 Announcer : You’re listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 27, 2016. Tune in next week, May 20th for an all-new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 1077 The Bronc and masteryourfinances.us.
16:26 Announcer : We’re talking finances, so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment on 1077 The Bronc and 1077thebronc.com.
16:55 Kurt Baker: Welcome back. You’re listening to 1077 the Bronc, the Master Your Finances. I am Kurt Baker, Certified Financial Planner professional. I’m here with Rick Burke. Broker associate of Berkshire-Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors, whose specialty is dealing with senior living and housing. And got into this awhile back. He’s got some expertise in communications, translated that into real estate and then some personal experiences he’s had made him decide to start focusing on senior living, and the challenges that we face as we grow older. We have to start making housing decisions for ourselves and for our family. It’s really a larger decision than a lot of people realize. You wanna tell us some ideas maybe some stories behind what kind of sparked your interest in what we’re doing or maybe some things that you had happen since you’ve been doing it? You’ve been doing this awhile now.
17:46 Rick Burke: Sure. Well, as I mentioned earlier, I’m the oldest of four children and by default, the oldest usually winds up taking care of business, so to speak. And at the time my parents had been divorced for, I guess about 10 years. My dad was living alone but he had a roommate, so to speak, and to make a long story short, they were both in very ill health and enablers. And the tenant, if you will, passed on. And now my dad is now in his early 70s. He’s had a couple of strokes back to back. And I stop by at his house one day after I hadn’t seen him for about a month or so, and I could barely open the door. Why? Because all of the newspapers, all of the bills, I mean all of the bills, electric, gas, the credit cards, you name it, were all basically blocking the door. Magazines, newspapers that hadn’t been thrown out. And I walked in, could barely walk through the room, and it was filth, and it was disgusting. And I thought, “Oh my god. Now what do I do?” And I just went into reaction mode, doing the best I knew how with what I had, and that was to a, get the place cleaned up. And I literally had to go through every single envelope, open it, see if it had been paid or not, and basically put his life together through opening up the past bills.
19:24 Rick Burke: And then once I determined how much money he had left, so to speak, I made short-term arrangements to work with a neighbor next door who was kind enough to help out. But my dad was basically living on consistency of chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches day in and day out until I finally convinced him to move out closer to me here in central New Jersey. And which his health took a very… Took a turn for the worst and he wound up in Merwick… He was a shout out to Merwick in Princeton. My God, it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Why? Because here’s the thing as an objective third party, as a doctor, as a nurse, as a realtor, who’s communicating with your parent when it’s in a situation where they really need to hear it from someone else that they can no longer live in their home, they’re much more amenable to it. I’m just his son, what the hell do I know? He taught me everything You know what I’m saying? And here’s the other side of it, he had dementia, and at the time I didn’t realize he had dementia. So, I’m his last friend in the world. I’m his only son and he is not trusting me. He thinks I maybe out to take his money and run. So, I’m dealing with not necessarily my best client, if you will. And I’m a little angry and resentful that I’m in this situation, but having said that he finally admitted that he needed to get into a nursing home and [chuckle] my naïve days… Okay.
20:58 Rick Burke: So, we packed him up from Merwick. I drove him back to Middletown to the nursing home that I knew my uncle had passed in, and he got great service too. And I just drove my dad there. And I said, I pulled up, I said, “Wait here.” My dad’s in the parking lot. And I went in and I basically said, “I need a room.” And the woman behind the counter said, “Excuse me?” And I said, “Yeah, my dad’s in the car and we need a place.” And she’s like, “We don’t have any rooms.” And, I’m like, “You’re kidding me. What am I gonna do with him? I don’t have anywhere to take him. We need a nursing home.” And she said, “What’s his name?” I said, “Dick Burke.” She goes, “Dick Burke. Did he have an office across the street by the McDonalds?” I said, “Yeah.” She goes. “Oh yeah. Okay. He’s the attorney, right?” “Yeah, right.” “Oh he did the closing on our house. Great. Bring him in.” I’m like, “Oh my God.” So my guardian angels were working over time that day. And he did wind up spending the last couple of years of his life there. But my message here is I was dealing in a crisis situation, and that’s what I’m trying to do to communicate to people now is don’t wait for the crisis to happen because when you are in a crisis mode you’re more at the mercy of the system which can be fairly complicated in terms of what Medicaid will cover and for how many days and so forth and so on.
