The lifestyles of today’s retirees are vastly different from past generations. Today’s retirees have active lives that include traveling, playing golf, taking up a hobby and making time for the grandkids.
If this is the goal for retirees, most people approaching retirement age need to think about protecting their investments to ensure they’ll have enough income throughout their retirement to enjoy this active lifestyle.
After the relatively calm and steadily rising stock market most investors have enjoyed during the last several years, it’s not hard for retirees to feel nervous about the recent market volatility and how it has affected their investments. Triggers for market volatility can come in many forms – policy uncertainty, earnings reports, geopolitical unrest, etc., and the current health crisis. And market swings can rattle even seasoned investors’ nerves. But volatility is part of investing.
Volatility may cause investors to rethink their portfolios and feel skeptical about investing in stocks. Within the current environment, here are some options to consider as investors refine their retirement plan.
Save more while working. Be sure to take full advantage of any company-offered retirement plan. If you participate in a 401(k) plan, contribute as much as possible and at least enough to earn the entire match the company may offer.
Set up an automatic savings plan. Try to set a certain amount to be deducted from each paycheck and deposited into a separate account for retirement. Also, examine monthly household spending to see if there are ways to spend a little less. Refinancing the mortgage, increasing insurance deductibles and reducing spending on discretionary items can add up quickly.
Earn more on retirement assets. Take time to develop a well thought out asset allocation for investments, one that incorporates a time horizon and risk tolerance, in order to provide diversification and some peace of mind. Generally, the younger a person is, the more long-term investments should be in equities. Over time, high quality stocks have produced greater returns than bonds and cash investments. Keep in mind that the money invested should be working hard, too. Take advantage of higher interest rates on accounts that provide less liquidity and on longer-term CDs if the money in the accounts or CDs can be left alone for longer periods.
Work longer until retirement. Delaying retirement enables individuals to have more for retirement in several ways. While working, it’s possible to save more in a retirement plan and through regular savings, especially with a tax-deferred retirement account. If all the funds are left in the account, it enables them to grow faster. For example, if an individual delays retirement for five years and earns just 5 percent on the funds, they will have about 27 percent more just from the earnings.
Delaying when to start collecting Social Security will also increase monthly benefits. If an individual is currently 55 years old, they can start collecting full Social Security retirement benefits at age 66. If they start at age 62, they will only get about 75 percent of that amount and if they wait and start collecting at age 70, they will get about 130 percent of that amount.
Spend less during retirement years. Most retirees want a “full and active lifestyle” during retirement. Perhaps they should consider changing exactly what that “full and active lifestyle” means. Less travel, less expensive cars or foregoing a second home (or opting for a smaller one) will make a difference.
For older individuals with less time until their planned retirement, a review of their financial future may be essential. Don’t be afraid to consult an investing professional who can help determine what steps need to be taken to achieve desired retirement goals.
Ashley Durbin is a client advisor with Arvest Wealth Management