Home Accessibility for Aging in Place | Claire Wentz for Streid & McClellan

Home Accessibility for Aging in Place

With people living longer and healthier lives, more seniors are choosing to age in place during retirement. However, you may have to tackle home accessibility modifications in order to do so. How can you navigate all the choices to make the best and most cost-effective decisions?

Aging In Place: Is It Right For You?

First, decide if aging in place is the right choice for you. For example, if you currently live in a two-story home, it may not be a wise idea. You’ll also need to consider what kind of budget you have now or will in the future to make renovations to accommodate your needs. Read more questions you should ask yourself at MoneyTips.

Despite the challenges, there are numerous benefits to aging in place, including:

  • Familiar surroundings as you age. Since you already know your home so well, you won’t have to adjust to a new place with new problems. You may also be safer as you age.
  • It helps you retain your independence.
  • You can avoid the hassle and inconvenience of relocating and finding all new service providers, faith groups, friends, and more. Keep the community you already know and love.

Aging in place has also given rise to the “Village Movement.” According to Zest Now, this movement supports areas where groups of seniors live, which helps them to stay in their homes. Home modification and other services are brought in or made easier for them.

Making Renovations: What To Consider

If you’ve chosen to stay in your home, it’s time to take stock of what changes your home will need.

  • Safety and Mobility
    Are your hallways well lit? Can your doorways accommodate a walker or wheelchair, if you need one? Do you have motion sensors to turn on lights? Finally, your bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in your home. Assess what changes you must do to make it safer (such as adding a non-slip shower floor, walk-in bathtub, and grab bars for the shower and toilet).
  • Convenience
    Aging often comes with difficulty in wrist mobility, so you may want to replace things like doorknobs with pulls and faucets with levers. You might also want a detachable shower head for added convenience while showering.
  • Accessibility
    If you use a wheelchair, you may want kitchen counters to be remodeled for accessibility and long-term use. This is a costly investment but may help you remain in place.
  • Budget
    While some financing is available, it’s best to see what kind of budget you have first and what you require. Do you need big changes, like a kitchen renovation, or small, like adding a ramp to a stairway?
  • Contractor
    You will need a contractor that you can trust to make modifications. They should be well-versed in options to improve accessibility, mobility, and all your needs. The Contractor Connection has a list of licensed and secure contractors in their finder tool.

If aging in place sounds like a good fit for you, here are more questions you can consider to make sure it’s your best choice from Next Avenue. Use this planning guide from Aging In Place to move forward. 

Alternative Options

However, if staying in your home seems like a costly idea or you have far too much house for your post-retirement needs, you can consider other solutions:

  • Downsizing
    Buying a smaller home might be a good option for you. Review your local listings and recent sales to get an idea of current home values and prices. It’s also important to get a good idea of what you’ll get for your home when you put it on the market (online calculators can help you estimate the proceeds).
  • Senior Communities
    These communities feature one-story homes or condos and may even require residents to be over age 55. They also provide a built-in community of seniors.

If you are healthy, aging in place might be just the ticket. Research necessary modifications and costs, and compare those to the costs of downsizing to see which option works best for your needs.


Claire Wentz is creator of Caring From Afar and author of the upcoming book, Caring from Afar: A Comprehensive Guide for Long-Distance Senior Caregivers. Claire is a former home health nurse and recognizes that our aging population means many more people will become senior caregivers over the years. Specifically, she is interested in providing assistance and support to those caregivers who do not live near their loved ones. She hopes her writing will inform them, uplift them, and give them peace of mind when they need it.

Making the Most of Your Money | Tim Streid & Mart McClellan

Making the Most of Your Money

How can you make the most of your money? If you want a secure financial future – and who doesn’t – then you should ask yourself this question.

One common approach to make the most of your money is to ruthlessly cut expenses to the bone and stick to a draconian budget. Another approach is to max out your retirement account every year; yet another is to automatically reinvest interest and dividends you earn.

But when we work with our clients, many of whom are successful dentists, we don’t recommend any of these approaches. Instead, we talk about how the best way to make the most of your money is to keep your money in motion.

