How much can you save for retirement in 2020? The Treasury Department has announced inflation-adjusted figures for retirement account savings for 2020: 401(k) contribution limits are up; traditional IRA contribution limits stay the same; almost all the other numbers are up.
The amount you can contribute to your 401(k) or similar workplace retirement plan goes up from $19,000 in 2019 to $19,500 in 2020. The 401(k) catch-up contribution limit—if you’re 50 or older in 2020—will be $6,500 for workplace plans, up from $6,000. But the amount you can contribute to an Individual Retirement Account stays the same for 2020: $6,000, with a $1,000 catch-up limit if you’re 50 or older.
So super-savers age 50-plus can sock away $33,000 in these tax-advantaged accounts for 2020. If your employer allows aftertax contributions or you’re self-employed, you can save even more. The overall defined contribution plan limit moves up to $57,000, from $56,000.
Sounds unreachable? During 2018, 13% of employees with retirement plans at work saved the then maximum of $18,500/$24,500, according to Vanguard’s How America Saves. In plans offering catch-up contributions, 15% of those age 50 or older took advantage of the extra savings opportunity. High earners are really saving: 6 out of 10 folks earning $150,000+ contributed the maximum allowed, including catch-ups.
401(k)s. The annual contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is $19,500 for 2020—a $500 boost over 2019. Note, you can make changes to your 401(k) election at any time during the year, not just during open enrollment season when most employers send you a reminder to update your elections for the next plan year.
The 401(k) Catch-Up. The catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 or older in these plans is $6,500 for 2020. That’s the first increase since 2015 when the limit rose to $6,000. Even if you don’t turn 50 until December 31, 2020, you can make the additional $6,500 catch-up contribution for the year.
SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s. For the self-employed and small business owners, the amount they can save in a SEP IRA or a solo 401(k) goes up from $56,000 in 2019 to $57,000 in 2020. That’s based on the amount they can contribute as an employer, as a percentage of their salary; the compensation limit used in the savings calculation also goes up from $280,000 in 2019 to $285,000 in 2020.
Aftertax 401(k) contributions. If your employer allows aftertax contributions to your 401(k), you also get the advantage of the $57,000 limit for 2020. It’s an overall cap, including your $19,500 (pretax or Roth in any combination) salary deferrals plus any employer contributions (but not catch-up contributions).
The SIMPLE. The limit on SIMPLE retirement accounts goes up from $13,000 in 2019 to $13,500 in 2020. The SIMPLE catch-up limit is still $3,000.
Defined Benefit Plans. The limitation on the annual benefit of a defined benefit plan goes up from $225,000 in 2019 to $230,000 in 2020. These are powerful pension plans (an individual version of the kind that used to be more common in the corporate world before 401(k)s took over) for high-earning self-employed folks.
Individual Retirement Accounts. The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (pretax or Roth or a combination) remains at $6,000 for 2020, the same as in 2019. The catch-up contribution limit, which is not subject to inflation adjustments, remains at $1,000. (Remember that 2020 IRA contributions can be made until April 15, 2021.)
Deductible IRA Phase-Outs. You can earn a little more in 2020 and get to deduct your contributions to a traditional pretax IRA. Note: Even if you earn too much to get a deduction for contributing to an IRA, you can still contribute—it’s just nondeductible.
In 2020, the deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $65,000 and $75,000, up from $64,000 and $74,000 in 2019. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $104,000 to $124,000 for 2020, up from $103,000 to $123,000.
For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $196,000 and $206,000 in 2020, up from $193,000 and $203,000 in 2019.
Roth IRA Phase-Outs. The inflation adjustment helps Roth IRA savers too. In 2020, the AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $196,000 to $206,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $193,000 to $203,000 in 2019. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $124,000 to $139,000, up from $122,000 to $137,000 in 2019.
Saver’s Credit. The income limit for the saver’s credit for low- and moderate-income workers is $65,000 for married couples filing jointly for 2020, up from $64,000; $48,750 for heads of household, up from $48,000; and $32,500 for singles and married filing separately, up from $32,000. See Grab The Saver’s Credit for details on how it can pay off.
QLACs. The dollar limit on the amount of your IRA or 401(k) you can invest in a qualified longevity annuity contract is increased to $135,000 from $130,000. See Make Your Retirement Money Last For Life for how QLACs work.
I’m an associate editor on the Money team at Forbes based in Fairfield County, Connecticut, leading Forbes’ retirement coverage. I manage contributors who cover retirement and wealth management. Since I joined Forbes in 1997, my favorite stories have been on how people fuel their passions (historic preservation, open space, art, for example) by exploiting the tax code. I also get into the nitty-gritty of retirement account rules, estate planning and strategic charitable giving. My favorite Forbes business trip: to Plano, Ill. to report on the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, then owned by a British baron. Live well. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ashleaebeling Send me an email: email@example.com
The IRS announced changes to contribution and benefit limits for 2019. CSIG’s Alison Bettonville, CFA highlights the limit changes that affect various qualified retirement plans. Highlights include: -402(g) limit increased to $19,000 -415 or the Total Annual Additions limit increased to $56,000 -Catch up contributions limit remained at $6,000 -Compensation limit increased $280,000 -Highly Compensated Employee definition increased to $125,000 To the extent that any portion of the information submitted by CSIG contains material that is copyrighted, the recipient shall observe the protection of such material as provided under applicable copyright laws. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate risk of loss. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, as are statements of financial market trends, which are based on current market conditions. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal, or tax advice. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation. The price of equity securities may rise or fall because of changes in the broad market or changes in a company’s financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. International investing involves a greater degree of risk and increased volatility. There is no guarantee that companies that can issue dividends will declare, continue to pay, or increase dividends.
Shortly after wrapping up my lecture on the future of retirement, a petite older woman approached me. Confidently, she quickly positioned herself between me and other attendees that had follow-up questions. She came close and began speaking to me at a volume that may have been more appropriate several feet away, saying: “I don’t know who he is! He is always there—every day!”
Before I could ask her whom she was describing, I noticed an older man standing slightly to the side, but a little behind her. She continued, picking up her pace, and volume.
“He just doesn’t understand. I have a daily routine!”
The man now seemed to be stepping back — almost shrinking away. She turned to him and rhetorically asked: “Isn’t that true?!”
Not waiting for his response she turned to me, seemingly looking to me to agree, or referee, saying, “My husband! Now that he is retired, he is always looking to me to feed him, entertain him, and keep him busy!”
