Retirement Outlook – Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Our 2 Cents – Episode #151

Retirement Outlook – Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

We’re playing a fun little game show on today’s episode of Our 2 Cents. Steve and Gabriel will take sides on pressing retirement issues. Whether you’re a perpetual optimist or a wary pessimist, this episode will equip you with perspectives to plan your retirement years with confidence as we ask the longstanding question, “is the glass half full or half empty?”

  1. Will a Government Shutdown Hurt Retirees?:
    • A looming potential government shutdown has some retirees wondering if they need to be worried about the impact it could have on their daily lives.
    • Will Social Security, Medicare, or other essential services be shut down?
    • What delays in services could be expected?
  2. Retirement Outlook – Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?:
    • The stability of Social Security
    • Healthcare affordability in the future
    • Tax rates in the next decade
    • Long-term care options for the future
    • The next five to ten years in the stock market

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Podcast Transcript

Announcer: You are listening to Our 2 Cents with the team from SGL Financial: Building Wealth for Life. Steve Lewit is the president of SGL Financial, and Gabriel Lewit is the CEO. They’re here to discuss all the latest in financial news, trends, strategies, and more.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, hello and good afternoon. Good morning, good evening. This is Gabriel, Steve, and the SGL team here.

Steve Lewit: I guess we could add to that, good day.

Gabriel Lewit: Good day.

Steve Lewit: Good day.

Gabriel Lewit: Good day to you, sir.

Steve Lewit: Good day to you, sir.

Gabriel Lewit: How do you do?

Steve Lewit: I do fine. I was under the weather for a couple of weeks there, for nobody could figure out why. It was really weird.

Gabriel Lewit: You were under the weather.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. But-

Gabriel Lewit: Now you’re above the weather.

Steve Lewit: I’m above the weather, yeah. Thank you for-

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t think that’s a phrase.

Steve Lewit: Well, it is now.

Gabriel Lewit: If you’re under the weather, shouldn’t you be above the weather?

Steve Lewit: Definitely. Yes. I am flying.

Gabriel Lewit: Over the weather.

Steve Lewit: Over the weather.

Gabriel Lewit: You’re feeling over the weather today?

Steve Lewit: No, I feel like I’m flying in clear skies.

Gabriel Lewit: Got you. Okay. Well thanks for tuning in folks. We love having you here on our show. We’ve got some fun topics, some interesting topics lined up for you today. We have some maybe concerning topics about the government shutdown that’s potentially looming. I say potentially well, because we just don’t know yet-

Steve Lewit: We don’t know.

Gabriel Lewit: … and they tend to figure all this stuff out. So we thought we would start with that one first today. And if you haven’t been watching the news, there’s some brewing tensions in Washington.

Steve Lewit: You think?

Gabriel Lewit: Basically, the federal government has been moving closer to a potential shutdown on October 1st, which is the start of the new fiscal year. And in essence, the lawmakers not doing their job, not passing legislation to fund a variety of discretionary spending. Things like defense, transportation, education, some services, a variety of different things. And so it’s one of those topics where, when you hear about it, you get concerned because you don’t know exactly what it means or what it doesn’t mean. And so we’re here to just shed a little bit of light on it. There’s not a ton to talk about, but hopefully alleviate some concerns if you have concerns out there about what this might mean.

Steve Lewit: Well, I think the big distinction here, Gabriel, is that this is not like the last default when the government was going to default, which shutdown everything like social security payments and things like that. This shutdown does not affect social security, it doesn’t affect Medicare. It is only on the areas that you mentioned. Those are special, what do they call them, exactly? Spending areas? They’re in the article.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, the categories.

Steve Lewit: The categories, yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Transportation, defense, education. Well, and it’s not going to stop you from receiving your social security payment, like you were mentioning if you’re receiving social security. But it could impact whether or not they have people there to calculate your raises.

Steve Lewit: Like the inflation.

Gabriel Lewit: The inflation adjustments, for example. So some things will slow down that are even related to Medicare until they pass a resolution to fund everything.

Steve Lewit: The back office stuff, the getting information that will slow down. But the essential living income and services that are so important that would’ve been cut in the default will not get cut here.

Gabriel Lewit: Now, if you happen to work for the government, in theory, that would stop paying you.

