How to Play Catch-up on Retirement in the New Year

I think we can all agree that 2016 was a stressful year. While we can’t control a lot of what is going on in the world, we can take charge of our own financial security.

When it comes to saving and investing, confidence in your retirement path is just as important as the assets, because uncertainty can lead to rash decisions and instability, according to Dan Keady CFP®, Senior Director, Advice and Planning Strategy at TIAA.

“Unfortunately, many Americans have misconceptions about the requirements needed to qualify for financial advice. For example, 49 percent of Americans believe they need more than $50,000 in savings to justify meeting with a financial advisor, even though advisors can offer information and guidance for investors of various circumstances – whether you’re a Boomer nearing retirement or a millennial who’s just getting started,” said Keady.

Keady discussed with what you need to know to help meet your financial goals in 2017 and beyond.

Boomer: What steps can we take to get guaranteed monthly income for life?

Keady: One step that Boomers can take to make sure they have a monthly source of income after they retire is to consider the benefits of lifetime income options and what those have to offer. Even though retirees who have an annuity are largely satisfied with their investment decision (92 percent, according to  TIAA’s Lifetime Income Survey), many Americans are still unaware of the benefits that sources of lifetime income like annuities can offer them in their own retirement. Evaluating lifetime income options like these can be crucial in determining how much you need during your retirement, because Americans generally underestimate how much they will need in order to live comfortably after they retire. In fact, 63 percent of Americans who are not retired estimate they will need less than 75 percent of their current income, while most experts recommend replacing 70 to 100 percent of their current income.

Boomer: Although getting an early start on retirement planning can make a big difference in achieving lifelong happiness, what can Boomers who get a late start in planning do to still achieve a happy financial retirement?

Keady: Despite the fact that, according to TIAA’s Voice of Experience Survey, those who begin preparing for retirement before age 30 are more likely to retire before age 60, there are still opportunities for Boomers who didn’t start saving until later in their careers to reach full satisfaction in retirement. When it comes to retirement saving, preparation ultimately leads to satisfaction, and one of the most important things Boomers who started saving late can do is to make sure they are utilizing any and all resources that are available to them through their employer. Retirees can also take advantage of customizable, interactive planning tools like TIAA’s Preparing for Retirement tool that illustrate your plan and can help you understand your path toward retirement. These resources can be an easy option for savers to overlook, but they can go a long way in helping them reach their retirement goals when combined with financial advice, ultimately helping retirees reach a level of stability that will allow for relaxation and recreation during retirement.

Boomer: With a new administration in the White House in 2017, what new challenges and new investment opportunities might we be looking at?

Keady: Although it’s possible the new administration could lead to some changes for Americans who are saving for retirement, it’s important to understand that retirement plans are unique to each individual, and what works for one person might not have the same results for another. This is another reason why consulting a professional advisor to address your specific situation is imperative in times like these. Some people might panic at the thought of the new administration, while others might see opportunity – one way to get a better grasp on what to expect for yourself is to meet with an advisor who is well-versed in handling financial situations during transitional periods like this.