Not waiting for my reply, she took the old man by the arm and walked toward the exit.
This was not the first time I heard from an older woman, a now common refrain, voiced by many women with retired partners—“I married him for life, but not for lunch.”
People 50 years old and older have the highest divorce rate of all age groups. In fact, according to Pew Research, the Baby Boomer divorce rate, the so-called gray divorce, has doubled since the 1990s.
Social observers have offered many reasons—among them, most often voiced by women, is: “He bores me.” That reason may not be altogether incorrect, just a little incomplete.
What if the cause of many divorces is poor planning? Not retirement planning in the financial sense, but longevity planning. The failure to plan how, as a couple, they will spend nearly a full third of their adult lives together. A far more concentrated time together than all the previous decades they shared.
There is a new retirement math that has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with living well—together. This new math includes numbers you and your partner didn’t imagine, let alone plan on.
Relationships are typically measured in years. We even assign symbolic gifts to achieving years of togetherness: 25 years is a silver anniversary, 50 years is golden, etc. But, in all those early decades—how much time do you really spend together? Between raising children, careers and countless other activities and responsibilities that only grow in number, and intensity, from young adulthood through midlife, a couple may find they spend years living together, but very few hours actually being together.
The New Math Of Retirement Togetherness
How much time do we actually spend with our partners?
There are 168 hours in a week. Assume that about 8 hours each day are spent sleeping, totaling 56 hours a week, leaving 112 waking hours.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average work day is about nine hours, five days a week. For most, that means 45 hours of work away from their partner, leaving 67 hours.
Just getting to work and going home takes time, too. The nation’s average commute time is nearly 30 minutes one way to work, unless you share Boston’s commute with me, then you are sitting nearly idle for an average 49 minutes. Assuming at least an hour per day to travel to and from work, that is an additional five hours from home, leaving 62 waking hours together—assuming that Saturdays and Sundays are days off.
On any given Monday through Friday, however, a couple may spend only a mere six hours truly together. And that is six hours of togetherness counting showers, bio-breaks, meals, children and all the other big and little tasks that make up a day.
Now, let’s consider retirement. A clean break from the workplace. A dividend of 45 waking hours per week are given to you—with interest. Because the end of the daily grind, also ends the daily work commute, another five-plus hours of freedom is gained to spend with your mate.
Suddenly instead of being limited to a just six waking hours per day with your partner, you have scored an additional ten waking hours at home!
Overnight, you went from 6 to 16 hours together! Every day!
Cause for celebration? Perhaps. For many, it is a surprise. Instead of a time to be celebrated, if not fully planned for, it may be a time that brings unanticipated complexity and even conflict between partners.
Many couples cash in their retirement dividend of more time together by making trips dreamed of decades before. Others plan on spending time with friends, family and, grandchildren. However, leisure travel for most is only a week or two a year. Family visits are typically over holidays and long weekends. In sharp contrast, life after full-time work is a daily event that continues for decades.
Retirement planning today focuses primarily on financial security. It is now necessary to develop a longevity plan, that includes money, but also a comprehensive and collaborative discussion that couples must have about what they will do, and how they plan to live together in the many years that is likely to be a full one third of their adult lives.
For now, many may not have a plan, but they are muddling through. Women appear to be taking action to ensure that their later years are filled with activity and income— not just activity planning for their retired mate. The Boston College Center for Retirement Research reports a sharp rise in the average retirement age of women.
Some men are taking a defensive approach. Pete, my Uber driver, keeps busy by staying on the road four to five days a week. With a full head of white hair, dressed in khakis, polo shirt, and sweater, Pete looks more like someone on his way to a member meeting of a high-end golf club, than someone who has found navigating traffic for seven to eight hours a day a side hobby.
I ask him why does he work so many days in retirement? As he puts it, “Retirement has been a great change after years at a desk. I am outside, and I get to meet and talk with interesting people.”
Looking at me in the rearview mirror, he adds, with a big smile: “There’s another reason too. Driving gets me out of the house before the wife kills me.”
I lead the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (agelab.mit.edu). Researcher, teacher, speaker and advisor – my work explores how global demographics, technology and changing generational attitudes are transforming business and society. I teach in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies & Planning and the Sloan School’s Advanced Management Program. My new book is The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest Growing, Most Misunderstood Market (Public Affairs, 2017) . Follow me on Twitter @josephcoughlin.
Saving for retirement means navigating a potential minefield of high fees and bad advice. Billy Eichner and Kristin Chenoweth share some tips. Connect with Last Week Tonight online… Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens: www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would: http://Facebook.com/LastWeekTonight Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: http://Twitter.com/LastWeekTonight Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once: http://www.hbo.com/lastweektonight
That is the kind of plan in which the employer guarantees the worker a set monthly benefit for life. They are increasingly scarce except for small closely held corporations.
The same rules apply for small closely held businesses as for large corporations.
These plans can be great tools for independent professionals and small business owners. But if you have thousands of employees, DB plans are expensive and risky.
The company is legally obligated to pay the benefits at whatever the cost turns out to be, which is hard to predict.
The advantage is you can use some hopeful accounting to set aside less cash now and deal with the benefit problems later. The problem is “later” comes faster than you would like, and procrastination can be a bitch.
That Brings Us to the Lesson for Today
In October 7, General Electric (GE) announced several changes to its defined benefit pension plans. Among them:
Some 20,000 current employees who still have a legacy-defined benefit plan will see their benefits frozen as of January 2021. After then, they will accrue no further benefits and make no more contributions. The company will instead offer them matching payments in its 401(k) plan.
About 100,000 former GE employees who earned benefits but haven’t yet started receiving them will be offered a one-time, lump sum payment instead. This presents employees with a very interesting proposition. Almost exactly like a Nash equilibrium. More below…
The first part of the announcement is growing standard. But the second part is more interesting, and that’s where I want to focus.
Suppose you are one of the ex-GE workers who earned benefits. As of now, GE has promised to give you some monthly payment when you retire. Say it’s $1,000 a month.
What is the present value of that promised income stream? It depends on your life expectancy, inflation, interest rates and other factors. You can calculate it, though. Say it is $200,000.
Is GE offering to write you a generous check for $200,000? No. We know this because GE’s press release says:
Company funds will not be used to make the lump sum distributions. All distributions will be made from existing pension plan assets in the GE Pension Trust. The company does not expect the plan’s funded status to decrease as a result of this offer. At year-end 2018, the plan’s funded ratio was 80 percent (GAAP).