Steve Lewit: That’s correct.

Gabriel Lewit: That’s not good. So that’s a little bit of a concern. But as I said before, most of the time the Washington folk over there get their heads together and get everything figured out.

Steve Lewit: Or it could last a week or two. But I am not terribly concerned. It’s just annoying.

Gabriel Lewit: The news loves it because anytime they can put on a headline government shutdown in all caps, people tend to click on it.

Steve Lewit: For sure. I mean, but that’s what headlines are about. How can I scare people? But this is something you should pay attention to. Although I don’t feel any fear behind. It’s just annoying, as far as I’m concerned.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. So if you do have any bigger-picture concerns on what that is, what it means for you, you can reach out to us, of course, anytime. And we are here to help answer and alleviate questions and concerns that you might have.

Steve Lewit: Definitely.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. All right, well that’s what we wanted to say about that.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: We can move on to it.

Steve Lewit: You started by saying there’s not much to say.

Gabriel Lewit: There wasn’t much-

Steve Lewit: I agree with you.

Gabriel Lewit: They didn’t end up being that much.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I agree with you.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. So our main focus for today, if you’ve heard the phrase, is the glass half-empty or half-full. Right? You’ve all heard that phrase.

Steve Lewit: You and I were talking about that the other day.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, yeah, we were talking about it. I just think I forget what it was about, but I’m always perennially a half-full kind of guy. And there are some people out there that are generally half-empty kind of folks. And what I mean by that is they tend to look things very negatively. They tend to think things aren’t going to work out. They tend to doomsday scenario, they tend to always be concerned that things aren’t going very well.

Steve Lewit: And that is the half-empty part of the glass.

Gabriel Lewit: That is the half-empty viewpoint of the glass, the half-full it says things are probably going to work out. Things are looking not as bad as they could be. Things could always be worse. I think they’ll get this X, Y, or Z. We’ll get better.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. With all the problems, we’re pretty good as we are.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. So it’s always looking at things from the positive light. And I guess the question is, where do you fall on certain topics? Are you a glass half-full type person or a glass half-empty, and maybe you’re half-full on some and half-empty on others? I’m not sure. But we thought we would pick a couple of topics here and talk about how one might look at these from a half-full or half-empty perspective. And then maybe we can get you to turn around some of those perspectives if they’re too negative.

Steve Lewit: Or maybe they should be negative. Or maybe-

Gabriel Lewit: Maybe.

Steve Lewit: …You could be looking at it naively as half-full, and it really deserves something to be concerned about. So it could work either way.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. We’re here to give you different perspectives, and it’s always good to assess both sides of the, or both top and bottom parts of the cup.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. I think what you’re saying in different words is that instead of coming to a conclusion and saying it’s half-empty or it’s half-full, is that both sides have valuable ways of perspectives of looking at things, and it’s good to entertain both of them.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. And then we will give you our thoughts on how we feel. So lets-

Steve Lewit: So I have to say whether it’s not-

Gabriel Lewit: You do.

Steve Lewit: I have to? Okay.

Gabriel Lewit: You do. You have to pick a side.

Steve Lewit: Oh, my…

Gabriel Lewit: Can you do that?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I can.

Gabriel Lewit: You sure?

Steve Lewit: I don’t like picking sides, but okay.

Gabriel Lewit: You can’t play politician on this game.

Steve Lewit: Okay.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. How about the first question or item here is the stability of the social security system, given, we are just talking a little bit about that?

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: All right, so the half-full optimistic view, if you will, would be that the social security system is very resilient. It tends to be well-funded, at least historically. There’s some talk out there that it will lose its funding and ability to pay full benefits in about 10 years from now unless something’s done. So the half-full approach would say, the government politicians there, they’re going to get their heads together and they’re going to figure it out.

Steve Lewit: They always have a way of figuring it out.

Gabriel Lewit: Right. They’re going to figure it out.

Steve Lewit: They’re not going to cut my social.

Gabriel Lewit: They’re not going to cut your benefits, and they’re going to find a way to make it all work out.

Steve Lewit: It’s like they have to, 60% of the people in the country, that’s their entire income. So the half-full person is saying they’re going to have to figure this out, they just can’t cut it.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. It would be just chaos if they cut everybody’s benefits that’s receiving it now. And also, generally, politically unsavory.