What is Money in Motion?

Just as blood needs to circulate in order to keep the body alive, so, too, does money need to stay in motion. Money that stagnates in one place goes stale and prevents you from reaching your full potential when it comes to building wealth.

Yet this is exactly what most people do, because it’s exactly what they’ve been taught. Financial experts almost all say the same thing: take the money you’ve earned and put it into a retirement account that can’t be touched (without incurring a penalty) for years, possibly decades, depending on your age. Or invest it and don’t touch those investments until retirement.

This “set it and forget it” approach is appealing because it requires so little effort. But it means that each dollar you’ve put into that account has now been used just once to build your wealth.

Why is this a problem? Because it’s not the best way to make the most of your money. It’s certainly not how the financial institutions, corporations, and government (which we collectively call “the rainmakers”) make theirs.

How the Rainmakers Do It

When you deposit $10,000 into a savings account, the bank does not literally put your $10,000 into the vault for safekeeping and let it sit there. Instead, it takes your money and makes more money off of it, mainly in the form of loans to other customers. It gives you a very low interest rate while making a lot of money off your one-time deposit, all because it’s keeping that money in motion.

We find it interesting that the institutions that advise individuals like us to lock away our money for our own good for long periods of time are doing the exact opposite – and making a lot of money in the process.

Making the Most of Your Financial Future

Now that you know how rainmakers make money by keeping it in motion, don’t you want to do the same? You can build the wealth and have the retirement you want without resorting to severe budgeting or locking away your money for decades.

You can read more about money in motion and how to set yourself up for retirement without a pay cut in our book, Your Retirement Smile, or visit our website to learn more.

What Is the Return That Can Support Your Lifestyle?

Are you prepared to retire at age 65? If you’re like most dentists, the answer to that question is No. In fact, dentists are retiring later than ever before. According to a report from the ADA, leaving their practices at the age of 68.8 on average. That’s almost four additional years of work beyond what we’ve been told is the “normal” age for retirement. Part of this can surely be blamed on the fact that many people aren’t quite prepared financially to retire at 65.

What about you, are you on track to retire at 65? Do you know what return is needed to support your lifestyle? Here’s what to know in order to retire on your schedule.

Don’t Focus Just on Accumulation

Many dentists believe that for successful retirement, it’s necessary to accumulate a huge pile of assets by age 65. That’s why they focus on the first of the three wealth-building phases – accumulation – and ignore the second and third – distribution and conservation.

But we believe this is the wrong way to approach it. These three phases aren’t sequential, but are intertwined throughout life; every decision you make impacts two or possibly all three. That’s why it’s imperative to understand and plan for the distribution and conservation phases during the wealth accumulation years (i.e., while you’re making money in your dental practice). If not, you’ll likely maximize your retirement accounts without understanding exactly why or exactly how you’ll get the money out of those accounts decades later.

The True Difference Between 3% and 8%

To illustrate the importance of distribution, imagine these scenarios. Two dentists are saving money before retirement, both with the same goal of continuing to live on $300,000 a year once they stop working. The first dentist must accumulate $10,000,000 by retirement to draw that annual income of $300,000 at a distribution rate of 3%. The second needs only $3,750,000 in assets to draw that same $300,000, this time at a distribution rate of 8%.

Which scenario sounds better to you? You can see that these scenarios don’t depend on a high rate of return or even the nature of the financial products themselves, but are dependent on having the right distribution strategy in place to maximize the assets that have been accumulated. What’s important here is not the rate of return, but the rate of distribution.

Planning for All Three Phases

Our goal is to help dentists retire when they want to with the peace of mind that they have financial security to see them through their golden years and don’t have to downgrade their lifestyle in the meantime. For more info on our philosophy and how we make that happen, we invite you to peruse our website and check out our book, Your Retirement Smile.

Financial future

How Decisions Today Impact Your Financial Future

How often are you making decisions about your financial future? A lot of people answer this question by saying something like “a few times a year.” After all, you only make a few big decisions every year about retirement accounts or investments that will fund your golden years. 