So GE is not offering to give away its own money, or to take it from other workers. It is simply offering ex-employees their own benefits earlier than planned. But under what assumptions? And how much? The press release didn’t say.
If that’s you, should you take the offer? It’s not an easy call because you are making a bet on the viability of General Electric.
When GE says its plan is 80% funded under GAAP, it necessarily makes an assumption about the plan’s future investment returns.
I dug around their 2018 annual report and found the “expected rate of return” was 8.50% as recently as 2009, when they dropped it to 8.00%, then 7.50% in 2014, to now 6.75%.
So over a decade they went from staggeringly unrealistic down to seriously unrealistic. They still assume that every dollar in their pension fund will grow to almost $4 in 20 years.
That means GE’s offered amounts will probably be too low, because they’ll base their offers on that expected return.
GE hires lots of engineers and other number-oriented people who will see this. Still, I doubt GE will offer more because doing so would compromise their entire corporate viability, as we’ll see in a minute.
GE has $92 billion in pension liabilities offset by roughly $70 billion in assets, plus the roughly $5 billion they’re going to “pre-fund.”
But that is based on 6.75% annual return. Which roughly assumes that in 20 years one dollar will almost quadruple.
What if you assume a 3.5% return? Then you are roughly looking at $2, which would mean the pension plan is underfunded by over $100 billion—and that’s being generous.
GE’s current market cap is less than $75 billion, meaning that technically the pension plan owns General Electric.
This is why GE and other corporations, not to mention state and local pension plans, can’t adopt realistic return assumptions. They would have to start considering bankruptcy.
If GE were to assume 3.5% to 4% future returns, which might still be aggressive in a zero-interest-rate world, they would have to immediately book pension debt that might be larger than their market cap.
GE chair and CEO Larry Culp only took over in October 2018.
We have mutual friends who have nothing but extraordinarily good things to say about him. He is clearly trying to both do the right thing for employees and clean up the balance sheet.
He was dealt a very ugly hand before he even got in the game.
GE needs an additional $5 billion per year minimum just to stave off the pension demon. That won’t make shareholders happy, but Culp is now in the business of survival, not happiness.
That is why GE wants to buy out its defined benefit plan beneficiaries. Right now, the company is on the wrong side of math.
It doesn’t have anything like Hussman’s 31X the benefits it is obligated to pay. Nor do many other plans, both public and private. Nor does Social Security.
To be clear, I think GE will survive. Its businesses generate good revenue and it owns valuable assets. The company can muddle through by gradually bringing down the expected returns and buying out as many DB beneficiaries as possible. But it won’t be fun.
Pension promises are really debt by another name. The numbers are staggering even when you understate them. We never see honest accounting on this because it would make too many heads melt.
If I am a GE employee who is offered a buyout? I might seriously consider taking it because I could then define my own risk and, with my smaller amount, take advantage of investments unavailable to a $75 billion plan.
I predict an unprecedented crisis that will lead to the biggest wipeout of wealth in history. And most investors are completely unaware of the pressure building right now. Learn more here.
I am a financial writer, publisher, and New York Times bestselling-author. Each week, nearly a million readers around the world receive my Thoughts From the Frontline free investment newsletter. My most recent book is Code Red: How to Protect Your Savings from the Coming Crisis. I appear regularly on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. I’m also Chairman of Mauldin Economics, a research group that provides monthly analysis and recommendations to thousands of readers around the world. I was previously CEO of the American Bureau of Economic Research. Today I am President of the investment advisory firm Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC. I am also president and registered principal of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC a FINRA and SIPC registered broker dealer. When I’m not traveling to speak at conferences and events, I live in Dallas, TX. I’m also the proud father of seven children.
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If you are trying to figure out how much money you need to save for retirement, there’s an easy rule of thumb that you can use: simply multiply your expected annual expenses in retirement by twenty-five.
For example, if you expect to spend $100,000 annually once you’re retired, you’ll want to have a $2.5 million portfolio saved up. If you’d like to play around with the numbers to estimate your own retirement needs, you can use this simple retirement calculator.
This retirement savings rule of thumb is based on the 1998 landmark study conducted by Carl Hubbard, Philip Cooley and Daniel Walz, in their seminal study known as the Trinity Study. They built on the 1994 work of William Bengen, who originally coined the ‘4% Rule’.
The Trinity Study evaluated safe retirement withdrawal rates, and found that 4% was sufficient for the majority of retirees. A safe withdrawal rate simply refers to the amount of money that can be taken out of an account and allow you to reasonably expect the portfolio to not fail, or run out of money. In this case, the 4% withdrawal rate refers to the amount of money that will be withdrawn from the balance of the retirement portfolio in the first year of retirement. In subsequent years, the balance withdrawn will simply be an inflation adjusted number based on the total dollar amount withdrawn the year prior.
The Trinity Study has become so well-known, that it has been adopted by hopeful retirees from all walks of life, including those hoping to retire early. The FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is a lifestyle movement with the goal of allowing individuals to retire as early and quickly as possible.
However, one detail that the movement is getting wrong and completely missing, is the fact that the Trinity Study’s 4% rule of thumb was based on a 30 year retirement period. This time horizon was determined to be on the conservative end of retirements by the authors of the study. If you work until you’re 65, having a 30 year retirement seems pretty reasonable. I don’t think many would argue that living until the age of 95 is a short life by any means.
The problem arises due to the FIRE movement seeking a much longer retirement period. If you retire at 45 years old, you may need a portfolio that will survive another 45 to 50 years in order to avoid running out of money. In this case, making a judgement error could end up meaning re-entering the workforce at an advanced age. For this reason, relying on a 4% withdrawal rate is an extremely risky decision if you plan to retire early.
This begs the question of what a more appropriate withdrawal rate is if you plan to retire early. The answer is that it depends. In general, the study found that as the balance between stocks and bonds shifts towards equities, a portfolio is more likely to withstand the test of time. So inherently, your risk tolerance will need to be factored into the equation. If you are comfortable with 75%+ of your portfolio being in stocks (and stomaching the increased risk), you might be safe with a 3% withdrawal rate. If you prefer less volatile investments, a lower rate is more conservative.
This is bad news for a lot of you hoping to retire early.
