BOSTON COLLEGE’S Center for Retirement Research just published a study that explores what Americans think are the biggest risks to their retirement—as opposed to what they objectively are. The center found “a big disconnect between how actual and perceived risks are ranked.” That disconnect could be hurting people’s retirement planning.
The study says the biggest risk to retirement is longevity—living so long that we run out of money. But the survey found that the biggest perceived threat is a market drop that cuts into savings,
WHEN I GRADUATED high school in 1961, my parents offered this advice: “Find a good company to work for and stay there.” At the time, my choices were the phone company, a major insurance company and a utility. I applied to all three and would have taken a job with any of them, but ended up at the utility. I worked there until I retired in January 2010.
Today, my parents’ advice seems almost quaint,
I ADMIT I’M ENVIOUS of people who feel passionate about their careers. People who have no desire to stop working. People who can’t imagine how they’ll fill their days when they finally retire.
I spent 37 years in the workforce. My first few years, I held multiple part-time jobs to put myself through college. Once I completed my master’s degree, I began working fulltime. For 30 years, work was just a daily chore.
During three decades of employment,
I RECENTLY WROTE about lifecare communities. These provide a continuum of services—independent living, assisted living, custodial care—to meet changing needs as a retiree ages. The lifecare contract guarantees that, no matter what happens to your money, there will be a place where you can receive the appropriate level of care.
That brings me to a recent innovation offered by some continuing care retirement communities. Called lifecare at home, it’s much less costly than moving into a retirement community,
FINANCIAL EXPERTS with “certified” in their title have plenty of good advice for retirees as they cope with today’s rough financial times. My qualifications are a little different. They’re limited to my eight decades of experience, plus my CC designation, short for Certified Curmudgeon.
What’s my advice? Say you’ve accumulated that magic $1 million nest egg and you’re following the 4% withdrawal-rate strategy. In year one, you’d pull out $40,000. In normal times, your remaining balance might grow,
IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED: I feel old. Never mind that I am old. Until recently, I didn’t feel old. One contributor to my changed mood: At 78, I’m now the same age as my father was when he died 34 years ago.
I’ve been trying to figure out why I started feeling old. The onset of the pandemic and my recent health scare are likely candidates. Before the past two years, never did I worry about my health.
ARE YOU IN YOUR 60s and worried about rising consumer prices? It’s worth understanding how inflation affects Social Security benefits—especially its impact on those who postpone claiming their monthly check.
Social Security benefits jumped 5.9% in 2022, thanks to the annual cost-of-living adjustment. This inflation increase was based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI-W. This was the largest adjustment since 1982, and it affected nearly 64 million retirees. The increase took effect in January.
FINANCIAL ADVISORS used to suggest a 20-year planning horizon for retirement. Now, most advisors say to plan for a 30-year retirement. From my own experience, I believe 40 years should be the norm, and 50 years isn’t unreasonable.
If we plan for the longest possible life expectancy, we’ll almost always die with money left over. That’s far better than the alternative—living longer than planned and running out of money.
People who live to 100 are called centenarians.
AS I WAS PREPARING to retire last year, I spoke with a number of friends who were also about to leave the workforce. One of the main topics of discussion: How could we best arrange a stream of income for the next three decades or so?
Among my friends, a common refrain was that they planned to spend more in their first decade of retirement. They thought their spending would fall during the second decade,
LOSS AVERSION IS ONE of the most powerful behavioral-finance phenomena. It’s often defined as “losses loom larger than gains.” It’s been said that the psychological pain from a loss is about twice as powerful as the pleasure from an equivalent gain.
Boy, am I feeling that right now. This year’s market losses have many of us concerned. But this year is different for my wife and me. This is our first year with no consistent earned income.
MARCH 31 MARKED the fifth anniversary of my retirement from fulltime work. Back then, I didn’t think I was retiring and I’m still not sure I really have retired. Instead, over the past five years, I’ve described myself as semi-retired. But a recent HumbleDollar article provided a better description of my situation: I’m in a “phased retirement.”
How have things gone, what have I learned and what would I have done differently?
WANT A HAPPIER, more fulfilling retirement? You work your entire life to get there, and you want to make the most of the time you’re given. But how? Here are my 10 rules for retirement:
1. Have a purpose and a plan, but be flexible. You might have devoted more than 70,000 hours to your career, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise if your work has become a huge part of your identity.
WHEN I RETIRED 10 years ago, I need to replace my biweekly paycheck. Because I was retiring early, and there would be no pension or Social Security for many years, my goal was to use savings to create a synthetic paycheck.
During my final few years of work, I prepared by channeling most of my paycheck into both taxable and tax-deferred accounts. My pay was much higher than what I needed for living expenses.
IF THERE WAS ANYONE who should have been emotionally unprepared to retire, it was me. In the years immediately before, I was at the top of my career. I’d been promoted to vice president. I had virtual total control over my job. I was recognized by nearly every employee because of my extensive employee benefits communications and the fact that I’d negotiated benefits for decades. I was among the few who routinely met with the company’s chairman.
I’VE FINALLY DECIDED when to claim my Social Security benefit. Along the way, I realized that calculating the ideal start date is easy—provided you can predict your retirement income needs (doable), your investment returns (hard), the inflation rate (hard), your future tax rate (hard), your date of death (hard) and what Congress will do in the future (impossible).
This particular financial journey began when I was preparing a recent blog post on the knotty issue of when to file.