There is a ton of education out there about retirement, in fact it seems to be everywhere I look: retirement workshops, podcasts, videos, articles. So why is it that people are still chronically unprepared for retirement?
Here’s what typically happens when I sit in front of someone who is about to retire and I ask, “Look, you’re 2-3 years out from retirement, so what have you done to plan for that? What are the kinds of things that you’ve looked at?” Most of the time people shrug their shoulders and they don’t have a game plan. They don’t have an idea. They went to a retirement workshop, but they’ve never moved forward with anything.
I believe that all financial planning boils down into three elements.
· How do I put my kids through college?
· How do I plan for my own retirement?
· If I did the first two, how do I pass on whatever I have left to my heirs?
That’s the bottom line. That’s what people really care about. They don’t care about all the superfluous noise that financial advisors put out into the universe. All people care about is this:
Can you give me a game plan to get me from Point A to Point B.
The biggest problem that I find today when I question people about how much of their retirement income is guaranteed, their response is “Why are you asking me that?” In my personal experience, what I have seen to be the common case is that when people are left to their own devices regarding managing their own portfolios for retirement income, they blow it up. They usually have no ability to manage risk. Normally what happens is that as a result, they always jump out of the market at the most inopportune times. And then they get back in at the wrong times.
Most retirees, if they had enough income to carry them through without any deficits, really wouldn’t pay that much attention to their portfolio. As a result, they can allocate the portfolio properly to get the types of returns that they probably need, yet won’t do if they are left on their own to risk manage the portfolio themselves.
Today most people, as a result of the SECURE Act, are going to start to see a projection of their income on their 401k, 403b, and 457 statements. Now all of a sudden some people aren’t going to be looking at their balances feeling that they are in great shape.
I recently had a meeting with a corporate executive who was struggling with the question of how to get her pre-tax assets over to his kids without getting crucified on taxes. She was five years out of retirement. I ran the analysis and I told her that we needed to start now doing some conversions. Nobody wants to think ahead. Some accountants will tell you to defer until the cows come home. People have to start playing the long game instead of the short game.
If you’re curious to see if any of this applies to you, please contact us and set up a time to talk.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.