But that’s not the right answer. The right answer is every day. Every financial decision you make impacts your financial future, whether that’s paying your mortgage, covering a child’s college expenses, or making changes in your practice that will affect your bottom line. Some financial decisions are bigger than others, but they all affect your financial future. 

A Microeconomic vs Macroeconomic View

These individual decisions are microeconomic decisions. They’re made on an individual level, item by item. Over time, these microeconomic decisions add up to up to affect your financial life from a macroeconomic perspective, which takes a broader point of view. Understanding how these two levels interrelate is extremely important if you want to get a good handle on your financial well-being. 

For example, think about your mortgage. How often you pay your mortgage and how much you pay towards it doesn’t just affect the loan itself. It also affects your finances on a macroeconomic level and, therefore, your financial future. When you think of it like this, you see that each decision you make when you pay a bill or make a purchase has ramifications for the whole of your financial health. 

The Consequences of Ignoring the Macroeconomic Viewpoint

Many people only view their finances from the microeconomic point of view. But doing this can cause you to lose hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars over a lifetime without even realizing it. You miss out on the opportunities and added value that a macroeconomic approach brings. This is a big reason most dentists retire on just half of their preretirement income. 

This viewpoint also calls into question a lot of the conventional wisdom in the finance world. Some commonly advised strategies we aren’t in favor of include compounding of interest in a taxable environment, excessive tax deferrals for retirement plan contributions, or the acceleration of debt repayment. Purchasing the wrong financial products and following the wrong strategies can result in disappointing income in retirement, too. 

A Plan with Macroeconomic Positioning

The Financial Treatment Plan we create with our clients takes into account the relationship between microeconomic decisions and macroeconomic benefits. The way we help our dentist clients plan for their financial future results in a secure retirement with no cut in income.

Interested in learning more? Look out for our upcoming book Your Retirement Smile and check out our website to discover more about the Financial Treatment Plan as well as how to take control of your financial future.

Don't delay retirement

Don’t Delay Retirement: Put A Plan In Motion

People are retiring later and later in life, and missing out on the sixties…the best decade of your life! There are many reasons that cause people to delay retirement, but most are unnecessary and can be avoided with a strategic financial plan. Keep reading to find out more about utilizing your financial plan to prepare you for a happy, comfortable, on-time (or even early) retirement.

In order to avoid delaying your retirement, it’s vital to set yourself up for long-term wealth enjoyment. Just because you make a good income during your career and save money for retirement  (in the traditional sense) does not mean you will retire on time. In fact, many of our clients (particularly dentists) are doing both of these things and still retiring later—closer to age 70. If you are doing everything “right” according to the traditional method of retirement planning, why are you having to delay retirement to stay afloat?


Factors that delay retirement 

First, professionals pursuing higher education delay entering the workforce, naturally cutting down on the number of years they will have over the course of their career to accumulate wealth. Once you are finally in the workforce, it is likely that you have several large financial obligations such as student loans, purchasing a home, or starting a family. 

Additionally, many people do not understand the exponential curve of life and its impact on long-term wealth building, which can also slow down wealth creation and push out retirement. There are three phases of the curve (accumulation, distribution, and conservation), which are dynamically connected and intertwined. It is important to look beyond wealth accumulation and understand that your money decisions throughout life will affect multiple, if not all, of these phases. 


The role of your Financial Treatment Plan

In order to overcome these factors that delay retirement, you must have a dynamic Financial Treatment Plan in place. This plan should be set up long before you are ready to retire, and it is incredibly important to look at this plan holistically and at a macro-level. Nothing works in a vacuum, and your financial decisions in each area of your plan affect the others, including your retirement. A Financial Treatment Plan will help you make the right decisions with every dollar that comes into your life by positioning it to benefit your long-term wealth.

You deserve to be able to retire on time without stressing over your finances. Learn more about our philosophy and the importance of a Financial Treatment Plan in our book, Your Retirement Smile. You can also learn more about our services on our website, and give us a call to schedule a consultation to discuss your financial future!

