Debbie has nearly 20 years of investigative experience and journalism on topics of insurance, mortgage, and financial advice.

[email protected]

Money Strategies with Debbie

TDD 106 | Retirement Plans

Automate Your Money, And 5 Things Top Performers Do with Al Caicedo

TDD 106 | Retirement Plans


With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting us hard, there is a lot of apprehension about what might be next for the economy. In these uncertain times, it pays a lot to protect our assets, especially for people who are on their way to retirement. Joining Debbie Bloyd in this episode is Al Caicedo, the President of CKS Summit Group. Al and Debbie talk about the current market situation, setting up retirement and contingency plans, annuities, compound interests, and more. Also in this episode, Debbie talks about Dr. Michael Jarvis’ five things top performers do and gives useful tips about raising credit scores through automation direct deposit.

Listen to the podcast here:

Automate Your Money, And 5 Things Top Performers Do with Al Caicedo

You want to be successful, right? You want to be a top performer. There’s a Success Magazine. It’s a great website that I go to, You will find articles and motivational videos. I like to stay motivated. I need to stay motivated. I’ve got to stay up to do all that I do for my kids and for my business. I cannot be a low performer. That’s not what you want in someone that handles your money, whether it’s mortgages or investments. You’ve got to pick a top performer. It’s easy to look at football. It’s also a football talk. It’s easy to assume it’s almost entirely physical, but the emotional and mental aspects of the game are overwhelming. It’s as important and as impactful.

5 Things Top Performers Do

There’s a gentleman. He’s a performance coach by the name of Dr. Michael Gervais. He knows the mindset of a champion. He has worked and taught winning mindset practices to some of the world’s top performers, including NFL teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, Olympic champions and Red Bull athletes. He sat down with the Science of Success. It’s a secret psychology of extreme athletes in the NFL teams and the world’s top performers. He shared some of these impactful skills that he teaches his clients, helping them to become the Super Bowl champions and the record holders achieving success in every aspect of their life. That’s a tall order. This man has to know something.

How can we bring this home to our business and our families? Number one, create a personal philosophy. If there’s not a clear outline of what we want to achieve and more importantly, who we must become to accomplish that goal, we’re wasting our time. Who do you want to be? We talk about it when we are training the mind. It becomes almost fruitless to have mental skills if there’s nothing to calibrate who you are or who you’re becoming, which is where your personal philosophy fits in. The idea is to physically write down your personal guiding philosophy, which you will then use to line up your thoughts, your words and your actions in any environment.

This is great for families. What does your family stand for? Where do you want to go as a family? What are you supposed to do as a family? What are you supposed to do as a team at work? What are you supposed to do as a small business? Once you write down how you’re going to operate, it’s like a set of rules. Everybody knows. We can’t operate that way if we don’t know what the rules are. He said that the clients agree that there is a sense of power that comes from a personal philosophy. As many legendary icons began to reverse engineer their own path to success, we must also start at the end in mind to become who we wish to be. Take some time to put pen to paper and begin to define your own personal philosophy. What do you stand for? Where are your lines? What are your goals? This will help someone help you get there.

Most business coaches, that’s the first thing they ask. I’ve been working with a lot of them lately, interviewing them for the shows and working on my business as well. They say, “Debbie, where do you want to go?” I don’t know. I’ve got to figure that out. They can’t help me get somewhere that I don’t know where I’m going. I’ve got some pretty lofty goals. I then tell them the goals, “This is where I want to be.” They’re like, “Now we know where we can help you. Now we know the steps to take.” If you give yourself something nebulous, you can’t get there. I used to say in my personal life that I just wanted to be happy, but that’s so vague. Now, I have very concrete things that make me happy so that I know when I reach them. I know where I’m going. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t make me happy so you don’t waste your time on those things.

Number two, find a rugged and hostile environment. In order to become your best at anything, you have to train yourself to perform in rugged and hostile environments called the business world every single day, called the world with our family. It’s a hostile environment out there. It’s tough. There’s a bunch of bad stuff going on out there. There’s a bunch of bad people out there. The rugged and hostile environment is relative. It does not have to be physically dangerous to be rugged. What this means is any environment where your heart starts to thump because you know that something is or will be on the line.

