The Top 4 Regrets in Retirement

The closer you get to retirement, the more excited you probably get. It’s a milestone we often start thinking about as soon as we enter our working years, and many of us relish the idea of slowing down, changing pace, and finally having all the time we need to pursue passions and invest in relationships. But what happens when you get to retirement and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? Have you considered the idea that you could regret your decision to retire? Here are four common retirement regrets to keep in mind as you prepare for your golden years.

1. Retiring Too Soon

Whether you were forced to retire earlier than planned or you made the decision on your own, retiring before you are ready can cause plenty of regret. In fact, 30% of retirees admitted they would gladly re-enter the workforce if a job became available. (1)

If you decided to retire prior to turning 65, you probably had to find pre-Medicare coverage, which is often quite a bit more expensive than an employer-sponsored plan. By waiting until you turn 65, you will qualify for Medicare and not be forced to obtain other health insurance to cover you during the transition.

Financially, the earlier you retire the fewer years you have to save and the longer you will have to live off of your money. If your finances are keeping you up at night or you are living at a lower quality of life than you are used to, you may regret retiring when you did.

Working even a few years longer can provide these valuable benefits:

  • More time to accumulate savings
  • More years to apply towards Social Security which could result in a larger benefit amount
  • Health insurance coverage through your employer
  • Purpose and identity
  • Stronger mental and physical health (2)

2. Not Creating a Social Security Claiming Strategy

Social Security benefits can be claimed anytime between ages 62 and 70. However, the timing of when you choose to collect these benefits will impact the amount of benefit you receive.

Full retirement age (FRA) changes based on the year you were born. For those born in 1937 and earlier, FRA is 65. After 1937, two months is added each year until FRA becomes 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. Starting in 1955, two months a year is added again until the FRA becomes 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

If you wait until you reach full retirement age to begin collecting your Social Security benefits, you will receive your full Primary Insurance Amount, which is the full benefit that you have earned, but if you choose or are forced into an early retirement, you will receive a reduced benefit. Your basic benefit is reduced a fraction of a percent for each month you begin receiving benefits prior to full retirement age, up to 30%.

3. Overspending in the First Years of Retirement

Even if you have a solid nest egg saved to carry you through retirement, you still need to exercise financial discipline to ensure your money lasts. Dipping too deep into your savings as soon as you retire could make or break your retirement dreams. Instead, create a realistic retirement budget, factoring in travel or hobbies, then work with your advisor to find a withdrawal rate that will stretch your money for as long as possible.

4. Not Having a Retirement Bucket List

Free time is a major perk of retirement, but when you go from working full-time to not working at all it can be a shock to your system. Saying goodbye to your career, your colleagues, and your routines can cause anxiety and depression. But if you plan ahead to fill your time with activities that will fulfill you, you can avoid the negative emotions that can come with this life transition.

Do you want to know what activities result in a fulfilling retirement? A BMO study on retirement planning reveals that retirees who stayed busy and active, pursued independence, and volunteered their time were satisfied with their life. (3) One study of retirees even found that those who volunteered 200 hours a year were less likely to develop high blood pressure. (4) The takeaway here is to be intentional about your time in retirement. Make a list of things you want to do, places you want to go, and people you want to spend time with, then strategically map out the details so your goals become a reality. It’s easy to lose your identity when you say goodbye to your career, but filling your time and venturing out into new territory will help you build a new identity and give you something to look forward to.

Live With No Regrets

You probably don’t want to celebrate the incredible milestone of retirement and then wake up the next day wondering if you made the right decision. Deciding when and how to retire is one of the most difficult decisions you will make in life, but you don’t have to make the hard choices alone. If you want to avoid facing these common regrets when you retire, reach out to us for a no-obligation conversation by calling 949-445-1465 or emailing jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

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(1) https://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/21/retirees-go-back-to-work.html

(2) http://www.medicaldaily.com/planning-retiring-early-consider-these-5-health-risks-first-247669

(3) https://commercial.bmoharris.com/resource/wealth-management/whats-your-retirement-game-plan/

(4) http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pag/28/2/578/?_ga=1.177767717.1281536077.1488342343

How Much Risk is in Your 401(k)?