For one, it would mean having to save an additional $833,000 if you hope to spend $100,000 annually like in the example above. Unless you are an exceptionally high earner, it’ll likely mean having to work for several additional years or having to continue to earn additional income even after retirement.
With the buzz surrounding the gig economy and the seemingly endless ‘side-hustle’ opportunities available, this seems like a surmountable hurdle. The deficit in retirement savings required also highlights the impact of having to save for retirement as efficiently as possible.
Just as important, you’ll also want to avoid making costly investment mistakes. One that comes to mind is erroneously viewing your vehicle as a sound investment. Another pitfall is picking individual stocks in lieu of index funds or ETFs. To set yourself up for success, minimizing fees and diversifying your investments is the name of the game.
Does all of this mean that the 4% rule is futile and should be completely ignored? Absolutely not. The authors of the Trinity Study ran simulations to find what the safe withdrawal rate would be for varying time horizons. But at the end of the day, they were just that: simulations. Even if you only had an expected 15 year retirement and used a conservative withdrawal rate, there is always the chance that your portfolio could fail. The same is true in the opposite direction: there’s always the chance that a 4% withdrawal could be sufficient for a 50 year retirement.
The question you have to answer is whether you are comfortable taking that risk. I know I’m not.
There are many financial gurus out there that tell you how much to save for retirement, but how did they come up with that number? Honestly they are all just using each others guesses, but as financial advisors we need to do better. While others guess that you should save 10, 12,15% for retirement we can actually figure out how much you should save…to the penny! The first thing we want to know is how much income are you looking for in retirement? Typically we say that you should aim to have 75% of your current income replaced for retirement. The reason is that social security and other savings may make up the difference. Today we will calculate how much a 30 year old couple should save for retirement given that they each have income of $50,ooo per year. We will adjust this to account for inflation and make some assumptions about their retirement age and life expectancy. After calculating this along with expected returns we can see that they need to save 11.9% of their income yearly to have 75% of their income in retirement. We love doing this for our clients and if you are considering a place for your retirement investments then we hope you will consider jazzWealth.com We’re an investing service that also helps you keep your dough straight. We’ll manage your retirement investments and, using NestEgg we can help you with every penny! —Ready to subscribe— https://www.youtube.com/jazzwealth?su… For more information visit: www.JazzWealth.com — Instagram @jazzWealth — Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JazzWealth/ — Twitter @jazzWealth Investment related questions 📧 Dustin@JazzWealth.com Business Affairs 📧Carolyn@JazzWealth.com
Sources differ, but the story remains the same. According to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual, 21% of Americans have no retirement savings and an additional 10% have less than $5,000 in savings. A third of Baby Boomers currently in, or approaching, retirement age have between nothing and $25,000 set aside.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) paints an even bleaker picture. Their data from 2013 reports that “nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all.” For most age groups, the group found, “median account balances in 2013 were less than half their pre-recession peak and lower than at the start of the new millennium.”
The EPI further found these numbers even worse for millennials. Nearly six in 10 have no retirement savings whatsoever.
But financial experts advise that the average 65 year old have between $1 million and $1.5 million set aside for retirement.
What Is the Average Retirement Account?
For workers who have some savings, the amounts differ (appropriately) by generation. The older you are, the more you will have set aside. However there are two ways to present this data, and we’ll use both.
Workers With Savings
Following are the mean and median retirement accounts for people who have one. That is to say, this data only shows what a representative account looks like without factoring in figures for accounts that don’t exist. This data comes per the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. (Numbers rounded to the nearest hundred.)
• Under age 35:
Average retirement account: $32,500
Median retirement account: $12,300
• Age 35 – 44:
Average retirement account: $100,000
Median retirement account: $37,000
• Age 45 – 55:
Average retirement account: $215,800
Median retirement account: $82,600
• Age 55 – 64:
Average retirement account: $374,000
Median retirement account: $120,000
• Age 65 – 74:
Average retirement account: $358,000
Median retirement account: $126,000
For households older than 65 years, retirement accounts begin to decline as these individuals leave the workforce and begin spending their savings.
Including Workers Without Savings
When accounting for people who have no retirement savings the picture looks considerably worse. Following are the median retirement accounts when including the figures for people with no retirement savings. The following do not include mean retirement accounts, as this would be statistically less informative than median data.
• Age 32 – 37: $480
• Age 38 – 43: $4,200
• Age 44 – 49: $6,200
• Age 50 – 55: $8,000
• Age 56 – 61: $17,000
How Much Should You Have Saved For Retirement?
So that’s how much people have saved for retirement, or more often don’t. Now for the more useful question: How much should you have saved for retirement?
The truth is that there’s no hard and fast rule. It varies widely by your age, standard of living and (perhaps most importantly) location. Someone who rents an apartment in San Francisco needs a whole heck of a lot more set aside than a homeowner in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The rule of thumb is to estimate by income. Decide the income you want to live on once you retire, then picture your life as a series of benchmarks set by age. At each age you want a multiple of this retirement income saved up. Your goal is to have 10 to 11 times your desired income in savings by retirement.
• By age 30: between half and the desired income in savings
• By age 35: between the desired amount and double the desired income in savings
• By age 40: between double and triple the desired income in savings
• By age 45: between triple and quadruple the desired income in savings
• By age 50: between five times and six times desired income in savings
• By age 55: between six times and seven times desired income in savings
• By age 60: between seven times and nine times desired income in savings
• By age 65: between eight times and 11 times desired income in savings
So, if you earn $50,000 per year, by age 40 you will want to have between $100,000 and $150,000 in retirement savings set aside. The formula grows later in life for two reasons. First, as your savings accumulate they will grow faster. Second, as you approach retirement it is often wise to accelerate your savings plan.
What You Should Do Next for Your Retirement Savings
Retirement is approaching a crisis. In the coming decades millions of Americans will get too old to continue working without the means to stop. Millennials, crippled by debt from graduation, will turn this crisis into a catastrophe in about 40 years. And Social Security, designed to prevent exactly this problem, covers less than half of an average retiree’s costs of living.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to discuss exactly how this happened, but if you’re one of the many people who have fallen behind on retirement savings, don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do. But… it might not necessarily be easy.
The key is to think about retirement savings like a debt. This is money you owe to yourself and it charges reverse interest. Every day you go without adding money to your retirement account is a day you lose investment income. That’s money that you’ll need someday and won’t have.
