How do you fully enjoy retirement? (Here’s a hint: it takes money.)
If you’ve already retired, or you are about to retire, what do you anticipate your standard of living will be?
Most of us want to retire to a familiar, or even improved, financial life.
What follows are three tips that could help make that goal a reality.
1. Slash Your Investment Risk
If you’ve already retired, and you’re still tied to a high-risk investment portfolio, that needs to change. Talk to your advisor about whether you might be risking your long-term future in a way that doesn’t make sense for someone who has left the workforce behind.
But if you have yet to retire, and are still trying to make up for losses incurred during the Great Recession, one of the worst things you can do is ratchet UP the “risk exposure” of your investments in the hope of hitting a ‘walk off home run’ before you stop working.
If you’re not financially ready to retire, you’re going to want to work with an advisor to create a plan that may include saving more, working longer and spending less.
That may sound dreadful, but imagine if your portfolio is built on high risk/high reward investments, and there’s a long-overdue stock market correction?
You might never be able to stop working.
By contrast, I recently met with a new client who had prepared well and amassed several million dollars for her future.
Given a referral by a coworker, she had briefly worked with an investment “consultant” from a large bank. This consultant had placed her in high-commission investments loaded with a level of risk that was much more potentially volatile than she’d been led to believe. We used a series of assessment tools to show her the level of risk her portfolio contained, and then illustrated the ways she could reduce risk while still achieving her goals.
2. Don’t Let Your Mortgage Payment Drown You
Do you have a mortgage? How many years are left? What’s your monthly payment?
If you’re getting close to retirement, and you still have a mortgage, do everything you can to pay it off before you retire. Owning your home not only means a lot less money going out every month, it means a lot less worry should things get tight.
Conversely, if you are unable to pay off your mortgage before you retire, or, if you’re already retired—even if you have as little as 5-7 years remaining on the note—you might consider working with your lender to lower your interest rate and extend your loan out 15, 20, or even 30 years.
When it comes to retirement, not only is cash-flow king, but why spend what are likely to be the healthiest years (of your retirement) struggling to pay down a mortgage at the expense of maintaining your pre-retirement standard of living?
Remember, money not going out is the same as money coming in.
3. Soothe the Inflation Irritation
If you’ve saved well, you might be tempted to place all of your money in CDs (or savings accounts), with the expectation that it will safely float you through retirement.
But after years of stagnation, rising inflation is once again a concern. Simply, even with the Fed’s tiny December interest rate increase, investing entirely in CDs means you’re likely experiencing at least a 2-3 percent PER YEAR inflationary erosion of your purchasing power.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you are losing money.
Let’s look at it this way: On $1 million in savings, 3 percent inflation is like losing $30,000 a year to evaporation. Maintaining your standard of living in retirement means balance. You’ll want to have a balanced portfolio that is designed to help you maintain your spending power so you aren’t losing ground.
Probably the single most common desire expressed to me by clients is the desire that they maintain their standard of living.
Understandably, no one wants to have to tighten their belt once they stop working.
Most financial goals that are worth pursuing take planning and vigilance to achieve. Living the retirement of your dreams is no exception. I simply and clearly explain the ins and outs of the entire retirement transition and management process in my new book, Personal Decision Points: 7 Steps to Your Ideal Retirement Transition.
If you haven’t gotten one, order your discounted copy, today.