Planning Retirement - SafeMoney.com

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retirees market downturns

If you are a retiree in your 70s or older, you may feel well positioned to weather potential financial shocks. But if you have yet to enter your golden years, you may face more difficulty maintaining your future retirement standard of living in the aftermath of financial shocks.

That is the consensus of a 2018 report from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. Unveiled back in February of 2018, the report is entitled "Will the Financial Fragility of Retirees Increase?"

Its conclusion? Future retirees may not be able to rebound from financial jolts, such as those from unexpected medical expenses or the death of a spouse.

That brings up an important question. Why would tomorrow’s retirees be at a greater disadvantage than those who have already retired?

Current retirees may be benefitting from company-sponsored retirement plans in addition to their own retirement assets.  Not so for future retirees who face "inadequate savings and the limited income that safe withdrawal rates provide, reducing the cushion between their incomes and fixed expenses," according to the report.

Another alarm sounded in the report: "If households choose to hold a significant portion of their savings in equities to increase the income their savings provide, they will be more exposed to sharp market downturns that arrive early in retirement."

sequence of returns risk

Most people would be thrilled at the prospect of 10% average annual returns or higher in retirement. But now that folks are living longer, they face more challenges than just adequate returns. With decades of retired living on the horizon, people must ensure their portfolios last as long as they might need them.

Sequence of returns risk can affect your long-term income the most in your early-retirement years. That is the timespan just before and right after you retire. You may have heard of that period called the “retirement red zone,” or generally the 10-year spread prior to and after retirement.

It's true that average returns for the S&P 500 from 1928 to 2017 have exceeded 10%. But averages can be deceiving for long-term income planning. What matters just as much is the order of returns, or the actual timing of when a portfolio grows or loses value. As we will see, losses in those early years could make or break your income goals, setting up the risk of running out of retirement money.

This potential hazard is called sequence of returns risk, or just sequence risk. To illustrate it, we will talk about it in two formats: by analogy and then through two hypothetical portfolio scenarios.

retirement risks compounded by divorce

According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples get divorced. While it’s no secret that divorce disrupts lives, it can also threaten a divorcing couple’s financial future, according to new research.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR), with the support of Prudential Financial, just released a study. Their findings? Divorced Americans are at greater risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. 

The study compared the risk divorced households face using the center’s National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI). It revealed divorced households have a 7-percentage-point greater risk of not having adequate retirement income than households not experiencing divorce. Among all households, exactly half are at risk of not having adequate retirement income.

"Millions of American households are at risk for not having adequate retirement income, and the challenge is even more acute among divorcees," said Kent Sluyter, president of Prudential Annuities. "These are sobering numbers that highlight a fundamental shift that needs to take place in the way we think about retirement. Instead of solely thinking about accumulating savings, people also need to consider a plan for protecting and generating retirement income."

51 percent of americans enough money retire well

The latest is in on how many people think they will be financially comfortable in retirement.

Nearly half of non-retired Americans said they foresaw an uncomfortable retirement, according to new findings from Gallup. Meanwhile, 51% predicted they would have enough money for comfortable living in the golden years.

What’s the verdict for after retirement? Good news on that front, as the numbers go up. Almost 8 in 10 retirees (78%) reported that they were financially comfortable.

It’s a trend that has been pretty consistent since Gallup started tracking the data in 2002. In past years, 72% and 83%, respectively, were the lowest and highest measures of retired Americans reporting financial retirement comfort.

asset based long term care

An income-rich retirement takes diligent effort to reach. Living well in the golden years means you have to start saving early. Over the years you save and invest some of your income in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. When retirement starts to draw near, it's time to create an air-tight financial plan that generates the income that would make your ideal retirement possible.

But, if you’re like the majority of Americans, you may not have planned for a big-ticket item that can derail even the best-laid retirement plan: the nest-egg-depleting cost of long-term care.

