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Retirement in bad times

With retirement nest eggs hard hit by volatile markets, Baby Boomers approaching retirement age and those already retired may need to rethink their futures.
It’s no surprise that many older Americans approaching retirement may have to extend their careers. And many retirees may have to lower their spending, so as not to eat too much into their shrinking retirement accounts.
These days, many Boomers have some exposure to the stock market through individual stocks or mutual funds.
According to Bell Investment Advisors’ third annual Affluent Boomer Survey of 500 individuals who turn 60 this year, 70 percent of Boomers surveyed own stocks or stock mutual funds, making equities the most widely held asset class within this group. One third of Boomers surveyed had more than half their assets in equities.
“Despite the unprecedented market volatility, this is not the time to get paralyzed. It’s time to assess the situation and determine what moves or help you need to get your portfolio back on track,” said Matt King, Chief Investment Officer, Bell Investment Advisors.
`In addition to reviewing their investments, today’s market environment is causing many Boomers to take a look at their careers.
According to the survey, 40 percent of Boomers at 60 who are not yet retired plan to continue working into their seventies. More than half (58 percent) of those not yet in retirement expect to “downscale” or shift their employment focus, with 20 percent scaling back work they currently are doing and 18 percent planning to working part-time.
“Boomers who were planning to downshift their careers need to revisit the assumptions behind their decision,” said Jim Bell, founder and president of Bell Investment Advisors. “The current financial environment calls for careful, strategic career planning to achieve these goals.”
Here are some savvy money moves for Americans age 55 or older to consider, according to the experts at Bell Investment Advisors:

  • Determine how much you need to retire. A Certified Financial Planner can help with this question. One guideline is to multiply your annual income needs in retirement by 20. If your portfolio can average at least an eight percent return yearly, then you can plan to withdraw up to five percent each year in retirement. Everyone’s situation is unique, but this guideline is a good place to start.
  • When you are a few years away from retirement you should create your withdrawal plan. Allocating two to five years of your projected income needs toward lower risk investments, such as fixed-income funds, can help safeguard money needed for the first few years of retirement. By protecting near-term income, you can ride out potential short-term market downturns.
  • With an average life expectancy approaching 90, it’s essential to maintain a long-term investment perspective with a portion of your portfolio. Continue investing an amount of savings in equities to help fund the later years of your retirement.
  • If you’re coming up short or not on track to meet your retirement funding needs, consider how your career can get you there - whether it be continuing to work full time, part time or consulting. Stay abreast of new trends in your field by reading professional journals, attending conferences and networking.
  • When you are in retirement, focus on managing your withdrawals. In retirement, it is critical to adhere to the “percent rule.” In a down market when your portfolio may decrease, stick with the five percent withdrawal rule by making any needed adjustments to lower your spending.
  • For more information about managing your investments for retirement, visit www.bellinvest.com.
    Courtesy of StatePoint Media

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