Yes, it is, if you have a customized plan specific to your retirement. If you do, you’re in the minority, though, so here are some ways to develop that plan.
This article was featured on Kiplinger.com and written by: Nicholas J. Toman, CFP®
- When can I actually retire?
- Will I have enough?
- Will my wealth last?
- Will my spouse or significant other be OK when I’m gone?
Given the volatility we’ve seen in the financial markets since the end of 2021, many who planned to retire in 2023 are taking a pause because they feel less confident about the answer to each of these questions.
From 2012 through 2021, the average stock market return was 14.8%(opens in new tab) annually for the S&P 500 index, according to SoFi.com. This may have provided some comfort and even a slight “false sense of security” for investors without a formal plan to move into their next phase of life. Unfortunately for many, the recent state of the markets has caused their confidence to wane and feelings of uncertainty to take hold.
The simple answer to all of these questions, as well as other concerns about the ability to retire comfortably in 2023, is this: Do you have a customized plan specific to your retirement?
Yes, folks, that may seem too obvious! If you have a specific plan customized to your retirement, then you’re probably in the minority. Over the years, I’ve seen too many people think that the only significant decision that needs to be made prior to or during retirement is when to file for Social Security benefits, while simultaneously planning to live their remaining years off the positive returns in the markets. When to begin Social Security benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. However, it is only one of many things you will need to consider as part of your overall retirement.
To feel more confident about your plans to retire in 2023 and beyond, consider the following:
1. Coordinate Your Wealth.
Begin to separate your money by its specific purposes and avoid your portfolio being just a basket of random investment accounts that you’ve accumulated over the years. Separating your money by purpose is about knowing those things you want and need your money to do for you and then determining the right types of financial tools to use to make those things realities.
For example, you may need to purpose your money for the following:
- Monthly income.
- Large purchases and home maintenance.
- Recreation and travel.
- Health and long-term care.
- Legacy wishes.
- Continued growth that will outpace inflation.
These are just some of the most common things retirees will use their wealth for and should involve using different types of financial tools and strategies to accomplish each goal. Don’t just commingle your money among random investment accounts, but instead be very specific on the tools you choose for each.
2. Know Your “Income Security Score.”
Income is the foundation for most retirements and should be planned for as such. Going from earning a paycheck over the past 50 years to now creating your paycheck for the rest of your life with the resources and wealth you have takes a different approach than when your focus was on wealth accumulation. Start with knowing the percentage of your monthly expenses that can be covered by predictable and fairly reliable sources such as Social Security, pensions, annuities and cash, just to name a few.
If your monthly budget is $5,000 and these sources combined account for $3,000, then your income security score would be 60%. In this case, there is a “gap” to be filled of $2,000 that needs to come from other sources just to maintain your lifestyle. If that means taking regular distributions from accounts that are volatile and fluctuate, that can be a dangerous approach, resulting in the possibility of having to sell assets when values are low.
However, if your score is near or at 100%, you should now have more flexibility to ride out the ebbs and flows of the market and be better positioned to dictate when to make those distributions.
3. Diversify Your Retirement.
When you hear the word “diversification,” what comes to mind? Most likely, we think about our investments and the various underlying holdings in each. While this is still a very powerful concept to understand and implement, “retirement diversification” is about looking at your retirement in its totality and then being open to using tools from each of the various “financial worlds,” each with its own purpose and for very specific goals.
Those financial worlds and purposes could include:
- Wall Street. Investments most likely will continue to be used for a large portion of your wealth throughout retirement even given the recent market volatility. Purposes for continuing to be invested even moderately/conservatively in the markets would be to keep pace with (or outpace) inflation, protect against longevity risk and grow additional wealth to leave as a legacy.
- Insurance and annuities. Understanding how to incorporate the right insurance tools into your retirement can help mitigate overall retirement risk and serve multiple purposes. For example, life insurance could help create a customized legacy plan, be used as a source of tax-free income or be accessible for future long-term care expenses. Annuities could provide a reliable source of lifetime income or protect your principal investment against future market declines. The key to using insurance tools in retirement is understanding how they work and knowing the purpose they will serve.
- Banking. Having cash at the ready for any number of purposes is more important now than ever. This could include money for unexpected expenses, home repairs or even large purchases you anticipate over the next few months. The list of reasons for needing cash is endless, but something that should not be overlooked. Whether that’s simply setting aside money in a basic money market account or setting up a home equity line of credit for use if needed, make having cash on hand a significant part of your overall plan. This may not be the “sexy” part of retirement planning, but if done right, it could help you avoid the need to take distributions from your investment accounts during down markets.
Understanding and using each of these concepts in a very customized way can help provide confidence to your decision to retire in 2023.
Investment Advisory Services offered through Trek Financial LLC, (Trek) an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. For specific tax advice on any strategy, consult with a qualified tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Financial products and services if recommended may include investment advisory fees, commissions and/or other charges. Trek 23-533