How to Protect Yourself from Outliving Your Money in Retirement
In 2015, the average life expectancy for Americans is 79
years old, more than 10 years older than the average life expectancy was in
1950. Also, in just 15 years, an
expected 70 million baby boomers in the U.S. – individuals born between 1946
and 1964 – will be over the age of 65, meaning that there will be the largest
population of older adults America has ever seen, and they are expected to live
longer than ever before.
This increased life expectancy coupled with America’s large
baby boomer population growing older and nearing retirement, many more
Americans may soon become faced with the risk of outliving their retirement
The exact amount you need in order to retire is dependent on
a number of factors including your income sources during retirement, your cost
of living in retirement, when you plan to retire, and more. According to
financial experts, after calculations, a rule of thumb is that the average
individual will need about 75 to 80 percent of their preretirement income to
maintain the same standard of living in retirement.
A good retirement plan includes saving early, creating a
savings strategy that is based on a calculation of your retirement lifestyle, contributing
a sufficient sum for retirement, and downsizing or establishing a spending plan
during retirement. However, sometimes, even the most diligent savers and
thrifty spenders can find themselves in a position where their expenses
outweigh their means.
While many people would like to leave a legacy for their
children and do not want to access their principal, others may have to lower
their monthly expenses by moving in with their adult children for a period of
time. While there is no clear-cut or cover-all solution to solve this dilemma,
each individual must consider a number of factors in order to protect
themselves against outliving their money in retirement.
To put some of these options into perspective, let’s say,
for example, an 80-year-old woman who receives $1,500 per month in Social
Security income has drawn down her retirement savings to $100,000. Let’s also
assume that her present income and investment strategy – primarily in bonds —
is earning her around 3% per year on that principal sum for an additional
$3,000 in income per year. Her mere $1,750 per month in income is insufficient
to afford her cost of living each month.
She could invest in stocks, but there is the risk of
volatility and income loss. She could live on the principal sum, but then she
cannot leave anything for her children. She could lower her expenses by moving
in with her adult children, but she doesn’t want to create a burden on them and
Obviously, every situation is different. For older Americans
in good health with children of means who are not relying on their parents’
income, an immediate life annuity may be the best option. On the other hand, if
the individual can afford some risk, investment in mutual funds and ETFs might
pay off the most.
With America’s baby boomer population getting older and life
expectancy on the rise, the risk of outliving one’s income may soon become a
problem that affects many in the near future. With effective planning and the
right tools in place, this risk may be averted – even for those who fear they
are starting too late. Speak with your
financial advisor about your option in retirement to ensure your nest egg and
quality of life enjoys the longevity it deserves.