22:27 Rick Burke: So that’s essentially the life experience here that’s been a catalyst for me talking about this senior real estate specialist focus of any chance I get. On the other side of it my mom who is now in Red Bank in a wonderful facility, she had an opportunity you five, six, seven, 10 years I’ve been trying to get her out of the house. She’s been in it since 1962 in Middletown. And having said that, we did start to shop about two or three years ago, and we were all set to sign a deal on an independent living facility a beautiful new place, if you know the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, it’s a couple doors down at a place called the Atrium and all of a sudden she took a turn for the worst. She got what’s known as C DIFF an urinary tract infection that put her in a bed for, I believe it was nine plus months. And again, you can only stay in one facility for so many bed days, so to speak. So we wound up bouncing her around to different facilities playing that game. So the Atrium had gotten to know my mom when she was shopping in her better health days. And we were fortunate to move her. We just completely bypassed the independent living, and went straight to assisted living. And that’s where she’s been to this day. And we were very fortunate that we had started at least the wheels turning and they knew who she was. So there’s personally… And again it was not her choice.
24:00 Rick Burke: This is the mantra make choices while you have choices. She was just very fortunate that she had started a dialogue with this particular company. And we found a great place, and she had the resources, So, a lot of people out there, the average 59 year old in this country has an average of about 60,000 dollars in savings. Their biggest asset is their home. And while reverse mortgages had kind of a negative stigma attached to them several years ago, they’ve kind of cleaned up that act, if you will, and they’re much more legitimate and they’re… In some cases, people’s only means of getting from point A to Point B.
24:40 Kurt Baker: I agree. Yeah. So, you took us through two very important people in your life, obviously your mother and your father. And it’s interesting there, a little bit different scenarios, but both are key in giving an example of why it’s really important to kind of plan this stuff out ahead. You’re talking about the path that your father took, and it just happens that he was pretty fortunate that when the time came, he just happened to have a person who know who he was and understood. That’s a godsend and was able to help you out because as I’m sure you realize and maybe other people don’t realize these places have wait lists, these places you have to get in. And if you don’t have the resources set up, they could decide whether or not to admit you or not. It’s not like they have to admit you.
25:22 Kurt Baker: So when you have things like insurance, Long Term Care or assets, you have to show them, why are we gonna admit you in here? Because once they admit you, they want you to stay there. So these are private entities, so they can make some decisions based on your resources. So it’s very important to line up the capability to be able to pay for these things through your own resources or the insurance, or some methodology. You have to plan for this, whatever works for you. And kind of… I like the fact you talked about how with your mother, you were shopping ahead of time and I encourage this a lot because people say, well, I’m not sure how much I need. Well, start pretending like you’re gonna go out and do this now, and then you can capture what you think the inflation rates are and things like that. And you can actually map out a plan based on what your preferences are. Some people wanna be in a really, really nice fancy facility. Other people, they don’t really care, they just wanna facility that’s gonna do what they need to have done.
26:15 Kurt Baker: And so there’s different price points on these different things. Some people are gonna stay in New jersey. Other people may not stay in New Jersey, so your cost of living and where you’re gonna ultimately move. And that can change of course, but it’s good to plan these things out. And the fact that your mom did that and planned it out, and then all the sudden you had something occur where she got in the sit, it is pretty common. It’s really brutal My father got that. It’s tough to get over.
26:39 Rick Burke: It’s like getting hit by a linebacker.