Next, take stock of where you are. How much will you want to live on in retirement and how much do you have saved today? Use our chart above. That will tell you how far behind you are compared to where you need to be. Are you a 40 year old with $25,000 in savings who will want to live on $50,000 per year in retirement? Then you’ve got $75,000 you need to make up for.
Now, begin catching up. Chip away at that debt every week and every month. Pay into your 401k and IRA the same way you would whittle down a credit card. By thinking about it this way, as a specific goal, you can take away some of the fear of saving for retirement and turn it into an achievable (if large) amount. It’s not just some big, black hole you can never fill. It’s a number, and numbers can go down.
It won’t necessarily be fun. You might have to cut back on luxuries or take on some extra work, but even if you start late in life you can catch up on your retirement.
Want to be happy in retirement? Then cultivate relationships and spend more money on leisure activities—at least that’s what new academic research (as well as common sense) suggests.
To help you with the leisure part, Forbes presents its 2019 list of 25 great places to pursue seven retirement passions: arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor activities on water, outdoor activities on land and (in its own category) golf.
Most are recommended for multiple passions and two—Seattle and Austin, Texas—excel in all seven categories. Our picks are spread across 21 states in all four continental time zones.
While our flagship Best Places To Retire list highlights locations that offer the best retirement value for the buck, our passions list doesn’t disqualify places simply because they’ve got high costs or taxes. Athens, Georgia, our most affordable passions pick, has a median home price of just $178,000, while San Francisco, our most expensive, has a median home price of $1.36 million. Although high costs (or high taxes) won’t keep a city from making this new list, we do take into account such practical quality of life factors as air quality, crime, doctor availability and how walkable and bikeable a city is. You can read more about our selection method here.
Fine dining 🍴
Lifelong learning 🎓
Outdoor activities on water ⛵
Outdoor activities on land 🍁
PASSIONS: ❤️ ⛵
Great for volunteering and outdoor water activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $428,000
Water on three sides, good air quality and a moderate climate make this charming historic Chesapeake Bay city an ideal spot for those who love boating, fishing or a waterfront view. For the newbie, the city offers lots of recreational boating schools and chartering opportunities. There’s a high rate of local volunteerism and the downtown area, which doubles as Maryland’s state capital (and was the U.S. capital for a year starting in 1783) is very walkable. Doctors per capita are at the national average. Elevation is 40 feet. On the downside, cost of living is 41% above the national average and the crime rate is above the national average. Taxes are on the high side, too; while Social Security benefits are exempt from tax, the top state/local income tax rate is 8.31% and the state has both an estate and inheritance tax.
PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁
Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $462,000
Located 285 miles south of Portland, this cultural outpost offers art galleries and the nine-month a year Oregon Shakespeare Festival, all set amid scenic mountains and forests. Southern Oregon University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and allows free auditing of regular college classes. The highly walkable downtown (elevation: 1,950 feet) is set in a moderate climate with little snow, good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita. Nature trails are just outside town. But the cost of living is 40% above the national average and Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% at just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax.
PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁
Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $178,000
This affordable college town, just 70 miles east of Atlanta, has a vibrant arts scene. The University of Georgia hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, plus offers seniors free admission to regular classes. Mild terrain and climate (the nation’s first garden club was founded here in 1891) and good air quality are all conducive to warm-weather outdoor activities at an elevation of 600 feet. The ratio of doctors per capita is sufficient. Cost of living is 7% below the national average and the serious crime rate is low. Georgia doesn’t tax estates or Social Security benefits and offers a generous additional break for other retirement income. Top state income rate is 5.75%. One notable downside: Not very walkable.
Passions: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $369,000
Sunny capital of Texas offers scores of dining and entertainment venues (including the annual SXSW festival), plus learning opportunities at the University of Texas, all surrounded by dozens of golf courses. The city boasts a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. The impressive state capitol building is higher than the one in Washington, D.C. At an elevation of 300 feet, the city is very bikeable and somewhat walkable. While there is no state income or estate/inheritance taxe, the cost of living is 30% above the national average and the serious crime rate is slightly above the national average.
PASSIONS: ⛵ 🍁
Great for outdoor water and land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $440,000
Lots of snow guarantees vibrant downhill and cross-country skiing in this scenic “Outdoor Playground of the West” 160 miles southeast of Portland. Other outdoor pursuits at an elevation of 3,600 feet around the north-flowing Deschutes River include fishing, tubing, hiking, rock climbing, bicycling and paragliding. Besides good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita, the area boasts a strong economy. But Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that reaches 9% on just $50,000 of taxable income (which excludes Social Security). There’s also a state estate tax. The town itself is not very walkable. Cost of living is 34% above the national average.
PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ 🍁
Great for lifelong learning, outdoor land activities and volunteering
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $299,000
The surprisingly mild climate in Idaho’s capital city, nicknamed “City of Trees,” is conducive to outdoor land activities, while Boise State University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and offers free auditing of regular classes for seniors. Other pluses include a high level of volunteerism, a high number of physicians per capita, a low serious crime rate, good air quality and a good economy. With an elevation of 2,700 feet, the city is very bikeable, though not as walkable. Cost of living is only 7% above the national average. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, nor a state estate/inheritance tax. Idaho’s income tax rate for married couples is 6.925% on taxable income above $23,000.
PASSIONS:🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $604,000
This buzzy historic coastal state capital city of 685,000 offers a wealth of cultural. and educational activities. Not too surprising, considering there are more than 50 area colleges. Boston has good air quality, abundant doctors per capita, and a good economy. At an elevation of 140 feet, the city, named for an English town, is both highly walkable and bikeable. The top state income tax rate is only 5% and there’s no state income tax on Social Security earnings. On the negative side, there’s a state estate tax and a higher than average serious crime rate. But the big downside is the cost of living: 82% above the national average.
PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 ❤️ 🍁
Great for arts, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $742,000
This city, 30 miles northwest of Denver, is at the center of a huge recreational open space abutting the Rockies at 5,400 feet of elevation, which can be enjoyed in 10 months of annual sunshine. It’s also the home the University of Colorado, which allows seniors to audit courses for free. Boulder is a walkable and bikeable city with a low serious crime rate, good air quality, abundant doctors and a strong economy. Volunteering is a way of life here. While there is no state estate/inheritance tax, the state income tax (a flat 4.63%) does hit Social Security benefits. One big downside is the cost of living: 87% above the national average.