Man donating money on phone

Charitable Giving: The Ultimate Triple Win

When planning for your financial future, there are a few things that are top-of-mind: a retirement fund, money to leave behind for your family, and saving, conserving, and protecting your wealth. Charitable giving can help with all of those factors. While it may sound counter-intuitive, giving more can mean that you have more money in retirement and more to give to your family when you are gone.

We speak with many people who are hesitant to make sizeable charitable donations because they view it as a transaction, or a wealth deduction. Thinking of charitable giving in this way is a microeconomic perspective and can put you at a financial disadvantage. We challenge you to evaluate your financial situation and plan on a macro-level, where all facets of the plan are connected and you keep your wealth in motion. This approach means that your charitable giving can actually increase your wealth and be a strong part of your strategy.

With a holistic and well-balanced financial treatment plan, charitable giving can act as a “triple win” in the following ways: 

  1. Have more income in retirement.
  2. Not disinherit your spouse or children.
  3. Make a gift to the charity of your choice and see the results of your gift during your lifetime.

When a well-positioned charitable strategy is paired with a traditional retirement plan, the tax benefits are three-fold. There is the potential to receive a tax deduction up front, a tax deferral on growth inside the plan, and tax-free access to investments at the end. Charitable giving, when carried out properly along with other diversified assets can be one of the most powerful distribution strategies.

There are a few different approaches to take, such as the TurboTithe strategy or a charitable remainder annuity trust (more on this in our book, Your Retirement Smile). Many people don’t take advantage of these opportunities in their financial plan because they are unaware of the benefits, or they did not find out about them early enough in their career. The right financial advisor who is concerned with your passions and best interest can help you work through the ideal method for your overall financial plan.

The bottom line is this: the better you are positioned financially, the more options and income streams you will have in the future. This gives you the freedom to make proactive decisions, and allocate your money how you want to—whether that means giving to charity or using it in other ways.

Let us talk to you more about charitable giving as a win-win-win strategy. Visit our website and give us a call to get on the right track with your financial future.

Pension vs 401k

Pension vs 401k: What You Need to Know

When thinking about retirement, there may seem like there are a lot of different paths to take. The best way to make good financial decisions for yourself and your future is to be well-versed and educated in personal finance topics, such as retirement plans. In this blog post, we are breaking down pensions vs 401k plans, two common retirement plan options, to help you better understand them.


A pension is a retirement fund that an employer contributes to while you are working. In retirement, the funds from this provide you with guaranteed income, typically on a monthly basis.

There are several factors that determine how much income you receive in retirement, including: your age, how long you have been with the company, and your income while working. Additionally, different companies may have rules about pension eligibility.

Pensions are being phased-out across the country and it is becoming increasingly hard to find companies that still offer them. However, if you like the idea of a guaranteed income in retirement, which most people do, an annuity can be an alternative and acts as a “self-made pension.”

401k Plans

A 401k plan is a retirement fund that is offered by your employer and is funded by you. You are responsible for making all of the investment decisions, therefore you take on all of the risk associated with it. Even if your company matches your contribution, the burden of figuring out how much to contribute to save enough for your retirement falls entirely on you.

Additionally, 401k plans are controlled by the government and they make all the rules. The government dictates when you can take money out of a 401k and how it will be taxed. They can also change these rules, meaning that you may not be able to take out your money at the age you expected, or you may be taxed differently than you had planned.

What you should know

The best route to take when planning for retirement is extremely dependent on your situation, preferences, and retirement goals. We are big proponents of keeping your wealth in motion, as well as devising a retirement plan that doesn’t require you to take a pay cut in retirement. It is always best to talk through these decisions with a financial advisor so that you can set yourself up to be smiling through your retirement! In need of retirement planning or wealth management advice? Visit our website to learn about our services and give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Retired couple camping on beach

Don’t Let Poor Planning Take A Bite Out Of Your Retirement Adventures

Dentists and orthodontists juggle work, family and community responsibilities, with little time for a game of golf or planning for the future. When we ask dentists: “How do you expect to spend your money in retirement,” most answer “We are just going to live off the interest of what we’ve saved.”