26:41 Kurt Baker: It’s really, really big deal. And so Yeah. That’s the kind of thing one day you don’t have it, the next day you get it, and it’s not like a cold where you get over it a couple days.
26:51 Rick Burke: No, not at all.
26:52 Kurt Baker: It’s really tough to get rid of. And those are the kinds of things that kind of blindside you… Because as we get older. I think we forget that all of our defense system, so to speak. We don’t rebound quite as fast as we used to. And so it’s really kind of important to understand that you have to plan that ahead. And you talked a little bit about… And I want you to clarify this, that she had to be moved around because you only get so many bed days. Can you explain what that was happening?
27:15 Rick Burke: I wish I could explain it better, but all I know is, I think there was a… Like a max of, I wanna say, 39 or 49 days, and it’s a whole game I’m not familiar with, and this is why I’ve surrounded myself with experts in this field in terms of if I can help you live in place, if we can help you age in place, we’ll help you age in place. So if we need to bring someone in for three hours a day, six hours a day, 12 hours a day, so be it. Everybody wants to stay in their home.
27:46 Rick Burke: 65% of the people who have been in their homes for 30 plus years, and that’s a staggering statistic. The average person in their 60s or 70s has been in their home for over 30 years. So the letting go process, so to speak, is really kind of difficult. And that’s where the sensitivity training that my associates, my elder care attorney, my consultant for the different options of living, aging in place assistants. And I love this gal because she matches personalities to your parents. It’s not just about the service they’re providing, it’s about making sure they can get along.
28:22 Kurt Baker: Yeah. So that’s good. We talked about another phase of this, which we didn’t talk about a whole lot, but as you point out, most people don’t really… It’s not like one day you move into an assisted living facility. There’s this process where… And that’s the most common process is where you’re leaving in the home that you’ve been there for many, many years in most cases. And people are like, “Well, I don’t wanna move out of my home.” Well, that’s not usually what has to happen.
28:49 Kurt Baker: Usually it’s you probably need somebody to come in and maybe do the laundry, maybe to cook a meal or two a week, maybe do some of the basic chores that are a little bit too much for you now, you just simply can’t do things like that. So it’s really… It’s not that you have to move and you can’t live alone. It’s just certain tasks that we’re all kind of of used to doing all the time and not really thinking a whole lot about It, becomes significantly more difficult to where you need somebody come in, you need a nurse practitioner or you need just… Doesn’t have to be a nurse. Most of the time is not. It’s just somebody to come in and help you with some of these relatively minor tasks, but they have to get done. Somebody has to open up your mail. Somebody has to make sure that things are clean and things are appropriate, and then you can plan for those next phases. And so it is kind of a process. So, we’ll pick up on that when we come back in just a few minutes.
29:36 Announcer : You are listening to an Encore presentation of Master your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 27, 2016. Tune in next week, May 20th for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Curtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7, The Bronc and masteryourfinances.us.
29:55 Announcer : We’re talking finances, so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment on 107.7, The Bronc and 1077thebronc.com.
30:25 Kurt Baker: Hi, welcome back. You’re listening to Master your Finances, I am Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional here with Rick Burke, a specialist in retirement planning and retirement housing. And as far as the real estate side of it goes, we’ve been talking a little bit about his experience with communications and how he transitioned that into his expertise into helping people plan and communicating with them about their life preferences and gave us some examples of the differences between what happened to his mother who had planned ahead, and thank goodness everything was all set and how with his father wasn’t quite as much planning, but he fortunately got very fortunate that they knew somebody was able to help him out when that critical time came, and it’s very important the course that we plan these things out, you kinda plan for the worst and then hope for the best, so to speak. So those are some of the transitions and just before the break we talked a little bit about how most people really would rather retire and stay in their homes as long as they can.