The key here is to step out of your comfort zone, even when practicing. For athletes, this may be practicing against a rival teammate in a stadium they know will soon be packed. It can even be something as small as striking up a conversation with a stranger at a party. I have never met a stranger. I can find common ground with almost anyone pretty quickly, but that was developed over the years. That just didn’t start out that way. Knowing how to connect with people and knowing how to be open, that takes a lot of rejection along the way. You have to hone your skills. It’s not going to be easy and you’re not going to be successful every single time, but that’s why you keep practicing.

Number three, you need to train your brain for optimism. In sports, business and life, it’s important to focus on the positive in every single experience. Dr. Gervais points out the three steps he teaches his Super Bowl winning clients. Number one, you have to acknowledge that change is possible. Both optimism and pessimism are learned behaviors. How many of you have had an empty glass for the last twenty years? Nothing is ever going to work. It can’t go right. You’re going to lose money. Everything is negative. You’re like Eeyore. It’s crazy. That was a learned behavior. Something got you to that place and you’re going to have to get yourself out of it, but you can learn to do that.

TDD 106 | Retirement Plans

The next is to become aware of your inner dialogue. What do you tell your thoughts? “Debbie, what are you saying to yourself?” It’s important to focus on every positive thing that goes on in your life and not beat yourself up for the negative thoughts. Don’t let the negative thoughts in. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. Instead, acknowledge them, examine the causes behind them, learn from them and move on. How many people don’t want to go out on a date because they got divorced twenty years ago and they’re still mad? They have lost twenty years that they could have been happy and how many years after that. You cut your losses, you learn from them and you move on. You do that.

I lost a business once. How am I ever going to get over that? I don’t know. You figure out the lesson you learned from it. You surround yourself with smarter people this time and you try it again. If that’s what you want to do, you try it again. You don’t stop. I heard this at a seminar once and it made me laugh. How many times does it take to get your toddler up to take a few steps to walk? How many times are you going to let him or her fall down and get back up to walk? Do you know any adults that don’t walk? Toddlers eventually learn. They do it over and over until they finally get it. That’s what we have to do too. Go over and over until you get it and acknowledge that you can do that.

The last key to train your brain for optimism is to simply focus on the good things in life. It’s not enough to try and see the good things, you have to do it. Write down at least three good times and good things at the end of each day. It does not only causes you and your subconscious to focus on the good, but it also sends you to bed in a better headspace. I have a little book by my bed and I write down everything I’m thankful for every single night. Some nights, I’m so exhausted. I don’t write in the book, but if I’m awake enough when I get to bed, I would take out the book. Sometimes it’s scribble. It’s not so pretty at that hour of the night, but I write down what I’m thankful for.

It’s as easy as my children, my children’s health, my health, the work that I got that day, the new clients, the loans that I closed, the stock market having a good day, my dogs being there and being happy and whatever you’re thankful for. Thankful for friends that make your day fun. Thankful for those people that don’t have time to talk to you in your life sends you a little happy face. That means everything. You’re like, “They thought of me. We don’t have time for a twenty-minute conversation, but they thought of me. Isn’t that nice?” Train your brain for optimism.

Number four, pay attention to recovery. It’s impossible to grow physically or mentally if you’re constantly exhausted. In order to perform at your highest possible levels, you have to pay attention to recover each and every day. Dr. Gervais recommends focusing on the four pillars of recovery: sleep, diet, hydration, movement and exercise and practical mental practices. That can be meditation after a long day. That really helps. If you’re going to be a top performer in your field, whether it’s in sports or in life, you have to make time for focus and recovery.

The last thing, number five, be driven but avoid attachment. If you’re going to be a champion, you have to be driven. You have to want to succeed badly. You may have to push yourself like you’ve never pushed yourself before. Despite all your best efforts, there will be times that no matter what you do, you’ll fail. It’s important to strike the proper balance between being driven to succeed and the outcome. It’s alright to be upset by failure, especially at the moment, but it’s what you do after that failure that defines you. Every failure is a learning experience. It can push us forward in ways nothing else can. Keep growth mindset not only allows you to learn from your mistakes, but it also ensures you never repeat them again. It’s making you much more experienced and aware in the process. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to make mistakes. Hopefully, you just won’t make the same ones.