We know from recent studies that we are living longer than previous generations. However, most of us have our blinders on when it comes to planning for long-term care (LTC). A study by Northwestern Mutual revealed that 56 percent of Americans say that saving for LTC is one of their top financial priorities. But a whopping 73 percent haven't planned for this need.

 retirement planning expect unexpected

Scottish poet Robert Burns famously wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No doubt you likely have a plan for your retirement, even if you might not have a formal written financial plan.

You may know when you want to retire and what you’ll be doing afterwards with your newfound freedom. You may even have a roadmap to get you there.

Now imagine that a big hand reaches down from the sky, crumples up your roadmap, and tosses it aside. But wait, you protest! Too late, your circumstances have changed forever. While that sounds like a stretch, just being caught off-guard with your retirement plan would be less than pleasant, huh?

This is essentially what happened to half of the retirees in The Retirement Preparedness Study from Prudential Retirement. When surveyed, 51 percent said they retired earlier than planned. Sounds good, right? A chance to get to that retirement wish list sooner?

Not exactly. Only 23% retired earlier than planned because they wanted to, either because they had enough money to retire, wanted to retire, or were simply tired of working. Everyone else was dealt an unplanned event, either partially or fully out of their control:

  •  46 percent retired earlier than expected due to health problems
  • 30 percent were laid off from their jobs or offered an incentive package to retire early
  • 11 percent were forced to leave work to care for a loved one

For that 51 percent, their “best-laid plans” went awry, forcing them to adapt to a future they hadn’t foreseen.

retirement mistakes high net worth investors part 2

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series on common retirement planning mistakes made by high net-worth investors and households. For more information on the retirement and financial challenges awaiting today's investors, request your personalized copy of The New Retirement Report. This resource spells out many of the risks awaiting you in retirement and potential solutions to address them.

In the first half of this two-part series we addressed key mistakes that can drain your wealth in retirement. From the high-ticket expenses of long-term care and healthcare to unaddressed asset protection or liability issues, there are many potential missteps. Here are a few more retirement mistakes to avoid.

Review them with your retirement planning professional or advisor to ensure your plan has strategies to address, or even avoid, these possible financial mishaps.

retirement mistakes by high net worth households

Editor's Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on common retirement planning mistakes made by high net-worth investors and households. For more information on the retirement and financial challenges awaiting today's investors, please consider a review of The New Retirement Report. Many investors have found this resource useful for planning out for their financial futures.

With even more on the line than traditional retirees, high net-worth households need to be cautious of several all-too-common retirement mistakes that can cause a reversal of fortune.

Review these threats with your retirement planning professional or advisor to ensure your plan has strategies to address—and avoid—these potentially costly pitfalls.

how to help parents while staying on track retirement

No matter how much we have prepared for retirement, it often seems that we could be doing more. As people live longer and need more money, there’s increased pressure to step up saving. But what if, in addition to funding your own retirement, you also had to provide financial support to your parents?

According to TD Ameritrade, 25% of baby boomers already support another adult. Around 8% of those adults are aging parents. What’s more, 20% of Gen Xers also support other adults, with 13% being their parents.

Most of this support went to general living expenses and medical bills, with financial supporters paying an average of $12,000 per year to help loved ones. 

So, what if your parents don’t have enough money for their retirement needs? It’s more than likely you will help them with care and support, but this could inhibit your own retirement plans in the process.  

how to find best retirement planning companies

When you near retirement it’s an important life transition. For one, this period brings changes to money matters. Now is time to examine portfolio assets and consider how you will use them for income to sustain your retirement lifestyle. A good retirement planning company can help you plan for this transition.

Retirement Planning Companies May Have Different Specialties

However, investors have many options of financial firms in today’s industry. Different firms can vary in the unique expertise to the table. Some companies specialize in investment management and others in financial planning, for example.

While similar in some ways to financial planning and investment management, retirement planning is different. It concerns advice on the distribution of money and how people will use the money for income needs.  

Business Type Also Matters

There is also the question of business organization. Some firms are just one of many broker offices for huge financial companies, while other firms are small, local businesses. Whether they have a captive or an independent status may influence the kinds and selections of the retirement products they can offer you.