31:19 Kurt Baker: And really, that is the most common scenarios where somebody comes in and they start getting somebody to help them out with some of the chores and things around the house they couldn’t normally do. This whole concept of retiring, I think what’s happening, and I’m a big believer in this, and I think Rick is as well, I think we’re living a lot longer and I think even with the projections that are out there, I like to see people plan beyond even their current expectations. But I have a feeling that we’re gonna get better and better and better at longevity at the next 10, 20 years. I just think it’s gonna get up significantly. So we really need to plan for these longer term things. And part of that planning is, what do you wanna do? If you’re really literally retired for 20, 30, 40, 50 years, I think a lot of people view retirement a little bit differently. So what are you seeing out there, Rick, as far as how people view this whole retirement process as far as that goes?
32:10 Rick Burke: Well, I’m seeing a broad spectrum of… I’m 62, I’ve got a lot of friends who a year or so away from retirement, maybe 3 to 5 years away, 7 years away. But the definition of retirement has changed because we are living longer. Having said that, this is why I’m going back to the… Well, let’s get a plan together for living longer. In fact, one of my peers whose parents, I helped, and I’ll be into that story in a minute or two, is he owns a series of, not a series, but a franchise of tennis centers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey including one up here in Plainsboro, and I said to him, “So Bill, things are going great, so when are you gonna retire?” And he goes, “Retire? I’m getting ready to refire.” I guess Bill’s about 64 and I love the word “Refire,” because the definition of retirement, whereas in our parent’s generation, when they only had a life expectancy of maybe 60, 65, and the plan was to work at IBM or AT&T for 40 years and then go to Florida. That is so last century. So, what people are doing now is trying to have essentially a three legged stool and that is a place that they can go to everyday, whether that’s a business, in my case, real estate, I can work as long as I choose to work, there’s virtually no age discrimination, which is why I got into the business, it was a serious consideration.
33:44 Rick Burke: And then community service, if you wanna give back in the form of the local Lions Club, the Rotary, the local food pantry, and then another form of community in terms of being a part of a social organization or a church synagogue, whatever. But staying a part of the community is very important. In fact, there’s certain communities where they’re not necessarily formal 55 plus communities, but the towns themselves have embraced the concept of sharing services with seniors and diversifying the services that they can provide, whether it’s helping get someone pick up someone, go pick up their meds at the pharmacy or go run out for a gallon of milk, whatever. There’s all kinds of support services that have evolved since I was dealing with my dad back in 1981. There’s so much out there, and that’s fantastic. Our society has really stepped up to making these things available, but people have to find out where they are and go find them and do the best they can that way with the plan.
35:00 Rick Burke: One of the things I think that makes me different and the reason I feel I’m really doing what is best for me is I helped some Friends in Plainsboro, friends of the family, Betty and Bob, both in their late 70s or early 80s and Bob could finally, he wound up in Merwick, the new Merwick, over near the hospital for, I guess a couple of months and he was on oxygen and he was basically parked in his family room. They made a makeshift bedroom out of it, and it was clear that they needed to go to get full time help in one of the facilities, just outside of Princeton. So here’s the difference, when you’re communicating with someone who’s been in their property for a good 35 years, their home for 35 years, it’s not about what the cosmetics of the property look like and what we need to get the house ready. You have to start with the very sensitive dialogue in terms of… I’m sure you’ve a lot of memories here that are gonna be tough to leave.
36:00 Rick Burke: But don’t worry, I hear you’ve found a great place. And oh, by the way, I hear the food’s good, there’s stuff did too. And you know what the kick is? 85% of people in this bracket who resist, resist, resist love it once they get there. And the common phrases I wish I’d done this 10 years sooner. But the initial conversation is really not about replacing the carpets or painting the walls or whatever it has to do with getting the property ready, that comes down the line. But, this is where someone more mature like myself can have a whole different conversation and say, millennial who just got in the business a year or two ago. So it’s really important who you choose this phase of your parent’s life.
