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Building Confidence in Your Retirement

by Jeff Dailey
Building Confidence in Your Retirement

In the next 10 years, the first wave of America’s 76 million “baby boomers” will be retiring, including nearly 9 million here in California, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Since today’s retirees are generally healthier and more active than their parents, they are looking forward to living longer and spending more time playing with grandchildren, pursuing hobbies, or trying new careers. Building Confidence in Your Retirement
Building Confidence in Your RetirementTheir longevity and vibrant lifestyle also presents financial challenges, however, and many wonder how they will make savings last throughout retirement.
Investors enter retirement with more confidence if they have a thoughtful retirement strategy. Planning ahead helps those nearing retirement prepare for when company paychecks stop coming and the goal of accumulating assets gives way to generating income from those assets. Building Confidence in Your Retirement
Research by Fidelity Investments has shown, however, that the majority of those approaching retirement have not assembled key elements of a retirement plan. Two thirds have not developed a budget of living expenses, for example, while more than three-quarters haven’t created a plan for withdrawing savings. While planning for and managing income in retirement may not sound like fun, it is the most effective way to be confident in the future. Consider the following.

  • CALCULATE HOW LONG RETIREMENT WILL LAST– Since retirement doesn’t have a preset time limit, this step can be particularly challenging. Many people are surprised to learn they are likely to live in retirement just as long as they worked. A 65-yearold couple retiring today, for example, should plan to have enough money to last at least 20 or 30 years. When determining how long your money will need to last, consider that you may live longer than you think-possibly into your 90’s.
  • ESTIMATE RETIREMENT EXPENSES -While planners recommend having 60 percent to 80 percent of income in retirement, each situation is different. It is important to realistically estimate the expenses that are likely in your retirement, including those you consider essential to basic living as well as the discretionary things you want. For example, the average 65-year-old couple retiring today will need $190,000 to cover medical costs over the next 15 to 20 years (assuming no employer-provided health benefits). Medical expenses, combined with mortgage, travel and entertainment costs, may create shortfalls, putting retirees at risk to outlive their savings. Options to bridge the gap include working longer or investing assets to generate supplemental income.
  • PRESERVE AND GROW ASSETS – Fear of a down market can cause some retirees to be too cautious, so they sell virtually all of their stock holdings. While they should protect assets, retirees should recognize that they may also benefit from growth that can come from investing in the markets.

In fact, long-term success may lie in a portfolio that includes an appropriate mix of stocks, bond and cash. The key is to find an asset mix that is age-appropriate and generates enough income to help offset withdrawal requirements and the effects of inflation over time.

  • SIMPLIFY TO STAY ON TRACK-Pre-retirees expect to manage an average of nine sources of income, including Social Security, multiple 401(k)’s, securities, and personal savings, according to Fidelity’s study. These assets are often held in multiple accounts at different institutions, making it difficult to develop and maintain a comprehensive investing strategy.

For example, mutual funds from different firms may hold similar investments, potentially increasing risk to a portfolio through greater exposure to volatile markets or sectors.
Anyone five to seven years from retirement may want to consider consolidating various retirement accounts in one place, or finding a tool that easily provides the entire financial picture in a single view.
Creating a thoughtful retirement strategy involves sharp focus and detailed calculations, and can force couples approaching retirement to face difficult considerations for the first time.
There are many resources available to help investors prepare a retirement strategy. Planning for the future is key, and helps build financial confidence so that you can enjoy the retirement you have worked so hard to achieve. Building Confidence in Your Retirement

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