Steve Lewit: Very unsavory.

Gabriel Lewit: Unsavory to do that.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. So that’s the half-full optimistic view. And I’ll let you, excuse me, talk about the glass half-empty pessimistic view.

Steve Lewit: So I get to be the pessimist.

Gabriel Lewit: On this one. On this one.

Steve Lewit: And you get to be the optimist.

Gabriel Lewit: We’ll switch on the next one.

Steve Lewit: All right, so the pessimist says that they’re not going to figure it out, that the forecasting shortfalls are actually greater than they’re forecasting that because of the increasing number of retirees and the demands on the system that there’s not enough contributions to cover, and they can’t figure that out either. And there’s just too much gridlock politically, and nothing is going to get done.

Gabriel Lewit: And as a result, your benefit might be cut.

Steve Lewit: Might be cut. That’s exactly right.

Gabriel Lewit: Or will be cut. And some of my clients that are very pessimistic say, “Let’s run with half social security estimates.” They do, and they do.

Steve Lewit: Mine are three quarters.

Gabriel Lewit: So that’s the pessimistic viewpoint.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: And so Mr. Lew, the game show goes on. What side do you fall on?

Steve Lewit: Well, I fall on the half-full side.

Gabriel Lewit: Do you?

Steve Lewit: I do.

Gabriel Lewit: You sure?

Steve Lewit: I’m positive.

Gabriel Lewit: Final answer.

Steve Lewit: Final answer. Half-full. Because when push comes to shove, there’s certain things that unless you want to wreck the economy and wreck our nation and certain things you can do and certain things you can’t do. You can’t cut social security. Now for generations-

Gabriel Lewit: Well, one could.

Steve Lewit: You could, but I don’t think they will. And now, for generations coming behind these current generations, they may cut it instead of getting 100%, you might get 70 or 80%. But for people getting social security today, I don’t think anything is going to happen.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. Very, very good. Very good.

Steve Lewit: And you?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. I’m going to echo the same thing. I’m a half-full optimism cup holder here. Right. I think the government, well, let me put an asterisk on that. I think for current retirees, people nearing retirement, I think their benefits are going to stay the same no matter what. I do think they could raise taxes on younger folk. I think they could have increased the amount that they tax your wages to generate more income.

Steve Lewit: Or on wealthier folk.

Gabriel Lewit: They could do means testing on wealthier folk. And those are all negative, if you fall into one of those categories, that might be impacted.

Steve Lewit: It’s negative.

Gabriel Lewit: But those would be designed to help maintain the system and keep it funded so you can continue to get the benefits that you are aiming for.

Steve Lewit: Exactly. Is negative individually, but in terms of the totality of the system, it keeps it working.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, they’re not going to just… let me put it this way, in the sense of, are they going to just take everyone’s benefits and cut them 25% and everyone only gets 75 cents on the dollar? No, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Steve Lewit: So that’s the half-full.

Gabriel Lewit: That’s half-full Gabe.

Steve Lewit: And half-full Steve, which makes a whole of what?

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t know. I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Steve Lewit: We’re a whole of something.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. Okay. How about our next item here? I’ve been watching the… well, I should say I finished it, but I was watching the movie I hadn’t seen in a long time, Slumdog Millionaire. You ever seen it?

Steve Lewit: Never saw it, yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Never?

Steve Lewit: Nope, never saw it.

Gabriel Lewit: What about Producer Katie? No. She’s shaking her head, no. Well, she doesn’t like movies either.

Steve Lewit: Well, educate us.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, Slumdog Millionaire was a great movie you haven’t seen, I think it won awards and stuff, but it’s about this Indian kid that goes on a, you remember the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And he goes, final answer. They ask questions, and he has a guess, and if he guesses, he gets the guess again. And as long as he keeps guessing, he keeps doubling how much he wins, unless you guess wrong. So you get the choice at any time to-

Steve Lewit: Take the double down or-

Gabriel Lewit: Or take the money and run. So it was a great game. I used to watch it all the time.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I did too.

Gabriel Lewit: You did?

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, so you know about the game. Just not-

Steve Lewit: I know about the game but not the movie.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay, got you, got you. Yeah, so that’s why I said final answer. It was [inaudible 00:12:45].

