Eeny, meeny, miny, moe might have been a wonderful tool for making choices as a kid, but it is not a great way to select your retirement funding strategies.
For those of you who have followed our blog for a while, you know that all financial advice and decisions should be based upon your individual needs and goals. Selecting your retirement strategies based upon what your neighbors, friends or family believes is best could lead to disastrous consequences.
So, how would you decide what to do and how much to do with…[continued below video]
Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values. During this segment, Dick and Eric are referring to Fixed Annuities unless otherwise specified.
[continued]…stocks, bonds and annuities?
First, rule of retirement planning is “know thyself” – how much income do you need to meet your core living expenses and how much do you “want” to fund luxuries? Covering your foundational income need with **guaranteed sources of income allows many individuals to enjoy a more stress-free retirement. Guaranteed sources of income include Social Security, pensions, and annuities.
If your foundational income need is met with , sources taking on additional risk to hopefully generate greater growth for luxury items or travel may be merited. Equity exposure could help accelerate growth, however, please be aware that the risk is typically commensurate with the potential for gain or said another way – more risk potential equals more gain potential!
What about the rule of 100 (see article below) where you use a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds that grow more conservative as you get older? Why wouldn’t that be superior to an annuity allocation? Research has shown that if you can withdraw three to four percent annually from your portfolio, you should be able to have enough money to last throughout retirement. So, here is the question – is “shouldn’t” run out of money good enough? Most retirees value **guarantees that is why they typically prefer pensions to 401ks; unfortunately, many of today’s retirees no longer have a choice. Retirees have to carefully allocate their lifetime of savings into proper strategies to insure that they will never out-live their money.
For years, a commonly cited rule of thumb has helped simplify asset allocation. It states that individuals should hold a percentage of stocks equal to 100 minus their age. So, for a typical 60-year-old, 40% of the portfolio should be equities. The rest would be comprised of high-grade bonds, government debt and other relatively safe assets.
Two Reasons to Change the Rules
Pretty straightforward, right? Not necessarily. While an easy-to-remember guideline can help take some of the complexity out of retirement planning, it may be time to revisit this particular one. Over the past few decades, a lot has changed for the American investor. For one, the life expectancy here, as in many developed countries, has steadily risen. Compared to just 20 years ago, Americans live three years longer. Not only do we have to increase our nest eggs, we also have more time to grow our money and recover from a dip.
At the same time, U.S. Treasury bonds are paying a fraction of what they once did. Today, a 10-year T-bill yields roughly 2.5% annually. In the early 1980s, investors could count on interest rates upwards of 10%.
For many investment pros, such realties mean that the old “100 minus your age” axiom puts investors in jeopardy of running low on funds during their later years. Some have modified the rule to 110 minus your age – or even 120 minus your age, for those with a higher tolerance for risk.
Not surprisingly, many fund companies follow these revised guidelines – or even more aggressive ones – when putting together their own target-date funds. For example, funds with a target date of 2030 are geared to investors who are currently around 49. But instead of allocating 50% of its assets to equities, the Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 Fund has roughly 76%. The T. Rowe Price Retirement 2030 Fund builds in even more risk, with almost 80% in equities.
It’s important to keep in mind that guidelines like this are just a starting point for making decisions. A variety of factors may shape investment strategy, including age at retirement and assets needed to sustain one’s lifestyle. Since women live nearly five years longer than men on average, they have higher costs in retirement than men and an incentive to be slightly more aggressive with their nest egg.
The Bottom Line
Basing one’s stock allocation on age can be a useful tool for retirement planning by encouraging investors to slowly reduce risk over time. However, at a time when adults are living longer and getting fewer rewards from “safe” investments, it might be time to adjust the “100 minus your age” guideline and take more risk with retirement funds.
Using OutCome Based Planning™ for Your Retirement
"The Annuity Guys will never call you unless you request our assistance". When you are ready for specialized help we will be available to assist you.. We practice and recommend a "Holistic - OutCome Based Planning™ process when considering annuities." This approach has the effect of balancing your overall portfolio with annuities so you can meet your retirement objectives by "first identifying the least amount of your investments or savings that should be considered for annuities." OutCome Based Planning™ analyzes and models multiple outcomes so you can clearly identify your best income and growth opportunities.
"Working with an Experienced Fiduciary Financial Planner can help you Avoid a Trial & Error or Risk Based Retirement"
If you have done a little internet research, you are probably aware that you can choose from hundreds of annuity advisors/salespeople who will try to convincingly promise you that they have the best annuities and advanced strategies for all of your money. Indeed, there are many advisors who claim to have "that one best solution, best annuity or best strategy; this, however, is not the way we approach or recommend that you do retirement and income planning" since we believe that there are many good solutions for you to consider. Our recommended process is directed towards looking at several plausible financial strategies with different successful outcomes based on your financial situation. This process helps you to compare and select one of the best solutions "that you are most comfortable with.
This type of approach does take considerably more time, effort and analysis which will show you mathematically the successful possibilities by comparing various outcomes rather than trying to sell or convince you of that "so-called one best solution." Clients frequently tell us that this process removes some of the confusion and emotion to help them objectively identify a better retirement plan; rather than just ending up with the most convincing salesperson or advisor.
When requesting help you can be assured of working with an experienced Annuity Guys' Retirement Planner who is an independent, licensed insurance agent and (also a securities licensed fiduciary financial planner) who has access to many different companies and annuities in helping you choose the best annuities using a holistic-outcome based planning approach. We consider the high quality advisor recommendations we make to our website visitors as a direct reflection back on us.