36:50 Kurt Baker: I think there’s nothing like personal experience and personally living some of these things and being, I guess, in the same age category that other people are dealing with. I honestly believe that because it’s very difficult until you get to this phase of your life, because it sneaks up on you a little bit. I’m in my mid 50s and I don’t really feel I’m that old but I’m actually not that far from having to make these decisions or in my plan obviously. But it’s coming, it’s gonna be in another decade. I’m in the middle of the same group that you’re talking to right now. And depending on my health, you never know. You just never know at what point in life you may start needing some of these services. Things happen to us sometimes younger. There’s situations where you can’t live on your own. You get injured in any way, shape or form and you may need some more help than you thought you would need at a much younger age. Hopefully that doesn’t happen but yes, you’re right. You have to really kinda plan it out and I think having somebody’s that’s been through this as you pointed out, your mother and your father and now you got other people you’ve dealt with, you’ve seen other situations.
37:44 Kurt Baker: And as you point out, every situation is really different. And this is truly customizing what people’s preferences are as far as what they wanna do, how active they wanna be. And I know some people wanna be very, very active. Just like my mother, father right now. One is, very, very active. The other one could sit and read book all day. But you have to blend that together, so you have to kinda make sure that both can be accommodated and both can do this thing. I know a lot of these places understand that. Especially when you have a couple that might move, right? If they both get to that point where they can’t care for each other, ’cause as we talked about earlier, a lot of times, when you have a married couple, one may be able to take care of the other one for a while, but then it gets to the point where the caregiver is getting overwhelmed and it just gets to that point where it really isn’t healthy for the caregiver to be putting that much effort in taking care of their spouse, it just becomes a little too much for them. Now, their health starts to decline, and that’s something people often forget about is the caregiver, it’s a lot of stress on the caregiver. It’s on the recipient of the care as well. But the caregiver often has issues that often goes unnoticed or unrecognized that they need to be helped as well.
38:49 Rick Burke: Yeah. And there are tremendous… There’s support groups forming every day here in the Mercer, Middlesex area. In fact, if people wanna contact me, I can help steer them that way. These are tremendous resources, because it’s not an easy job, but you touched on something earlier, and in real estate, motivation has everything to do, whether you’re buying or selling a home. So, when I do meet with a couple, maybe in their mid to late 70s, who is realizing that they’re done with the lawn maintenance and just taking care of the property that they have for all these years, when I do find that one of them would prefer to stay, I have this other dialogue with them like saying, “Okay, well then let’s talk about that.” But you’re both able to get up and down the stairs right now, the master’s on the second floor. Can we modify the living room? Can we install a closet and a bathroom in the living room, if you really wanna stay here? And then, if your hips should break or whatever and now you’re wheelchair-bound, maybe we should widen… We could widen the doorways or lower the countertops in the bathrooms.
40:00 Rick Burke: But when you start doing the math in terms of retrofitting the house, it speaks to them in terms of dollars and cents, and what makes sense. Because now that you’ve retrofitted this house, when you do finally have to move out, people are gonna be going, “Okay, now what do I need to do to put this back together again?”
40:17 Kurt Baker: Yeah, we throw it back down.
40:18 Rick Burke: So, we explore this thing, aging in place first. Have that dialogue about dollars and cents with retrofitting, and if that’s still not an option, that’s where the… That’s where both parties are like, “Okay, I get it. I get it.” We need to start explore rightsizing, downsizing, whatever you wanna call it. And having said that, to all of you listening who have been in your homes for 25, 35 years plus, the process of dealing with all of your stuff, your possessions…
40:54 Kurt Baker: That’s the nightmare.
40:58 Rick Burke: Things…
40:58 Kurt Baker: We accumulate all that stuff, don’t we?