Steve Lewit: Stuck in my head when you were watching.

Gabriel Lewit: I see. Final answer.

Steve Lewit: Final Answer. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay, so next topic here on our game show for today.

Steve Lewit: Our half-full, half-empty game show.

Gabriel Lewit: This is an exciting one.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: What about the affordability of healthcare down the road? 10, 15, 20 years? What would you say about that? If you were going to be glass half-full or glass half-empty, you get to pick the which one?

Steve Lewit: I’m going to be half-full guy.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay, there you go.

Steve Lewit: So this is tough, though, because half-full says that technological advances, robotic advances are going to reduce healthcare costs. So that is definitely a positive way to look at it. The other is when you implement preventive medicine, that’s another way of offsetting healthcare costs, and the increase in competition between healthcare carriers and drug companies will also reduce costs. So the half-full person is saying there’s going to be a lot of efficiencies in the future cost savings that will help people.

Gabriel Lewit: Do you believe that?

Steve Lewit: Well, I’m waiting to hear your side of the story.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. Before we choose our final answers.

Steve Lewit: Before I choose, yes, I will not choose.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. So half-empty here, I’ll play the half-empty role. Healthcare is astronomically expensive. It historically rises at two times at least the rate of general inflation, the cost for healthcare-related services. As you age, you just need more and more healthcare needs for most people. Even with all the advances that we have as people live longer, new things pop up that could not pop up if you happen to pass away early. That all require more care, and the more technologically advanced things get, the more expensive they get. Right? Someone’s got to pay for all that technology development, like the fancy MRIs. You still pay thousands of dollars for those, when you get those plus copays and stuff, reduce it. But everything just costs more and more and more as it gets more and more complex.

Steve Lewit: Okay, so final answer, Gabriel, half-full or half-empty?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, generally, I’m a half-full guy, but I think on this topic, I think people out there should prepare to save more and spend more on future healthcare costs, especially if they’re what I call more, what’s the word? Not like required procedures, but optional ones.

Steve Lewit: What’s the word there?

Gabriel Lewit: Elective. Like elective procedures.

Steve Lewit: Elective procedures. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So you’re going to have Medicare. Right? Medicare will probably continue to cover most of your costs and your supplements, even if those costs get more and more expensive. But I think if you want to go, let’s say some fancy new anti-aging thing comes out.

Steve Lewit: Which they do.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes.

Steve Lewit: They do every day now.

Gabriel Lewit: And you want to use that, it’s probably not going to be required for your healthcare regimen. So that’s probably going to get very, very expensive. And let’s face it, who’s not going to want to use some cool anti-aging drug when they figure it out?

Steve Lewit: Or technologies at home that you need for your health?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, so I’m a little half-empty on it. I think people got to plan to save more and prepare to spend more.

Steve Lewit: Wait a minute, you can’t be a little half-empty. You’re either half empty or you’re half-full.

Gabriel Lewit: I can be-

Steve Lewit: No, no, no, no.

Gabriel Lewit: I can be quarter empty.

Steve Lewit: That is not an option in this game. Final decision. Half-empty.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. Half-empty.

Steve Lewit: All right, he’s half-empty.

Gabriel Lewit: You’re forcing me into it. What about you?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, so I am half-empty too. And for different reasons, though, I do not trust that the cost savings will get passed on to the consumer. I think the drug companies are greedy. I think the hospitals are greedy, and I don’t see that happening. So all these savings, doctors are getting paid less, and reimbursements make their lives more difficult. So I don’t know where all of these savings are going, but I don’t see them coming to us.

Gabriel Lewit: And an additional possible counterpoint to it coming down pricing-wise is, and I was reading a book actually, it was written by a doctor. He was talking about how complex the medical field has gotten and how many years of school do doctors have to go through, and how much they have to learn. As this body of knowledge gets deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper, you have to know more and more and more and more. And who’s going to want to go through all that unless they make a boatload of money?

Steve Lewit: I was talking to one of my clients who was a surgeon, and he said to me, I would not have my kids go into this field today because my reimbursements are so small from under the system. They’ve gotten so small that to pay for all that education, you wouldn’t be able to do it.

