Didn’t Last Long

Kristine Hayes

JUST A HANDFUL of weeks ago, I posted about achieving a $1 million net worth. Now my status as a millionaire is already in jeopardy. While the value of some of my financial assets have held steady—and some have seen gains—the portion of my retirement account invested in the stock market has suffered significant losses.

My retirement account balance peaked on Jan. 4 at $478,000. Today, it hovers around $430,000. Since I retired in late May, I’m no longer adding money to the account. Without those regular contributions, I know it could take months—and perhaps years—for the balance to rebound.

Am I worried? Not yet.

For now, I feel financially secure. I pay off my credit card in full every month. I haven’t had to dip into my emergency savings. Between my husband’s retirement income and the money we made from the sale of our Portland home, we can easily cover all our bills.

My hope: It’ll be at least a decade before I need to begin taking withdrawals from my retirement accounts. In seven years, at age 62, I’ll likely start drawing Social Security. That income, combined with my husband’s, should provide us with enough money to cover all our expenses.

In the meantime, the portion of my retirement savings that’s invested in a guaranteed return fund will continue to grow. I’m earning close to 5% on that money. My state pension fund also continues to grow at a rate of 7.5% a year. I plan on leaving that money in place until I turn 72. At that point, I’ll be required to take withdrawals.

It feels good to know I have other options besides tapping my retirement accounts. I’m confident I could land a part-time job if the need arose. I’m also in the early stages of starting my own dog training business. I don’t know how successful the business will or won’t be. Since the overhead costs are low, the financial risk is minimal.

For now, my status as a millionaire depends on the whims of the stock market. But by having a substantial portion of my retirement portfolio invested in guaranteed return accounts, I know I can afford to ride out the current market volatility.

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