So, all of this adds up to many retirement planning options for investors. How do you choose the right partner for you? Let's take a look at some questions to answer.

dont forget inflation

Sure, many people stress over money issues. From mortgage payments and other bills to household spending and transportation costs, more than a few financial stressors are taking a toll. But retirement is quite different from the earlier stages of life. What may be Americans’ top money stressor as they venture into their retirement years?

According to a recent survey by Allianz Life, a top economic worry is inflation. Nearly one-third, or 32% of Americans said that they are “panicked” or “very worried” about inflation and its effects on their retirement.

It’s good that retirement investors are aware of inflation, but many underestimate it as a significant risk. In the survey, 64% said they don’t have a plan to address inflation. Among the 36% who do, 51% indicated “being more frugal with their money” would be their plan of action. And what about when it comes to actual planning? The Society of Actuaries reports that 45% of retirees and 28% of pre-retirees neglect inflation in their retirement plans.

Because inflation can be a real dealbreaker for retirement lifestyle – especially as lifespans increase – here’s a look at the power-punch that inflation can land over time.

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Whether you are in your 40s or approaching retirement, long-term financial planning should be on your mind. If you want to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, but you will no longer receive income from a full-time job, you will need to think about cash-flow from other sources, including Social Security, lifetime savings, a retirement portfolio, and maybe some other sources.

While each individual situation will require a specific approach, it’s a good idea to get a general idea of some retirement planning fundamentals. Two primary aspects of financial planning for retirement are wealth preservation and income certainty. Not only should a financial plan match retirement expenses and costs of living with income streams, it also needs to account for how income-producing assets will last as long as you need them to.

Say your risk tolerance tilts toward the conservative spectrum, or where appetites for stomaching financial losses are low. Then you may want to evaluate retirement strategies that provide the emotional comfort of knowing where your money will be coming from, month-to-month, to pay household bills and expenses. We call this Safe Money retirement planning – or making assurances that the money you can’t afford to lose is under the “lock and key” of contractually guaranteed protections.

Of course no retirement success springs up overnight. So, here’s a quick look at 4 simple steps to help you reach more long-term financial wellness and peace of mind.

 

longevity retirement planning

A number of recent studies indicate that today’s Americans have a higher life expectancy compared to previous generations. The Social Security Administration suggests that after reaching the standard age of retirement, 65, U.S. men and women may anticipate living at least a couple of decades more.            

There is no denying the fact that a longer life is a reason to celebrate. However, this increased longevity certainly adds new challenges in the process of retirement planning. While living a longer life is a worthy milestone for most, whether it will be enjoyable is largely based on the question of whether its quality is high. So, it’s prudent to pay careful attention to longevity risk in retirement planning – that way you are well-prepared for the uncertainty of potentially spending decades in your post-work life stage.

 3 retirement planning mistakes to avoid intro image

How should I invest for retirement? And during retirement? There’s a lot of great advice to answer these questions – a wealth of strategic financial tips for nest eggs of all sizes. But equally important is what not to do. Below are 3 retirement planning mistakes—avoid them at all costs.

planning for longevity in retirement

Good news: People are living longer. But it does come with downsides. For one, increasing lifespans bring greater financial risk, like outliving your retirement money or forking over income for costly health expenditures. Then there is the evolving question of what a longer retirement looks like.

Just some decades ago, many Americans shared a common vision. You worked for the same company for years, often in exchange for a defined-benefit pension. Then you left your job and shifted into a post-work lifestyle, drawing on your pension and living comfortably.

However, times have changed. As evolving trends and statistical projections indicate, retirement could last as long as 20-30 years, or perhaps even 40 years! Now it’s hard to define what retirement should be. That brings yet another challenge: How can we prepare financially for an extended post-work lifespan?

If you wonder about what you can do, here are some quick tips you can put into action. Before we go into those, let’s address an important topic affecting the near future: the pace at which longevity has changed over time.