Gabriel Lewit: Well. So that’s what I’m saying. I think eventually if doctors start becoming in short demand or short supply, the only way they’re going to entice people to do that is to pay them more. Which is going to increase costs.

Steve Lewit: Which increase costs. Exactly. So we are aligned on social security, and we are aligned on healthcare.

Gabriel Lewit: Look at that.

Steve Lewit: Whoa. Wow. Wow.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. How about you lead us into the next one? I know it’s your favorite thing to talk about, and I already know how you’re going to be glass half-empty on it.

Steve Lewit: All right. I’ll let you, so my favorite thing to talk about is not my favorite. I don’t know. It’s not my favorite thing.

Gabriel Lewit: Your favorite soapbox to stand on.

Steve Lewit: My favorite soapbox is, “Will taxes go up in the future?” So this says, is it half-half?

Gabriel Lewit: How about just the next decade? How about just the next decade?

Steve Lewit: Let’s say over the next 10 years. Well, we know they’re going up in 2026.

Gabriel Lewit: We do.

Steve Lewit: So the half-full says that there’s going to be reform in the future that helps retirees with taxes. And there is some talk about that in Congress that the growth in the economy will be so good in the future that we won’t need an increase in taxes because the growth in the economy itself will pay for more things, and that there are initiatives in place to simplify tax codes or simplify the entire a single tax system.

Gabriel Lewit: I’m not buying into what-

Steve Lewit: A flat tax system.

Gabriel Lewit: I’m not buying into what you’re… you don’t sound too. I know where you stand on this.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. I know where I stand.

Gabriel Lewit: That’s why you’re not convincing me.

Steve Lewit: I’m not convincing me.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Well, let me give you the half-empty look here.

Steve Lewit: You’ve given my side.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, this is what you would normally say. Well, we have vast amounts of national debts. Those debts are increasing. Rates are already planned to go back up.

Steve Lewit: Yup.

Gabriel Lewit: There is lots of pressure to fund social programs. We have potentially multiple world wars on the horizon with Russia, China, who the heck knows that everybody’s realizing we’re not well funded for if they were to actually occur based on how much munitions are being spent in Ukraine? It’s not the time to cut back on defense. In other words, you’ve got just everywhere you look, you got to spend and how do you spend. A lot of social programs. A lot of-

Steve Lewit: The government spends more by either going further into debt or raising taxes, or both. And that’s why interest rates are up, and that’s why inflation is up and that’s why we may have a recession. We don’t know. But yeah, so I am definitely-

Gabriel Lewit: Final answer for you.

Steve Lewit: … unequivocally.

Gabriel Lewit: You guess. Half-full?

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I’m a half-empty man on taxes. This is something…

Gabriel Lewit: Well, you and I had an agreement on that, and that’s why tax planning, I mean, people, there’s only sometimes, depending on your situation, only so many things you can do. But whatever those things you can do, whether it’s choosing the right contribution type, pre-tax or Roth or doing Roth conversions, even if those are your only two strategies, or maybe you can put money in an HSA or an FSA if that’s all you’ve got available, let’s still maximize those.

Steve Lewit: Do it. Do it. It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially in your pocket.

Gabriel Lewit: At least tens of thousands.

Steve Lewit: Or your kids.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. So that’s where you and I stand on that.

Steve Lewit: We’re three for three.

Gabriel Lewit: We are three for three.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. Amazing.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, it’s like we brainstormed this together before the show.

Steve Lewit: You would think you were my son, cut from the same limb.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. How about long-term care in the future? And let me just give a little background on this. So long-term care insurance, for example, is designed to pay for long-term care expenses, which are expenses that people need when they can’t fully take care of themselves autonomously. So what are called activities of daily living? If you can’t perform two out of six, typically bathing, eating, we can go on to what the lists are. But the question is, what’s the outlook on long-term care for baby boomers and people that are going to be retiring in the near future? Is it half-full? Is it half-empty?

Steve Lewit: So why don’t you do half full?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, I can be positive.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, be positive.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, there are lots of different ways now to take care of yourself. You don’t have to go into a nursing home.

Steve Lewit: Can stay home. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: There’s more options for staying at home. There’s also, again, you kind of link to the health insurance or healthcare one we talked about. More technologies coming out to help one stay autonomous for longer, maybe potentially requiring less long-term care needs or coverage. And most importantly, there are better solutions for ensuring and funding your long-term care needs when they do arise. That makes it less of an issue, perhaps, than it used to be in the past. That would be my glass-half-full outlook for you.