We frequently hear about how important and necessary a 401(k) plan is for retirement, but with such a beneficial investment opportunity comes inherent risks, from choosing appropriate funds to understanding hidden fees. When was the last time you analyzed your 401(k), or even logged into your account? Do you know how much risk is in your 401(k)?

What Makes a 401(k) Unique?

A 401(k) plays a unique role in your financial planning and is different from other accounts in a few ways. First, you likely receive your 401(k) from an employer who may match contributions, encouraging you to contribute a larger percentage of your income. You can also choose how and where your money is invested, your contributions are made on an after-tax basis and, at the maximum, you and your employer can contribute jointly up to $55,000 (for 2018) or $61,000 for those aged 50 or older.

However, a 401(k) does require maintenance. Your company provides a way for you to save for retirement, which is great, but their job is not to help you manage the risk in your account, give investment advice, or insight into fees you may not be aware of.

So what can you do to ensure your 401(k) is working hard for your financial future and isn’t carrying too much risk?

Risks To Avoid

Let’s look at a few risks 401(k)s are susceptible to and ways you can avoid them.

Improper Allocation

401(k) values typically rise and fall with the stock market, meaning they don’t offer protection from losses. If the stock market does well, so does your 401(k). But if it drops, so will your retirement account, no matter how soon you need the money. The key to avoiding this risk is to maintain the proper asset allocation for your risk tolerance level. Examine the investment options offered by your company and choose the ones at your risk level, being sure to diversify your choices accordingly.

Turning On Autopilot

Most companies enroll their employees at a 3% contribution rate, but 3% will not get you to your retirement goals. Likewise, many plans choose allocations for you, but are those really the best choices for your situation? Because of the many decisions that come with starting and managing your 401(k) account, many people employ a “set it and forget it” method, neglecting to review its progress and regularly rebalance. In fact, 25% of workers with a 401(k) have never made adjustments to their account. (1) In a matter of a few years, those who neglect their 401(k) may realize that their account no longer reflects their risk tolerance, time horizon, and needs. Take the time to create a 401(k) strategy, check in with your account to rebalance, and increase your contribution rate as your financial situation allows.

Investing Heavily In Company Stock

If you have the option to purchase employer stock, be sure to exercise caution. Do you really want so much of your financial well being tied up in one company? This is important because if your company performs poorly it will depress the stock price and could lead to layoffs as well. There go your portfolio, your income, and your health insurance all at once. Sadly, many people have experienced this. Back in 1999 when Enron filed for bankruptcy, more than $1 billion in employee retirement savings simply evaporated. Many Lehman Brothers employees experienced the same thing as well. (2)

Ignoring Fees

According to a survey commissioned by retirement investment advisory firm Rebalance IRA, nearly half of investors don’t think they pay any fees in their retirement accounts, and 19% believe their fees are less than 0.5%. But the reality is, you are likely paying closer to 2% or 3%. Depending on the account and company, mutual fund fees can be staggering and consume a large chunk of your gains. On top of that, there are many undisclosed costs (such as transaction fees, bookkeeping fees, finder’s fees, etc.) that eat away further at your retirement dollars. By choosing investments with lower fees, you may be able to achieve higher returns.

Lack of Investment Guidance

The average 401(k) plan offers 25 investment choices. While options are good, sometimes too many can confuse and overwhelm investors. Without sufficient investment knowledge, employees may choose a little of each and end up with a portfolio that isn’t diversified or appropriately aligned with individual needs.

Getting On Track with Your 401(k)

The question is, do you really know how fast your 401(k) is careening down the investment highway towards retirement? Are you on track toward your retirement goals or do your strategies need adjusting? You have worked hard your entire career to save for retirement; now is not the time to be passive about protecting your nest egg.