Let’s talk about how all this relates to your finances. When it comes to your finances, you’ve got to try again. Too many people stop because someone lost money in the stock market. Somebody didn’t have a good 401(k) plan. Somebody somewhere, something bad happened about their money. Somebody bought an annuity that was wrong. Not everything is perfect. Somebody bought the wrong life insurance. Those somebody made mistakes. Learn from them and don’t make the same ones, but don’t write-off the products or the process altogether. If you’re not investing in your future, then what future are you going to have?

You cannot keep all your money and not making anything in the bank because it doesn’t even keep up with the cost of inflation. You have to have it invested somewhere. There are safe havens. There is slow growth. There are bonds. There are hypergrowth funds. Whatever your paucity is great but don’t give up. You’ve got to keep going. Do you have questions that I can answer for you? Please email me anytime at [email protected] or go to my website Money Strategies With Debbie. Hit the contact button and you’ll get an email. Write to me immediately. Thanks so much.

If you do not have a clear outline of what you want to achieve and, more importantly, how to achieve it, you are wasting your time. Click To Tweet

Interview With Al Caicedo

I’m speaking with Al Caicedo. Al, tell me who you work with again.

CKS Summit Group.

You’re the president and the owner. We have talked before and done interviews on the radio. What’s going on in the stock market. That’s what we want to talk about. I know a lot of fear is always at play in the stock market. It’s been going up for so long. People forgot that anything could affect it. What’s happening?

The fed came out and did an emergency rate cut of 50 basis points because of the Coronavirus concerns. The markets reacted to that. They said that they didn’t know how long this was going to last. The market is down to almost a point of 243 points down.

That’s a lot. That’s freaking people out when they look at their statements. We all knew something would happen to make the market move. I don’t think any of us anticipated this.

That’s the scary part about this. We’re in a fragile situation. We’re one tweet away. We’re one virus away, somewhere around the world from these markets going into some correction. That’s why it’s so important as you’re getting closer to that retirement phase in your life or if you’re in retirement that you have set up a concrete plan as to how you’re going to survive this. We don’t want any repeat of 2008. What would be different to make sure that doesn’t repeat for yourself?

The reason is in 2008, a lot of people bailed right at the worst time. It’s like Macy’s is having a sale. It’s 50% off. Everybody runs to the store to buy things. There’s a lot of money sitting on the sidelines that is going to get back into the market when the market drops, don’t you think, for people that are waiting?

Those that have discipline are waiting. The mentality is a lot of buy and hold out there and people feel that they need to be on the roller coaster consistently. Some people fail to understand that it’s okay to take your winnings off the table and live to play another game.

They want to know when to get in. I said, “Time-in the market.” What do you think about that? That’s a tough thing to do.

You have to have a set plan for your retirement assets that are going to produce income and then a set plan for the retirement assets that you just want for pure growth. Those are two completely different strategies to look at. The money that is going to be flowing out of your portfolio, the one that you’re going to be living on. That’s the money that needs to be well taken care of. Make sure that there are lifeboats around it that if anything happens, we stay afloat and we don’t take a hit to our income. One of the things you want to do is you want to be in the driver’s seat when you’re in retirement. You don’t want the portfolio to be the driver and then you’d be the passenger. Anytime the portfolio is driving your lifestyle when you’re in retirement, that could be a bumpy road. You want to be in control. For those assets that are producing income and everything else like that, it should be lowered. The outflow of assets needs to be known and with a lot of caution as you go into your retirement years.

How do you feel about annuities?

I feel that there’s no good or bad product. I feel that every product has its place, time and purpose. Annuities can be a wonderful thing and annuities can be a terrible thing depending on the individual, depending on their liquidity, the use for the money, the need for income, all that kind of stuff. Their tastes for risk, all that flows in. I feel it’s great when it’s in the right position and I feel it’s terrible when it’s been misused and put in a portfolio that it shouldn’t be.

What I see in clients is that they don’t think of the worst-case scenarios. They don’t even want to think about that at all. They think everything is going to be a smooth ride. You and I both know from all of our clients that life isn’t a smooth ride. There’s going to be a heart attack or a stroke. There’s going to be a problem that they don’t anticipate. I don’t think people are ready for that, do you?