3 Retirement Pitfalls You Should Avoid

You’ve worked hard for many years. Upon retirement, most people would like to live on their own terms. Maintaining a comfortable lifestyle requires you to take the proper steps to secure it. That includes avoiding common errors which could put your retirement finances at jeopardy.

With precautions in order, retirees will be more prepared to enjoy a secure – and hopefully financially confident – future. Having said that, let’s cover a few pitfalls which could do a number on your financial security.

Common Retirement Pitfalls to Avoid

5 Retirement Mistakes You Cant Afford to Make

According to a survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, just 21% of American workers are "very confident" they'll have enough money for retirement. After many years of hard work, most people would like a comfortable retirement lifestyle. But this doesn't just come together by itself.

Financial independence in retirement takes diligence, and it begins with creating a suitable retirement income plan. Then once you have this "retirement roadmap," it's a matter of sticking to it. Of course that involves taking action when you need to, like filing for Social Security at the right time or signing up for Medicare on deadline.

Whats Your Risk Capacity Why It Matters

Last week we discussed the value of having a guaranteed retirement income source. Annuities offer some strong advantages with their contractual guarantees, but they’re only one part of the financial picture. Overall, a portfolio could have many assets: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, CDs, or even other financial instruments.

This brings up the question of portfolio allocation. Is there a paradigm which you should follow? Ultimately, we would say it varies among individuals. Your portfolio should be allocated to reflect your current situation, your needs, your goals, your risk tolerance, and your risk capacity. Of course there are some well-known general guidelines, like the Rule of 100 and portfolio diversification.

SafeMoneyMasterLogo img

In a previous blog post, we discussed how a stock market correction could affect retirement money. Of course market downturns aren’t the only factor which can drain retirement funds. Events such as emergency medical situations or unexpected personal crises may also lead to financial duress.

Being prepared is a key fundamental for retirement security. But many people aren’t taking those steps. According to various survey data, by 2030 almost 20 percent of Americans will be over 62 years old – currently the average age at which people retire. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure shows around 15% of Americans over 65 years old live below the poverty threshold. Moreover, almost 50% live “near poverty.” Or in other words, they have incomes which are less than twice the poverty threshold.

What’s the Future Look Like?

SafeMoneyMasterLogo img

According to Pew Research Center, each day an additional 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age (65 years old). Given today's uncertain economic conditions, it's natural to be worried about retirement planning. And for many people, one driving concern is whether they will have enough money in retirement.

These financial concerns are centered on many factors: healthcare expenses, a comfortable lifestyle, or other interests. But no matter what people's concerns are, one point is clear. The world is different from what it used to be, and as a result, the dynamics of retirement income planning have drastically changed.

5 Ways to Compromise Your Retirement Plan

Through careful deliberation, many Americans have figured out their retirement planning requirements. But a comfortable retirement needs more than just creation of a financial strategy. It also means sticking to the plan you have developed.

Of course, there are some events beyond our control, events which can disrupt a retirement plan. Stock market downturns, costly unforeseen situations, and medical emergencies are a handful of such occurrences. There are some ways to mitigate the effects of these situations, but there are other mistakes which can prove detrimental to retirement security.

Here’s a look at some pitfalls which can put a retirement plan on the line – and which we recommend you take measures to avoid.

Retirement Plan Catastrophes to Avoid

Dont get blindsided by unexpected retirement costs

Finances continue to be a top retirement concern, as surveys show. In a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs, 57% of CPA financial planners reported their clients’ foremost retirement concern was “running out of money.” When asked what the sources of this client stress were, 76% of the financial planners said healthcare costs. Other causes of financial stress were lifestyle expenses (52%) and unanticipated costs in retirement (47%).

Given these concerns, it’s critical to ensure we’re ready for monthly income needs in retirement. But there are a number of retirement expenses which can give us the slip. Some costs are hard to project, such as healthcare costs. Then there are life changes which can completely transform a retirement budget, such as doting on grandchildren.

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