We asked financial advisers for some of the most important ideas they wish their clients understood when it comes to money, retirement, and the future [and here are 7 of the most important].
The original article has been edited here for length (…) and clarity ([ ]) by munKNEE.com – A Site For Sore Eyes & Inquisitive Minds – to provide a fast & easy read.
Wish you had a crystal ball for retirement planning? Most of us do, and for good reason. Even if you’re sure you’ll have enough money to retire, there are no guarantees until you get there. If your nest egg runs short, it will be far too late for a do-over. This is where a financial adviser can help.
- A financial adviser will know if you’re:
- heavy on risk,
- not diversified enough,
- failing to maximize tax advantages,
- or simply not saving enough.
- …[and] take into account your lifestyle and preferences to ensure you’re on the right path to your ideal retirement, and not just following a cookie cutter plan that’s not going to be the right fit.
Here are those 7 things Financial Advisers wish you knew about retirement:
1. Social Security will be around in some form
…Many clients refuse to accept that Social Security will still be around when they retire. This is especially true if they are part of Gen X or Gen Y… since they are decades away from receiving benefits.
However short on funds we may be, the Social Security Administration projects the ability to pay around 75% of current benefits after the fund is depleted in 2034. This is a key detail…since many people hear Social Security is going bankrupt and refuse to acknowledge any benefits in their own retirement planning…
2. It’s ok to “live a little” while you save for retirement
…Too many future retirees sacrifice living now for their “pie in the sky” dream of retirement. Unfortunately, tomorrow isn’t promised, and many people never get to live out the dreams they plan all along…
With a solid savings and retirement plan, you should be able to do both — save and invest adequately, and try some new experiences that make life adventurous and satisfying now…
3. The 4 percent rule isn’t perfect for everybody
Born in the 90s, the 4 percent rule stated retirees could stretch their funds by withdrawing 4 percent per year. The catch was, a good portion of those investments had to remain in equities to make this work.
The 4 percent rule lost traction between 2000 and 2010 when the market closed lower than where it started 10 years before… As many retirement accounts suffered during this time, it was shown that the 4 percent rule doesn’t always work for everybody.
It doesn’t mean the rule should be thrown out completely though, nor should it still be followed like gospel. In fact, in 2015, two-third of retirees following the 4 percent rule had double the amount of their starting principal after a 30-year stretch. These retirees could have benefited from taking out more than the limited 4 percent, which could have meant an extra vacation each year, or another luxury that they were indeed able to afford.
There’s absolutely no denying the importance of making your retirement dollars last but, after a lifetime of working and saving, you also deserve to enjoy those dollars to their full capability.
Bottom line, take time to re-evaluate your drawdown strategy every few years and make adjustments as necessary. While you don’t want to go broke in retirement — you also don’t want to miss out on all the incredible things this time in your life has to offer.
4. Retirement looks different for everyone
…People…[should] abandon their preconceived notions on what retirement should look like…The concept of retirement is dynamic, ever-changing, and defined very differently by lots of different people.
To find the right retirement path and plan for your own life, you should sit down and decide what you really, truly want. Once you know what you want, you can craft a realistic plan to get there.
5. Investment returns aren’t as important as you think
…Too many people focus too much energy on their investment returns — mostly because they are an immediate and tangible way to gauge the success or failure of our financial plans [but] investment returns should only be judged in the proper scope of a long-term financial plan…
In the meantime, our behavior can make a huge impact when it comes to reaching your retirement goals. By spending less and saving more, for example, we can avoid debt and potentially invest more money over the long haul. Those moves can help us retire earlier whether the market performs the way we hope or not.
6. Small changes add up
When it comes to retirement planning, many people feel overwhelmed…[but] this could change if everyone realized how small changes — and small amounts of savings — add up drastically over time. [For example,]someone who invests just $200 per month for 30 years and earns 7% would have more than $218,000 in the end. Now imagine that both spouses are saving, or that they boost their investments incrementally over the years. Looking for ways to save money and invest more will obviously make this number surge.
If you boost your contributions each time you get a raise, for example, you’ll have considerably more for retirement. Remember even the smallest contributions can greatly add up over the years.
7. Don’t forget about long-term care
Many future retirees are missing one key piece of the puzzle…and that [is] how much long-term care costs – whether it is home health care, assisted living, or the dreaded nursing home – and fail to plan as a result…For example, even though the average stay is only 2.7 years in a nursing home, the total cost for those 2.7 years could be well over $400,000!…
With a few smart money moves, families can prepare for the real possibility of using a nursing home at some point. (See also: Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?)
One more thing advisers wish you knew
While financial advisers don’t know everything, their years of experience make them painfully aware of what lies ahead for those of us who fail to plan and, if there’s one thing financial planners can agree on, it’s this: The sooner we all start planning, the better off we’ll be.
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