Even the best retirement plans are vulnerable to unexpected and unpredictable risks. The nature of saving for and executing a retirement plan has changed rapidly over the last few decades, making it hard to achieve financial security after leaving the workforce.
According to a 2013 report by the National Institute on Retirement Security (http://www.nirsonline.org/), 45% of working-age American households have no retirement savings. Two-thirds of working households ages 55-64 with at least one income earner, have retirement savings less than one times their annual income, which is far below what financial planners recommend the have to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
As pensions go the way of the dinosaur and Americans are living longer, David Rosell, CEO of Rosell Wealth Management and author of Failure is NOT an Option, (www.DavidRosell.com) says it’s time for boomers to change their retirement expectations.
Rosell offers the following tips and financial risks every boomer needs to consider in retirement:
Boomer: What impact does inflation have on baby boomer retirement nest egg?
Rosell: During the second half of your financial journey, it is critical that you be able to maintain your purchasing power. Simply put, inflation means that every year your money buys a little--or a lot--less than it did the year before. The current inflation rate of 3.5% may not sound like much, especially when we compare it to many developing countries, but even at this rate it means prices will double every 20 years.
Inflation erodes your purchasing power. Let’s take a look at inflation’s detrimental effects during a 30-plus year retirement. In 1980, the average new car cost $7,574, today that same car comes in at $30,000. In 1980, the average new home cost $62,900, now the average price is more than $300,000.
Imagine retiring at age 60 with an annual income of $100,000, then 20 years later, at the age of 80, you will need to withdraw $200,000 from your same retirement accounts just to maintain that same standard of living. This doesn’t even factor in additional costs of health care and possible long-term care expenses. If you happen to live to age 100, this figure will have doubled once again and you will need $400,000 each year to purchase what $100,000 purchases today.
When I tell people that they probably spent more money on their last car than their parents spent on their first home, they find it hard to believe and that’s when they truly begin to see the daunting effects of inflation.
Boomer: According to the Census Bureau, the over-80 population is increasing five times faster than the overall population. What do you mean when you say "going gray means time to play"?
Rosell: Americans are retiring earlier and living longer, and the gap is growing. I call it the “Age Wave.” During the last century, our life expectancy has almost doubled. Not only are people living longer, but the proportion of our older population in this country is growing dramatically.
But here is the good news. Rocking chairs aren’t for today’s retirees. Retirement will more than likely involve more planes, trains and automobiles as well as skis, stand up paddleboards and golf clubs.
Enjoy your journey, but please don’t overlook the importance of planning. Longevity means planning for retirement will be more importance than ever before.It’s not luck that enables people to retire younger, travel and enjoy themselves. It’s planning. Relying on Social Security or a company pension in your golden years used to be enough, but today your own retirement savings have become an increasingly important factor in how comfortable you will be in retirement.
Boomer: With the escalating costs of long-term health care during retirement, how can boomers protect themselves from outliving their retirement funds?
Rosell: Sadly, the escalating costs associated with long-term care during retirement can make the possibility of outliving one’s retirement income an unfortunate reality for many. Every one of us hopes to live to a ripe old age and enjoy good health, family and friends along the way. The luckiest of us will. But those who are less fortunate may have to deal with serious and often ongoing health challenges that tend to accompany longevity.
Statistics reveal that as we age, there is an increased probability of our eventual need of assistance with the most basic activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing and eating. This type of care—regardless of whether it's in-home or at a facility—does not come cheap. This is a topic that has certainly been making national headlines. Though everyone hopes for the best, the truth is, your health during retirement is unpredictable.
The truth is that most of us will need long-term care in our golden years. As unsettling as it is to consider the possibility of needing daily assistance, planning for those potential needs now can save a lot of money and heartache later. For a couple turning 65, there is a 75% chance that one of them will need long-term care and yet fewer than half have taken steps to prepare for this possibility. How will they pay for long-term care? Most Americans are grossly underfunded for their retirement and do not have enough in general savings. The average cost of a nursing home ranges from $85,000 to $120,000 a year, while hiring an aide to spend an average of six hours a day in the home can start around $40,000 a year.
Clearly, many people underestimate the need and cost of long-term care. I find that many people are in denial or believe their children will look after them. Yet in many cases, family members may not live near them or have the means to support them. Even if they do, most of us would rather not be a burden to our loved ones.
Since Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs and many people can't afford to pay for long-term care out of pocket without depleting their retirement nest egg, many pre-retirees are opting to buy long-term care insurance policies. Depending on the contract and issuing company, these policies usually begin paying the costs associated with long-term care once the insured becomes unable to independently perform several of the activities of daily living.
This coverage can free you from worries about extended medical care or potentially having to rely on your family members for care or money. Long-term care insurance will provide you and your family with peace of mind before and after needing long-term care. It also works to:
• Protect your assets and preserve an estate for your heirs;
• Enable you to provide yourself or your spouse with the best quality medical care;
• Help you preserve your financial and individual independence. It is important to keep in mind that coverage is about preserving independence—not losing it;
Unfortunately, many do not think about this insurance until they need it.
Although most people recognize the value of long-term care insurance, often the expense of buying a stand-alone policy deters them from seeking coverage. Some insurers now offer an alternative in the form of a long-term care or living care rider that can be attached to a permanent life insurance policy. If the owner ever requires care, the rider makes it possible to accelerate the death benefit of the insurance contract to pay for qualified costs. I suggest becoming educated on the ins and outs of long-term care so you can make an informed decision on what is most appropriate for you.
Boomer: Once in retirement, how much risk should boomers take in the stock market in their portfolios?
Rosell: If you were to retire at age 65 and live to age 90, statistically you would experience three recessions during your retirement years. With the ups and downs of market returns being a concern for every investor these days, it is important to assess retirement risks early and to regularly protect against an adverse downturn. Without sufficient risk management, one year of adverse returns can cause a great deal of insecurity in the long-term success of even the best-planned retirement portfolio.
Now let me ask you a question: If the market loses 50% one year and then increases 50% the following year, where are you?
I love asking that question because without fail, most people will say that you are back where you started. In actual fact, your portfolio has experienced a 25%decline.
Let’s test the math. After $1 million loses 50% of its value you have with $500,000. When $500,000 increases by 50% you have $750,000, which means that 25% of the portfolio has disappeared. Can you imagine what would have happened had you retired in 2001 and experienced this scenario twice? The years 2002 and 2008 constituted two of the three worst performing years in S&P history. As we work our way out of our current economic woes, many have already forgotten the results of the dot-com crisis and Sept. 11. That’s a mistake since market risk will always be an element of investing.
It is imperative to have a growth component in your retirement portfolio to outpace inflation in retirement. However it’s even more important to preserve