Passions: ❤️🍁 ⛳
Great for volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $317,000
This Phoenix suburb, named for Arizona’s first veterinary surgeon, offers myriad outdoor activities, including 185 golf courses in the region. There’s a low serious crime rate, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. With an elevation of 1,200 feet, the city is very bikeable, although not all that walkable. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings and no state estate/inheritance. The sate income tax rate tops out at just 4.54% on a married couple’s taxable income above $317,900. On the downside, the number of doctors per capita is below the national average and the air quality is poor. Cost of living is 23% above the national average.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 🍁
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $376,000
The home of the University of North Carolina, which offers free auditing of classes for senior citizens, this college town has been called America’s “foodiest small town” for its range of culinary options. It also has a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a low serious crime rate, a strong economy—and quirky blue fire trucks. There’s no North Carolina income tax on Social Security benefits and no state estate/inheritance tax. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499%. At an elevation of 500 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 30% above national average.
Charleston, South Carolina
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $322,000
This historic coastal city brims with activities, both indoors and out. (The first game of golf in the U.S. took place here.) Pluses include a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a good economy. There’s no state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security benefits and there are additional tax breaks on pension income. But the state income tax rate tops out at an above average 7% on taxable income of just $14,860. At an elevation of 20 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 22% above national average.
PASSIONS: 🍴 ❤️ ⛳
Great for fine dining, volunteering and golf
POPULATION: 1.34 million
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $217,000
Scores of public golf courses plus fine dining (far beyond the nation’s first drive-in restaurant, which opened here in 1921) and what is said to be the nation’s largest arts district distinguish the Big D. At an elevation of 430 feet, the city is somewhat walkable and bikeable and has an adequate number of physicians per capita and support for volunteering. Atop of a strong economy, there is no state taxation of income, estates or inheritances. Cost of living is only 8% higher than the national average. On the downside, the serious crime rate is above the national average and the air quality is poor.
Great for lifelong learning
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $219,000
The University of Arkansas offers free tuition to senior citizens at its flagship campus in this Ozarks city 200 miles northwest of Little Rock. Besides a cost of living 1% below the national average, other pluses include good air quality, adequate number of physicians per capita and a good economy. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, the city (originally named Washington) is somewhat bikeable, although not that walkable. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and there’s no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there’s a small additional break for pension income. But the state income tax reaches 6.9% on a married-couple’s income above $35,099. The serious crime rate is above national average.
Las Vegas, Nevada
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water and land activities and golf
POPULATION: 2 million (Las Vegas Valley)
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $277,000
World-class entertainment centered around the hotels and casinos, famous chefs, and nearby water and land activities, including golf, grace this exploding desert valley. (In 1900, the population was just 18.) While summers are hot and dry, the other nine months are quite pleasant, and sun is year-round. At an elevation of 2,000 feet, the area is somewhat walkable and bikeable. A good economy is bolstered by no state income or estate/inheritance tax. Downsides include poor air quality, low ratio of physicians per capita and a high serious crime rate. Cost of living is 18% above the national average.
Los Angeles, California
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water and land activities and golf
POPULATION: 4 million
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $686,000
The City of Angels has multiple colleges and universities offering reduced-price programs for senior citizens, world-class restaurants, numerous performance venues, a wide range of outdoor activities and many golf courses. Pluses include 28 days a year of sun, sufficient physicians per capita and a strong economy. Despites its reputation as car dependent and congested, the city, with an elevation of 300 feet, is both very walkable and bikeable (despites safety concerns for bikers). There is no state tax on Social Security benefits, estates or inheritances. But the state income tax hits a hefty 9.3% on taxable income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. Among the drawbacks: poor air quality (although better than it used to be) and a serious crime rate above national average. Cost of living is 95% above national average.
New York, New York
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water activities and golf
POPULATION: 8.6 million
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $682,000
Dozens of colleges, fabulous arts and dining, and even golf courses accessible via subway can be found in the country’s largest city. Pluses include a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. With an elevation of 30 feet, the Big Apple is very walkable and bikeable, despite concerns about bicyclist safety. There is no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there are additional state tax breaks on pension income. But there is a state estate tax, the combined state and city income tax rate can reach a whopping 12.696% and the cost of living is 109% above national average.
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Great for golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $281,000
Some 40 golf courses, led by famous century-old Pinehurst Resort, plus golf schools surround this scenic village 90 miles east of Charlotte. Pluses include an extremely low serious crime rate, above-average rate of doctors per capita and good air quality. At an elevation of 600 feet, the town, originally named Tuftstown, is somewhat walkable and bikeable. There are no state taxes on Social Security earnings, estates or inheritances. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499% and the cost of living is 11% above the national average.
PASSIONS: 🍴 ⛵ 🍁
Great for fine dining and outdoor water and land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $314,000
This coastal city offers a wide variety of water and land recreation, including boating, kayaking, rafting, cross-country skiing, hiking and bicycling. There’s a good restaurant scene, a low serious crime rate, a high ratio of doctors per capita and good air quality. The city—named after an island in the English Channel—has an elevation of 60 feet and is very walkable and bikeable. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, but there is a state estate tax. The state income tax rate reaches 7.15% at taxable income above $103,400 for a couple. The
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $426,000
City affords wide range of pursuits, including free senior citizen auditing of classes at Portland State University. Pluses include a high ratio of physicians per capita, good air quality, a high rate of volunteering and a good economy. At an elevation of 50 feet the city—named after Portland, Maine—is highly walkable and bikeable. The state makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% on just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax. Cost of living is 48% above the national average.
Salt Lake City, Utah
PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁
Great for lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $402,000
Mountains, lakes and rivers create a choice of outdoor activities, including skiing, bird watching and fishing around this state capital city. Indoors, the University of Utah offers courses a wide range of courses for seniors in concert with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The city has a high rate of volunteering, a high rank on the Milken Institute list of best cities for successful aging and a strong economy. At an elevation of 4,300 feet, it is very walkable and bikeable. There is no state estate tax, but the state income, levied at a flat 4.95% rate, hits Social Security benefits. The cost of living is 27% above the national average.