40:58 Rick Burke: The stuff in the basement, the kids promised to move 15 years ago when they got out of college, it’s still there. Every single thing in your house requires a decision. So having said that, again, part of my team is a professional organizer. Because you have to look at every single item, decide if it has any kind of emotional value, sentimental value, value to the children, value to the community. And that person is worth their weight in gold if only to just bounce things off of and keep you in check the whole time. Because, generally speaking, you wind up with a dumpster in the driveway and a lot of stuff goes. Because, when you’re going from 3000 square feet down to maybe 1200 to 1500, you gotta really pick and choose what’s gonna matter. And the beautiful credenza or some of the furniture that was handed down to you, not necessarily… The millennials are not necessarily looking for that on Craigslist, okay? But this is where we can help you understand the value of these things and help you decide what to do with them in a great way.
42:07 Kurt Baker: Yeah. That is a process I think that stops a lot of people, because it’s almost overwhelming. When you… If you walk through your house, almost no matter what you have, but you’re just… Just downsizing it, and you’re right. You have a lot of things that maybe you inherited, you received and that you have some emotional attachment to. You really have to lay out what’s important and what’s not important. So, I think that’s critical. I, just myself, I’ve taken photos of stuff and got rid of it, because it’s like, I wanna remember it, but I don’t really wanna keep it.
42:34 Rick Burke: Oh, yeah.
42:34 Kurt Baker: So, sometimes I’ll, I don’t know, scan a certificate or something that maybe I don’t wanna forget about, but… Or take a picture of something that I thought was very important, but I don’t necessarily wanna keep it in my house forever.
42:44 Rick Burke: That’s great. I’m glad you brought that up, because things like photo albums, you can take it to the local Walmart and they’ll just scan everything and put it on a disk and now you’ve got just a little disk. That’s great.
42:54 Kurt Baker: That’s it. Alright. It’s on the cloud and even if I’m in a retirement home, I can go back and see it later.
43:00 Rick Burke: Or in the cloud, or in the cloud, exactly.
43:01 Kurt Baker: So, yeah, it’s key to really walk through the process, and I think, you brought up that… The concept of the team, and I think that’s kinda critical is that you have some experts, and not nobody in this process. There’s too much that’s happening, frankly, is, it really involves a team, which you touched on. So, you’re the realtor, obviously you probably have somebody handling the financial side of the planning. You’ve got an organizer side. So, I think it’s critical you talk about the team, and why don’t we talk about that a little bit when we come back, just the components that you might need to help you through this process, so it’s not quite so overwhelming as an individual. There are people to help with this process.
43:34 Announcer : You are listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 27th, 2016. Tune in next week, May 20th for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and masteryourfinances.us.
43:51 Announcer : We’re talking finances, so you can make informed choices for a brighter financial future. Now back to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment on 107.7 The Bronc and 1077thebronc.com.
44:19 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. I’m Kurt Baker here with Rick Burke, an expert in retirement housing and that process that involves just making decisions about how you’re gonna handle your housing as we get a little bit older. And as the challenges of living in our current home may start to sneak up on us, most people prefer to stay in place if they can, and if you can do that, then there might be some things you might need to do as far as modifying it, if you do an analysis whether that makes sense or not, whether you’re just bringing people to help you a few days a week. But then you also need to just… You need to really plan these things ahead of time as he was pointing out with the difference between his mother and his father, how she planned things out and so when the time came, she was ready. His father wasn’t really ready for it, but fortunately it worked out okay.
45:05 Kurt Baker: But it is critical to plan these things out, and part of that planning process really involves a team here, because it is a little bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of things, especially if you’ve lived in your house for several decades and that seems… That’s probably the most common scenario. Somebody’s lived somewhere for a while, where are you gonna retire? How do you envision retirement and growing and aging in place, so to speak, or whether it’s moving to the various possibilities that are out there, which are constantly changing and constantly getting, quite frankly getting better. So you wanna tell us a little bit about the team and what that process is and some examples of maybe how that worked?