Steve Lewit: And that really put me to sleep. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it put me to sleep in the sense that it put me to sleep. It didn’t get me excited. Let me reframe that. I think I offended you, and I apologize.

Gabriel Lewit: You certainly did, sir.

Steve Lewit: I’m so sorry. You did not put me to sleep. You just dulled my brain into something that I don’t think ever is going to happen. I think that-

Gabriel Lewit: Keep digging the hole, man.

Steve Lewit: I keep digging it because I think long-term class costs are going to go up. I think the facilities need a lot of help, and they can’t get help inside or outside. I don’t think there’s a huge shortage of healthcare professionals. Try to get somebody to help you at home. It’s very, very expensive, and the quality of a lot of the help at home is not very good. Even quality of nursing care in the hospitals has gone down. And I think, as a society, we don’t like to talk about this long-term care. So people are not prepared for it. They always push it to the last thing.

Gabriel Lewit: They do. Yeah.

Steve Lewit: And then they say, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” But then there’s no bridge. So I think this healthcare system in the US has a tremendous amount of problems, and I don’t see any-

Gabriel Lewit: So final answer for you.

Steve Lewit: I’m out to depress everybody about healthcare.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, this might be our first one where we disagree. It’s not that I disagree on all your points, but I just mean on the answer. I guess I’m more glass-half-full on this one than you are. I think if people out there recognize these risks, which are real, the ones you’ve mentioned, they have lots of options available to them. They just have to pull the trigger on the insurance options that are available. So to get the best care, you’re going to need to spend more. And if that happens, you’re going to want to have the insurance available to help you cover. And I think there’s lots of choices today that people have. They chose to roll the dice.

Steve Lewit: So, what you’re saying, Gabriel, let’s be clear about what Gabriel is saying.

Gabriel Lewit: Were you giving me a thumbs down to Producer Katie?

Steve Lewit: I did give you a thumbs down. Let’s be clear on what you’re saying.

Gabriel Lewit: Folks, you couldn’t see that. He thumbs down my answer.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I did. What you’re saying is that we have this lousy system that’s very expensive, and you can fix it yourself by spending more money on insurance.

Gabriel Lewit: I didn’t say I can fix it. I think they can protect themselves from the lousy system.

Steve Lewit: That’s not a glass half-full. That’s such an empty glass.

Gabriel Lewit: It’s a full outlook.

Steve Lewit: Oh, my gosh. Folks, thumbs up or thumbs down on Gabriel’s half-full.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. We couldn’t agree on everyone, right?

Steve Lewit: No. Well, we could but-

Gabriel Lewit: That wouldn’t have been fun.

Steve Lewit: But we’re not going to.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. All right, let’s let Mr. Steve take us down to our last topic for our game show today.

Steve Lewit: All right, so the next topic for the game show today, folks, is the next five or 10 years in the stock market. Glass half-full or glass half-empty.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, you got to pick yours, man. You’ve got to pick the one you’re going to say, at least.

Steve Lewit: Well, I’m going to speak about half-full. I’m going to take that route. Not that I’m saying that’s true. Historical records show growth of the stock market over 10-year periods of time. Usually, positive is up. We have a lot of technological advantage. That’s like artificial intelligence, which has resuscitated the whole tech industry. Global connectivity means that we share more responsibility and more potential growth because of the international community. So the half-full person would say, “I think 10 years from now, yeah, the market will be up.”

Gabriel Lewit: You’re not selling me, man. I’m going to give you a thumbs down right here on your…

Steve Lewit: You just want to give me a thumbs down.

Gabriel Lewit: Of course, I do. I got to make it up to you here. Well, the half-empty outlook would be, my goodness, we’re in another 2000, 2013, flat 13-year period, or last decade. We’re never going to, the recession’s going to come, the market’s going to tank. The soft landing the Fed’s trying to aim for is never going to happen. It’ll take forever to get back to break even another world war. There’s so many reasons you could be pessimistic on the stock market. I don’t think I need to even say more than those.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So where do you fall, Mr. Lew?