No, we’re not. We typically fail to put in good contingency plans for that because we live in an optimistic world. Sometimes we fail to see realism and things do happen. Hopefully, you have a good group of advisors around you that are seeing those things that you’re not and helping you face those things that you haven’t seen yet.

Do you and your staff talk about long-term care?

Retirement Plans: Despite all your best efforts, there will always be times when you will fail. It’s important to strike a proper balance between being driven to succeed and the outcome.


Absolutely. It’s a part of every conversation we have with any client. We understand that over 67% of the people over age 55 are going to experience some long-term care. How it’s funded, that’s a whole different question. Whether you’re going to self-fund, whether you’re going to use traditional, whether you’re going to use alternatives, all that kind of issue. Those are the things that are explored. The bottom line is knowing that there has to be a plan up there somewhere that can address some of those issues.

When we talk about self-funding, people don’t understand that once that money is spent and taken out of a portfolio as a withdrawal or a yearly or monthly salary, you don’t get that back. You would have to have, I would think to be on the safe side, a couple of million dollars to self-fund because you could need long-term care for a long time.

If you’re going to self-fund, you should be at $1.5 million or more. We’ve got to understand that several years ago, somebody’s life expectancy would be maybe 45 years. That’s almost doubling now. That’s because of all the scientists keeping people alive and everything else like that, and not to mention the fact that costs are going through the roof. Here in the State of Michigan, we’re averaging somewhere in the neighborhood between $75,000 to $85,000 a year average in long-term care. Home healthcare is getting expensive. Those are absolute issues that need to be looked at.

I’ve been talking to a lot of Millennial types, people in their early 30s, late 20s. They are super conservative with their money in what I’ve seen. It’s going to be to their advantage if it stays that way because time will be on their side. I don’t think people understand the value of compound interest over time.

I always say time is a double-edged sword. In your younger years, it’s your ally. In retirement, it becomes your enemy. In the younger age, if you’re prudent and you understand the concept of compound interest and the discipline of consistency and savings, over time, you should be able to achieve the things that you want to. In retirement, it gets a little bit different. Time becomes our enemy. The time to recoup from losses is something that works hard against people.

What is one of the things that we need to think about when we think about the volatility of the market? What should people be doing? Give me some parting words of wisdom.

Start educating yourself. Start listening and understanding what’s going on. You have to ask yourself how real is it what’s going on right now. The main thing with me is that this economy is doing so well. Why are we playing the same cards that we were playing back in 2008 to stay the economy from going under? The fed is feeding this market. We just had a half-point drop. We have all types of issues happening with the fact that we’re still providing liquidity to banks. There are a lot of things going on that happened prior to the 2008 hit. We’ve got to ask ourselves how real is this and make decisions based on that. We can’t get caught up in the hoopla of what’s happening in this market because so much of it is just being that there’s a reason why these interest rates are being manipulated. There’s a reason why we’re funding the banks. There’s a reason why the banks went dry. There are reasons. The thing is that you have to ask the hard questions from your advisor. Have them give you true answers so that you can make educated decisions.

We need to be more realistic about our lifespan and what could happen to us. I think both sides are pretty unrealistic right now. I’m worried.

It is important to focus on the positive in every experience. Click To Tweet

I am too. We have to set more realistic expectations. We need to do that to put a real plan. That’s one of the things that I challenge a lot of my clients. How realistic is it what we want to accomplish and do we have the assets to accomplish it?

Al, I want to thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Tell us how we can get ahold of you if we want more information.

You can always find us on the web at or you can like us on Facebook, CKS Summit Group.

Thanks, Al Caicedo, for being with me.

Thank you for having me.

The idea that things are not always what they appear. We need to analyze. I don’t think our economy is doing as well as we think it is. The feds are cutting rates. That’s great if you’re in the home-buying business. This is the season. Rates are going to go lower. This is a great time to take that money out, buy an investment property, buy your first primary, but remember, things aren’t always as they appear. Have a back-up plan. If you have questions, please give me a call at (979) 220-3018. Find Al online or on Facebook and me on Facebook. We’re here to help.