45:41 Rick Burke: Sure. Earlier, I spoke about Betty and Bob, and how they had been in a house for 35 years. And one of the things I neglected to mention was their immediate family was a good two hours away in Pennsylvania. So, I was the boots on the ground here locally, and the family was very dependent on me to be there for the people who came to repair the septic, there to… For the people who had to repair the chimney and other things that needed to be done with the house in their absence. And that means they needed to trust my resources. So, having been in the business for the last 12 years, I’ve put together a network of all kinds of professionals, but as far as elder-care… As far as working with seniors, elder-care attorneys are huge. If only to update the will that hasn’t maybe been looked at in the last 30-40 years, to have something fresh, and so, everybody knows where it is, that’s huge. To have a financial advisor, to maybe explore things they hadn’t this time in their life that might be a better fit for them.
46:49 Rick Burke: And then, as far as aging in place, if they did need someone to bring in talent to help with mom and dad, even the light tasks, cooking, cleaning, what have you, we have someone for that. And then again, aging in place if you need an interior designer to come in and again redesign the space, and then the contractor, of course, right behind her or him to make the countertops lower, what have you. But all these people come in to play as a team and I’m essentially the project manager or the orchestra leader, whatever you wanna call me. But… And that’s why, I’m not about how many deals I do… A year I do, I’m more about the quality of the experience, especially at this time in these people’s life. So, let me tell you about two other people who I just helped close within the last couple of months. Jeff was 72 years old, lives in Princeton, and he had lost his wife about 10 years ago. And I met with him back in January. It’s now early November and we just closed last week.
48:00 Rick Burke: When I met him in January, you could tell Jeff was kind of a bachelor for the past 10 years in terms of the pad, so to speak, and also, he was a borderline hoarder. So again, my professional organizer was a Godsend that way, and that he helped for weeks just to help declutter. The family came in from out of state. He had no local family to pick up things that may have had importance to them, pieces of furniture, pictures, what have you. And then I brought in… Once we had everything decluttered, we brought in my handyman, who… We basically painted the whole house. It hadn’t been painted in God knows how many years, and we also did what, a pre-home inspection. So I referred him to a home inspector, who… By doing a pre-home inspection, you can eliminate a lot of things that may be revealed when the buyer does their own home inspection, and essentially nip them in the bud, or at least be prepared to deal with them. And that was huge. And then, if Jeff had needed a place to go to, I’ve got another guy by the name of Tom Callahan, who will help determine their budget, determine their lifestyle needs, whether they wanna be in a campus-type environment or something like my mom is in in Red Bank, which is a vertical, like a tower, in a city environment. This is what Tom does. He helps you figure out where the best place is for you, based on where your family is, based on what your budget is, and so forth.
49:34 Rick Burke: And then lastly, I had another client who is my age, 62. Her name is Margaret, absolutely wonderful person. She’s had MS for the past 25 years, and she was in a townhome up in South Brunswick since 1991. Her bedroom was also upstairs, she had a lift. She wasn’t… Not a wheelchair, but like a trike. She was basically housebound. And when that no longer became an option back in May, I essentially had to help her again, bring in the organizer, declutter her home. She had a valuable stamp collection that needed to be appraised, and so forth and so on. We did as much as we could and we got it on the market. I had 25 different parties come through the open house I hosted on that Sunday, and we got it under contract the first week. And she was assisted by Tom to find a place that suited her needs the best too.
50:29 Kurt Baker: So here, you’ve got a 62-year-old with MS, who’s essentially now in full-time assisted-living. And this is why I keep saying, make choices while you have choices, have some kind of a plan. Because while I personally have been blessed with great health these… All these years, and I hope to continue to have great health, I don’t wanna be a burden on my kids or my family or my significant others should that… Should my health fail in some capacity. So there’s all kinds of great resources out there. As a realtor, yeah, we’re about buying and selling houses, but we’ve become by default immediate family. We’ve become your project manager to help you get on to the next best space.