Steve Lewit: Wow, this is a tough one.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, you got to pick.

Steve Lewit: Well, I-

Gabriel Lewit: No half-quarter empties or a quarter of three quarters full.

Steve Lewit: So if we’re going out 10 years, I’m on the half-full side. In 10 years, I think the market will go, has a very high probability.

Gabriel Lewit: We’ll five to 10. We’re in the five to 10.

Steve Lewit: Five, I’m not sure about.

Gabriel Lewit: 10, full or empty?

Steve Lewit: On five.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: I would go with, well, we don’t guess the market because they’re always in it long-term. But I would say, the market short-term, five years, I lean to empty.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, I lead the full on that one.

Steve Lewit: You do?

Gabriel Lewit: I do.

Steve Lewit: I could do that too. I’m undecided.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. Well, you can’t be. Must pick.

Steve Lewit: I must. Give me the ultimatum.

Gabriel Lewit: Half-full, half-empty.

Steve Lewit: No, you didn’t give me the ultimatum.

Gabriel Lewit: Final answer.

Steve Lewit: Half-full.

Gabriel Lewit: There you go. I like it.

Steve Lewit: Me too.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. I think, look, it’s been almost two years. We’re still at, gosh, 4,350 or something. The S&P’s at today, I think.

Steve Lewit: We haven’t made up the previous-

Gabriel Lewit: Gosh. I mean, at some point, it’s going to get back there. That’s my outlook. I mean, it’d be historically unusual if we go on three, four years before it gets back to break even. At least in the interim. I mean, it could go back down again after that. But as far as the recovery from the first drop, I think we’ve got to see that in the three to five-year mark. And then I just feel optimistic that hopefully there’s not some big bubble. Maybe I’m just eternally optimistic on that. But I look at Vanguard Research and Reports. They have some good track records. They think based on valuations, everything else, the market has a good potential of going up five, 6% over the next 10 years average compounded returns.

Steve Lewit: Lower than it’s been historical.

Gabriel Lewit: It’s been historical.

Steve Lewit: But still upper. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. And inflation coming down. So that’s kind of the fence in the camp that I’m in. But also, there are ways to take advantage of the choppier markets if you are worried that they’re choppier with a buffer strategy. Some of the things we’re talking about lately that can really help you in that kind of market condition if you’re feeling glass half-emptyish.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. So I’m kind of straddling the fence with you, although that is not a very comfortable position to be in.

Gabriel Lewit: You already said half-full, you can’t change.

Steve Lewit: Well, you said you were half-full, but straddling some position, half-full.

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t think I said that.

Steve Lewit: We’re going to go back. I’m going to throw down the red flag. And can we do instant replay, Katie?

Gabriel Lewit: We cannot. We cannot.

Steve Lewit: Okay, I’ll check on that. All right.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, that is our game show, folks, for you today. Maybe we’ll come back to this again in the future with other topics if we can remember that we did it.

Steve Lewit: That we did it right.

Gabriel Lewit: We had another game show once, too. I forget what it was, but we were quizzing each other or something like that. But we should think of more. These are fun. Well, we hope you enjoyed our show here for you today. If you’ve got questions on any of these or you want to chime in and share how you feel, you can send us an email at or go to our website,, and click Contact Us. If you want to call us, you need an appointment to schedule a time to talk about your finances or ideas or questions that you’ve got. Call us (847) 499-3331 anytime. We are always, of course, here for you.

Steve Lewit: We are. No, I was just about to-

Gabriel Lewit: Delayed reaction, Steve.

Steve Lewit: No, I thought you were going to go. You normally go into “Well, folks, be well,” and I was already to say that. I usually say see you. Be well, everybody. And then, I was going to say happy holiday if you’re celebrating a holiday.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, have a wonderful day to you, our valued listeners, and we can’t wait to see you and talk to you on the next, well, we don’t see you, but talk to you on the next show.

Steve Lewit: Be well, everybody.

Gabriel Lewit: There you go.

Steve Lewit: This is the end.

Gabriel Lewit: Bye-bye.

Steve Lewit: Bye.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to Our 2 Cents with Steve and Gabriel Lewit. For any questions about your finances, give SGL a call at (847) 499-3330 or visit us on the web at And be sure to subscribe to join us on next week’s episode.

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