When speaking to clients about their retirement income plan, we try to break the risks down into two categories.

When speaking to clients about their retirement income plan, we try to break the risks down into two categories.

Category 1 includes risks that you have some control over. You may not be in total control, but you can influence these variables.

  • Your Savings Goal: It may take a lot of discipline, but setting a retirement savings goal and sticking to it is essential. We can’t do much for clients if their retirement date comes and the assets they have built simply won’t generate the income they need.
  • Retiring Too Early: We see plenty of situations where clients are forced to retire for health reasons. We also see clients who chose early retirement and then they realize that expenses are outstripping their income, or unplanned expenses take a significant chunk out of their retirement assets, reducing their income. That’s why it is critical for clients to stress test their portfolio before they retire to determine the impact that various scenarios (good and bad) will have on their retirement.
  • Spending Too Much: Retirement is a living, breathing thing. What this means is the portion of your income generated from assets needs to be actively managed based on their performance. For example, in years in which you experience poor portfolio returns, you might choose to spend less. This helps to reduce the impact of withdrawing assets in market downturns and can actually help prolong the life of your retirement assets.

Category 2 includes risks that you have very little to no control over.

  • Longevity: No one knows how long they are going to live. In this case, we are talking about living longer, resulting in outliving your retirement assets. Clients often list this as their top retirement concern. There are ways to counteract the impact of this risk. Income sources that are guaranteed for life, such as pensions and annuities can help.
  • Inflation: Inflation impacts retirees more than anyone else. A “basket” of goods and services you might have paid $100 for in 1995, costs more than one and one half times that amount today. We often caution clients not to invest too conservatively, because some growth is needed to help counteract the erosive effects of inflation.
  • Financial Market Volatility: The markets cannot be controlled or timed. We get plenty of calls from clients during times of market volatility. And we suggest the same tried and true strategy of employing a long-term, asset allocation that fits your tolerance for risk and investment goals.

We have some great tools that can provide a solid retirement income plan. If you want a Financial Plan that gives you a deep dive into your complete financial picture, we can provide the help you need.

About the author

Michael Repak

Vice President & Senior Estate Planner

Read more from Michael Repak

To learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their financial professionals, visit FINRA’s BrokerCheck website: http://brokercheck.finra.org/