San Francisco, California
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor water activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $1.36 million
Surrounded by water, this scenic city is a mecca of culture and food, with 57 Michelin starred restaurants (compared to 76 in 10 times more populous New York). Opportunities for senior learning are offered at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State and at other venues. There’s a high ratio of doctors per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. Despite the famed hills, the city, with an elevation of 50 feet, is very walkable and bikeable, with both trails and protected bike lanes. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and no income tax on Social Security benefits, but the state income tax rate is a hefty 9.3% on income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. The serious crime rate is above the national average, but the biggest downside is the cost of living: a stunning 205% above the national average.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🍁
Great for arts, fine dining and outdoor land activities
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $397,000
Scores of art galleries, fine restaurants and museums, plus world-class skiing, distinguish this scenic state capital mountain town (elevation 7,200 feet), 60 miles north of Albuquerque. Somewhat walkable and bikeable, the city has a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a low serious crime rate. There is no state estate tax, but the state income tax does hit Social Security benefits. The state income tax rate is 4.9% on taxable income of married couples above $24,000. The cost of living is 21% above national average.
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $261,000
Nearby beaches, fishing, boating, a big arts/cultural scene and 30 golf courses dominate this Gulf Coast city 60 miles south of Tampa. With an elevation of 16 feet, the area is very walkable and bikeable, with good air quality, a strong economy and an adequate number of physicians per capita. The cost of living is only 9% above national average. There is no state income or estate tax. One downside: a serious crime rate above the national average.
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $730,000
Still-booming Puget Sound city offers all the passions, including an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington. At an elevation up to 500 feet, the city is extremely walkable, bikeable and even boatable, with good mass transit. Other pluses include good air quality, a high ratio of doctors per capita, a very strong economy, and a good volunteering culture. There is no state income, estate or inheritance tax. But the cost of living is a whopping 104% above the national average and the serious crime rate is also higher than average.
Traverse City, Michigan
PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳
Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf.
MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $255,000
Frontage on Lake Michigan, the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, 50 area golf courses and a reputation as a top foodie town all make his city, 250 miles northwest of Detroit, a top passions choice. There’s good air quality, above-average doctors per capita and a decent economy. At an elevation of 600 feet the city—center of the nation’s largest area for growing tart cherries—is very walkable and bikeable. Cost of living is only 2% above national average. There’s no state estate or inheritance tax and no tax on Social Security benefits, plus additional breaks for pension income. The state income tax rate is a flat 4.25%. One downside: The serious crime rate is above the national average.
A journalist for nearly five decades, I’ve written for Forbes since 1987. I’ve covered personal finance, taxes, retirement, nonprofits, scandals and other topics that interest me. I also am the author of a novel, OFFSIDE: A Mystery. Email me at: email@example.com .
The World’s Retirement Havens – Top 10 Best Places To Retire In The World For 2018. ============= ► Subscribe for latest video ! ► https://goo.gl/lOasu9 ► Follow me on Twitter: https://goo.gl/srKHao ► Facebook: https://goo.gl/yB9XvG ============= Today, retiring abroad is about launching a new life in a new country, starting over someplace sunny and exotic with white-sand beaches or Old World culture. But there is no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. And with a seemingly endless amount of choices, how will you ever find the right one for you. International Living’s most recent Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 compares 24 countries that give you the maximum return for your money and promise to deliver a better quality of life. Overall, the Index is based on ratings in 12 categories: buying and investing, renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, development, climate, and governance. Here are the 10 retirement destinations in the world for 2018: 1. Costa Rica – The World’s Best Retirement Haven 2. Mexico – Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living 3. Panama – Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits 4. Ecuador – Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan 5. Malaysia – Easy, English-Speaking, and First World. 6. Colombia – Sophisticated and Affordable 7. Portugal – Europe’s Best Retirement Haven 8. Nicaragua – Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America 9. Spain – Romance, History, and Charming Villages 10. Peru – Low Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse. Thanks for watching this video. I hope it’s useful for you. (This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment) ============= If you have any issue with the content used in my channel or you find something that belongs to you, please contact: ►Business email: firstname.lastname@example.org Music by: Nicolai Heidlas (https://soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas) Title: 50 New Cities
You can’t take your assets with you. Get it? Everyone should have a will – and you don’t need to be famous or wealthy to need one.
Give me 60 seconds and I’ll tell you why.
Granted people often are uncomfortable talking about their mortality. And rockstars Amy Winehouse and Kirk Cobain, who both died at 27, probably presumed they were way too young to even need one. But they had millions at their death.
Not Just for the Rich and Famous
Regardless of your age, net worth or level of fame, you are doing your heirs a HUGE favor by taking care of everything now, says Robert Westley, CPA/PFS member of the American Institute of CPAs Personal Financial Specialist, PFS, Credential Committee.”
(Unless, of course, you enjoy watching your heirs fight over your stuff rather than resting in peace.)
So start making a list of everything you have — include investment accounts, artwork, even those vintage cars in the garage.
And if you have young kids, don’t forget to pick their guardians. You don’t want your chronically unemployed brother to end up with them.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You just need a few key documents and you most likely can get what you need from sites like Quicken WillMaker or LegalZoom.
If you have substantial wealth, then you probably are going to need an estate plan, maybe even a trust, and an attorney to help carry out your wishes.
Beneficiaries Override Your Will
Big note here: A bunch of your assets are not even controlled by your will. Anything with a beneficiary designation – like your 401(k), IRA or insurance policies – is dictated by those designations, says Westley.
They override your will. So if in your will you state that you want your kids to inherit your IRA but your ex-spouse’s name is still listed as the beneficiary because you forgot to update it, guess who’s coming in on a windfall?
So check all that now.
And drop the excuses. This is not just for old rich people. We all know that you can get hit by a bus while you are walking on the street or even reading this.
And finally this is not a one-and-done, says Westley.
“Many individuals assume that once they’ve completed their estate plan and will there is no need to revisit it. The reality is, estate documents are static, while an individual’s life is dynamic and ever-changing,” he says.
People die, get divorced, buy new stuff, sell old stuff. So your will needs to be revisited, often.
So get on it, and for more tips, follow me @tracybyrnes.
For many investors, a long bull market like the one we’re in is leading to some frayed nerves.
When will there be a downturn? The “when” question is especially relevant to investors nearing or at retirement age. While it’s true that returns have historically evened out — for the 93-year period between 1926 to 2018, large cap stocks have gained a 10% compounded rate of return — what happens if your retirement happens to occur during a year the market suffers a loss over 20%?
After all, if this sort of downturn occurs in your twenties or thirties, it’s a setback, but time and earnings potential are on your side, explains Roger G. Ibbotson, Chairman and CIO at Zebra Capital Management and professor in the practice emeritus of finance at the Yale School of Management. If the same downturn occurs during retirement, would your portfolio be able to weather the downturn?