The fact of the matter is nobody can live off the asset’s interest, whether it’s a CD or a savings account (typically generating 1-4%).  Example: If you have $1,000,000 and you are earning 2% on that investment, that’s generating $20,000 interest. Face it: That $20,000 won’t cover your living expenses…let alone a Tahiti trip.

Retirement Strategy: Solo Vs. Professional Help

According to U.S. News & World Report, running out of money is a retiree’s greatest fear. Retirement income replacement planning is key for savvy dentists and orthodontists who want to alleviate this fear. That’s why you need a good financial advisor who understands the dental and medical business.

At our firm, we work with dentists, orthodontists, and really any health professional to grow their income and diversify their financial products to include a mix of life insurance, disability insurance, structured equity and bond investments, annuities, business overhead insurance, retirement and long-term care plans.

Whether you’re near retirement or just starting your practice, now is the time to seek professional financial input and create your road to a happy retirement and ultimate financial success.

Invest Without Stress – Get Professional Help

Let’s say Dr. Jones is 60 years old, married and saved a nice nest egg.  Those funds have a lot of pressure on them. They have to provide income for BOTH he and his wife during their retirement l, which could extend 35 years.  And, if they want to leave some money to their kids, grandkids or a charity, it’s all coming out of their savings and earned interest.

If Dr. Jones is going at it solo or doing it himself, and the stock market fluctuates and interest rate changes as they always do, he has no control over how his investment will react. Add to that life or health changes requiring long-term care for he or his wife or runaway inflation, and you’ve got a heap of worry.

If Dr Jones has a 401 K plan and investments in place from years ago with the help of a financial advisor, he needs to re-evaluate that financial plan/investments and update it to reflect the current markets.

Many of our dentists look to retire or be in a position to retire at 60 or 62. Since that is relatively young, their savings have to last over a long period of time. Today’s standard recommendation for retirees is a 3-4% withdrawal rate off their entire nest egg, but with a 35 year projected life span, Dr. Jones and his wife could still run out of money.  If Dr. Jones has a million dollars saved, three years into retirement he may only have half that savings due to spending and market changes. Ask retired people that have lived through significant market downturns, like in 2008, it happens!

So ask yourself; Why should you take a 50% pay cut in retirement because you didn’t seek strategic, economically-sound financial advice from a firm such as ours?

What’s The Answer?

The first step is to evaluate where the dentist is today on the road to retirement and provide a personalized, strategic plan. Most dentists we initially see have only two or three sources of income (Social Security, a retirement plan and their dental practice).

We show them what they can expect if they continue with their current plan (or lack of one) and help them position their assets in a balanced way to provide them with significantly more income during retirement with the ultimate objective of full income replacement. Our basic approach?

  • Review all of the current financial products and their rates of return.
  • Create more efficient ways to manage their assets (retirement plans, investment accounts, savings, real estate and mortgages).
  • Compare different financial scenarios and market outlooks and customize their plan.
  • Create an exit strategy that doubles income in retirement at 7-8% distribution rates, not 3-4%.
  • Diversify all assets in a more strategic way by creating multiple streams of income that will include permanent life insurance, investments, real estate, and revise the retirement plans.
  • Factor in Social Security, interest or dividends on investments, spending down assets, rental income, charitable trusts, cryptocurrencies, collectibles and other ways to maximize income sources in retirement.


CPA and financial advisor, Tim Streid and orthodontist, Dr. Mart McClellan, are presidents of Macro Wealth Management, which is a firm that caters to the dental and medical professional. Utilizing a economically-based financial model to create short and long-term strategies for the future, they are the only dental-focused firm in America that uses this system and has a dentist on the team as an advisor.  Both are Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) and registered in multiple states in the areas of securities and life/disability insurance. They are authors of the new Forbes book “Your Retirement Smile: The Treatment Plan for Pay Cut Prevention in Your Golden Years.

For a free consultation with Macro Wealth Management, contact us at