Automate Your Money

Thanks so much for emailing me. I get questions every week at [email protected] or the email for my mortgage company, [email protected]. You can email me questions anytime. One of the questions was, “Debbie, how do I raise my credit score? What are some of the simple things that I can do?” I know bills are accumulating you, but you’re never going to be late on things again, but things happen. When late fees start adding up, one of the things is not only the money but the dings to your credit. There’s a way to beat that and that’s called automation. Start by signing up for direct deposit at work so your paycheck is laying in your bank account automatically. I don’t think anybody has checks anymore. Everything is automatically deposited. Make sure that’s done.

The second is bill payments. That’s the next logical step. Set up the electronic bill pay via your bank’s website. Make sure that you put all your bills in there so they automatically go out like your mortgage, your car payments, your credit card bills. You don’t want any of those things to be late. That’s going to ding your credit. The next step we need to do to automate your life is budget. Use budget software, maybe like Quicken or a website like Mint. Link it to your checking account and your credit card accounts so that you see all your bills and expenses in one place. You don’t even know how much you’re spending unless you use cash.

TDD 106 | Retirement Plans

Retirement Plans: Don’t pass up time to put money into your savings account. Automatically pay yourself first.


Dave Ramsey, and I’m not a huge fan except for the snowball that he helps you do and the way he makes you think about money. If you take out cash and you have to spend cash every time instead of a debit card swiping it, you’re going to be pained to give out those dollars every time. It’s easy to swipe the card at fast food places and gas stations, but when you’re shelling out cash, you think differently about it. Don’t pass up a time to put money into your savings account automatically. Pay yourself first. You tie them and then you pay yourself first. “Debbie, I don’t have enough money to save. I’m spending it all on bills,” then you can’t afford not to save. Auto escalate your savings. A lot of 401(k) plans say you can do 1% to 4%. A lot of 401(k) plans allow you to put up to 6% even though the company is only going to match up to 3% to 4%. That’s okay.

Put in the max that you can in everything, and then you’re going to want to talk to someone like me about making an IRA or a Roth IRA doing something extra. What I see when people get ready to retire is that they have counted on Social Security. They’ve got some money in their 401(k)s and IRAs, but when we start looking at how that IRA and 401(k) money is going to come out, there are taxes on it. The easiest way to explain it is there’s a cost to taking it out. There’s an inflation cost so you don’t have as much as you think you’re going to have and then you’ve got to pay tax on it. A lot of people are off for annuities and we can talk about those on the show that we have before. That annuities make that money stretch out to where you have consistent money throughout your lifetime. Let’s talk about automating and let’s talk about maxing out your savings and then we talk about investing.

If you have more questions or you want to do this on a private appointment, please call me. I am here local. I’ll be happy to sit down with you at the office and talk to you about some different strategies and to look at what you’re doing with your money long before you retire. The time to come in is not after you retired, but before you retire so we can plot and plan. My phone number is (979) 220-3018. Let’s talk about your retirement before you get there. Automate those savings. Don’t wait until the end of the year. Do it now.

Important Links:

About Al Caicedo

TDD 106 | Retirement PlansAl Caicedo is President and Owner of CKS Summit Group, founded in 1996. Al’s focus and objective is to help ensure his clients are able to enjoy their lifestyle beyond the workplace and into their retirement years. He educates and enables them to come to understand, for themselves, the financial path they should follow. He has spent twenty years helping clients protect and preserve their assets. His safe money strategies helped clients save millions of dollars during the latest market collapse.

Al is an asset preservation consultant and transitional planning specialist. The goals and objectives of a transitional client are more geared toward safety and risk elimination, peace of mind, developing income options and tax savings strategies, avoiding probate, and reducing or eliminating the potential for loss to a nursing home.

CKS Summit Group is committed to act in the best personal and financial interest of our clients.An aging America, combined with the precarious state of Medicare and Social Security, have created a need for comprehensive retirement management that goes beyond the ability of general financial counselors.

His practice focuses on addressing the distinctive financial needs of those nearing retirement and those who are already retired.Al is a member of the Presidential Who’s Who and the Million Dollar Round Table.