Implementing safeguards against this possibility can protect your portfolio from sequence of returns risk — the potential that years of bad returns early in your retirement could deplete your retirement savings for the future. Ibbotson advises that conservative withdrawals in early retirement, several streams of cash flow and a diverse portfolio including bonds and annuities can all be tools to help ensure your retirement savings won’t freefall even if the market does.
Scroll down for a guide to sequence of returns risk and how to protect your portfolio from a potential market downturn.
Consider De-risking Before Retirement, Even In A Bull Market
While some camps stay true to a buy-and-hold strategy, Ibbotson recommends de-risking your portfolio as you approach retirement, regardless of how the market is performing. According to Ibbotson, “twenty-percent proofing” your portfolio — or safeguarding your portfolio from historic losses in early retirement — can help ensure your retirement savings are able to survive a substantial market dip.
“When you’re young, you’re in what’s called an accumulation phase,” explains Ibbotson. You have high human capital (the value of future earnings, like income) but low financial capital (investments in stocks and bonds). Early on in your career, when you’re primarily dependent on human capital, you can afford to take more risk with your financial capital. But as you evolve toward the “pre-retirement phase,” when you might not be earning a steady income and are more reliant on the financial capital you’ve grown over time, it may be a good idea to de-risk your portfolio.
Rethink A Standard Annual Withdrawal
While a retirement plan based on a standard yearly withdrawal rate can give you a good ballpark of your returns and cash-flow expectations, this model doesn’t account for large market fluctuations at a key moment: early in retirement, when you begin taking withdrawals. Even if the market eventually evened out to an average that’s not far from your expected return, being dependent on those withdrawals through a bear market could hurt your savings for decades to come because so much of your portfolio would have been depleted by market losses in early retirement.
Of course, you may be required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), and you may also depend on retirement withdrawals to fund your expenses. But following the popular 4% rule of thumb — plan on withdrawing 4% of your retirement savings each year — in early retirement could leave your money vulnerable during a bear market, Ibbotson argues. “Since you can’t predict when a downswing will occur, it’s best to be conservative during early retirement, when you don’t have the luxury of time and human capital potential to make up the difference,” he says.
Consider Alternate Retirement Income Streams To Ride Out A Market Downturn
In addition to de-risking your portfolio, it may be smart to consider alternate income streams that won’t make you overly dependent on portfolio withdrawals in early retirement, says Ibbotson. “There’s a longevity risk to consider as well, which means that you may need money to last for thirty plus years,” he says.
Some ways to mitigate longevity risk — and put yourself in a stronger position to ride out a potential bear market — include working into retirement to provide a source of cash flow (which may also eliminate the need to take out RMDs on your 401(k)), making sure you’re maximizing Social Security benefits or downshifting and earmarking that money as funds for your early retirement, giving your nest egg more time to grow. Depending on your circumstances, a HELOC or second mortgage taken in early retirement can also help safeguard your retirement savings, says Ibbotson. Even lowering your withdrawal rate slightly in the first years of retirement can protect your savings from a market downturn during those early years.
Consider “Laddering” Bonds And Annuities
While bonds may have lower rates of return than stocks, their low risk and guaranteed principal return can be one way to de-risk your portfolio. One strategy to consider is called a bond ladder, says Ibbotson. This is a set of bonds purchased specifically to mature in different years, so instead of investing in a single $100,000 bond, you might invest in ten $10,000 bonds. One might mature in one year, another in three, another in five and so on, diversifying cash flow and protecting against market dips.
The same is true for annuities. Annuities can be purchased over a period of years and purchased from an array of insurance companies, which can minimize the risks of market fluctuations or the underperformance of one insurer. Annuities can be purchased as a fixed, variable or hybrid product, with aspects of both fixed and variable annuities. One popular example of a hybrid annuity product is a fixed-indexed annuity (FIA). Fixed annuities guarantee both an interest rate — around 2.5 to 3.5% as of publication date — as well as the principal. Variable annuities are typically riskier, as neither the interest nor the principal is guaranteed. Meanwhile, a product such as an FIA guarantees a stated return on the investment along with an investment return based on market performance. As the annuity reaches the annuitization stage, this money can then be used as income.
Keep Plans Flexible
Strategy exists so you can change course if necessary. Having several options for how to weather a stock market slump can help ensure you won’t run out of savings. As with any retirement planning options, speaking with a financial advisor can help you navigate the best course of action for you, your money and your retirement goals.
This content was brought to you by Impact PartnersVoice. Certain opinions expressed herein are those of Professor Roger Ibbotson and/or others acting in an academic and/or research-related capacity and not as a representative or on behalf of Zebra Capital Management, LLC (“Zebra Capital”). Roger Ibbotson is Professor in the Practice Emeritus of Finance at the Yale School of Management and the Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Zebra Capital.
Annuities have limitations. They are long-term vehicles designed for retirement purposes. They are not intended to replace emergency funds, be used as income for day-to-day expenses or fund short-term savings goals. All guarantees and protections are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurer. You should read the contract for complete details.
This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or roll over any asset, adopt a financial strategy or purchase an annuity policy. It does not take into account the specific objectives, tax and financial conditions or particular needs of any specific person. You should work with a financial professional to discuss your specific situation.
The content herein includes the results of academic research conducted by Professor Ibbotson and others outside of the services provided by Zebra Capital and which may have been funded, in whole or in part, by parties unaffiliated with Zebra Capital. The results of that research should not be considered as having any relevant or material financial bearing on the services provided by Zebra Capital.
Zebra Capital is entitled to receive certain compensation in consideration for, among other things, the granting of certain license rights and/or sub-licensing rights of certain of its intellectual and other property rights to one or more third parties for the creation, sponsorship, compilation, maintenance and calculation, among other things, of one or more indices to which certain fixed indexed annuities make reference.
Work longer or reduce your standard of living – or do some combination of the two. These are the hard choices facing most working boomers as they transition out of the workforce and into retirement. The fact is, most boomer workers haven’t accumulated sufficient savings to retire full-time at age 65 and meet the goals that financial advisors commonly express for retirement income, according to a recent report from the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL). This report analyzes boomers’ assets, debts, and the amounts they’re saving for retirement. Let’s take a look.
“Be kind to retired people; and treat them with respect. They were once vibrant just like you if not more vibrant. And if God blesses you with long life, one day you will be where they are today.” (Romilia Quotes)