51:12 Kurt Baker: Yeah, and I think that’s kinda interesting. I think this is where specialty really kinda plays in. Because this is not typical real estate transaction, where you’ve really gotta have more advisors here. This is not about what you and your wife may wanna do as far as your next home or where the kids are gonna go to school, the kinda typical sale. This is a little more complicated, because you have to take into consideration what your preferences are for quite a while out, actually, because you’re moving in to maybe just a smaller place initially. And then maybe from there, you may have to move into more of an assisted-living situation. Maybe it’s at over 55 to start with, and then you get into more involved care where, then you might even end up in a long-term care facility at some point.
51:54 Kurt Baker: So you have to really walk through those next potential phases of life that may or may not occur, but it could occur. So you better have it figured out in your plan. As you point out, many times people are… Your family is not really close by to help you. And oftentimes, even when they are close by, it’s very difficult time-wise. We’re all very, very busy. This takes a lot of time and effort, if you don’t know anything about all these different areas, to become an expert in all these lines of business, and still have to do your own functions as your own family. If you’re the children, it could be very, very overwhelming, ’cause I’ve just known people people to go through this, and also it defaults to them and becomes very, very difficult.
52:38 Rick Burke: Well, if I may, I’d like to kinda leave this on a lighter note, and that is, well, this is all very serious stuff and I’m available to answer any questions after the show if people wanna contact me. As a 62-year-old, I intend to work until I’m at least 70. My grandfather worked till he was 82, and my running joke is if you knew my grandmother, you’d know why, but I’m gonna go to hell for that. [laughter] But he had a choice. He had a place to get up and go. But having said that, my wife and I like to travel. Not often, but when we do, we like to go to National Parks, hike. We like the shore. We finally made it to Europe for the first time at age 60, a couple of years ago. But here’s my thing, if you’ve got that bucket list or even if you don’t have a bucket list, start a list. Because while you may be young and healthy, relatively speaking, now, the concept of retirement has changed. So, if you wanted to go down to Santa Fe, New Mexico and rent for a year or so, if you wanted to rent an RV and travel across the country and park all your stuff in storage, do… You can possibly move three, four, five more times between now and when you’re 80-something years old. So don’t limit yourself to the old “move to Florida and die” concept. The going out feet first is not a plan. Okay?
53:57 Kurt Baker: No, definitely not.
53:57 Rick Burke: So take advantage of the healthy years that you have left and make the time to speak with your partner, significant other, or best friend, and say, “you know what, here’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m gonna continue to work. I’m gonna continue to support my community, be involved in my community, but I’m also gonna make time to have fun.” And that’s really the other side of the senior real estate specialist. It’s to open people’s minds to having some fun along the last few years.
54:23 Kurt Baker: We definitely should enjoy our retirement, Rick. And we definitely appreciate you coming on the show. If you wanna reach Rick, you can go to… His phone number is 609-529-3371 or Rick.Burke@foxroach.com. We’ll also post it on our website, the… On the Facebook page as well, which is Facebook.com/masteryourfinances. You can reach us through the website, which is www.cwmi.us, or you can listen to this podcast or any of our podcasts at www.masteryourfinances.us. You can call me directly at 609-716-4700, and remember, you too can master your finances and reach your financial peace of mind.
55:07 Announcer : You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and 1077thebronc.com. Tune in every Sunday morning at 9:00 to learn everything you need to know about personal and small business financial planning, including investing, estate planning, insurance, employee benefits, 401K and 403b plans, retirement planning, and more. Missed an episode? Go to 1077thebronc.com to download and listen to previous shows. Master Your Finances is underwritten by Certified Wealth Management and Investment, focusing on personal financial and small business planning. For more information about all of Certified Wealth Management and Investment services online, it’s cwmi.us.
55:54 Announcer : You were listening to an encore presentation of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, originally aired November 27th, 2016. Tune in next week, May 20th, for an all new episode of Master Your Finances with Kurtis Baker, exclusively on 107.7 The Bronc and masteryourfinances.us.