Let us help you create a retirement strategy that can get you where you want to go when you want to get there. We can help you understand how your employee retirement plan works, how to optimize benefits, and coordinate your plans with your other retirement and investment strategies. To get your 401(k) on the right track, complete a complimentary risk assessment here and give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

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(1) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/401ks-why-set-it-and-forget-it-can-be-a-disaster/

(2) https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/stock-plan-mistakes

Three Unexpected Reasons Your Retirement Plan May Fail

We all desire to have a secure retirement where we can focus on our passions without having to worry about money. But according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2017 Retirement Confidence survey, 82% of American workers do not feel very confident that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement. Along with a lack of confidence, 30% say that preparing for retirement causes them to feel mentally or emotionally stressed.

While there are many factors that could impact your retirement that are outside of your control, there are also proactive steps you can take that will help you move forward with confidence and peace of mind. Take a look at these three common yet unexpected reasons your retirement plan could fail and the strategies to reduce the threat they pose to your financial future.

1. Rising Health Care Costs

According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the average couple at age 65 will require anywhere from $157,000 to $392,000 in health care costs. Most people don’t even have that much in their retirement accounts to live on, let alone cover medical costs. Without your employer’s health insurance, adequate coverage is typically more expensive and harder to find. Even with Medicare, there could be significant out-of-pocket expenses and many conditions and treatments that are not covered.

When choosing your health insurance for retirement, make sure you understand all Medicare options and supplements and work with an experienced professional to help you evaluate your options. For example, many people don’t know that basic Medicare has no cap on out-of-pocket expenses. A supplement is required to achieve a limit on costs. Comprehensive insurance is more expensive but can limit unexpected expenses. If you plan to retire before age 65, be sure to get a pre-Medicare policy in place.

2. Premature Loss of a Spouse

Losing your spouse is devastating, regardless of when it happens. But losing a spouse during the final years of their career can be dangerous for the surviving spouse’s financial plan. Furthermore, retirement and long-term care costs may increase without a spouse to share costs and provide care. Depending on pension benefits selected, a spouse’s pension may not pay out to the surviving spouse in the event of his or her death. An early death may also decrease the spousal Social Security benefits the surviving spouse receives, leaving him or her with little income.

It’s critical for both spouses to be actively involved in the planning process to avoid a setback if this tragedy occurs. Take the time to consider benefits for the surviving spouse, such as life insurance. Wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations should be reviewed to ensure both spouses are protected financially. You should also create a pension and Social Security strategy to optimize the benefit for the surviving spouse. Examine multiple scenarios and make sure that you are taken care of no matter what happens.

3. Unexpected Early Retirement

We all know that unexpected life events can occur at any time and derail your plans. The same can happen to your retirement. While the average expected retirement age is 66, most people end up retiring at 62. According to the 2017 EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey, there is a considerable gap between when a person expects to retire and when they actually retire. While 38% of respondents stated that they would like to retire at age 70 or older, only 4% followed through. Most end up retiring earlier and often it’s not by choice.

There’s always the chance you could lose your job or fall ill. Even if you want to work longer and save more, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to do that. Early retirement can destroy even well-laid retirement plans. The loss of income during the final years of your career can spell financial disaster, and this is especially true for high earners.

To protect against this risk, plan for the unexpected. Make sure you have adequate disability insurance to protect your income in the event of an illness or disability. You can also work with an advisor to create scenarios and see what your savings and income would look like if you were forced to retire early.

Create An Action Plan

Retirement planning can be complicated and stressful due to the many uncertain factors that go along with it. However, by understanding some of the risks and common roadblocks you can experience, you can plan ahead for the unexpected and reduce the chances that your retirement plan will fail.

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we specialize in helping you plan for your future while managing and preserving your wealth. Our mission is to partner with you to make strategic decisions about your money and feel confident in your future. If you think your retirement plan needs a second look, call me at  949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com  so we can evaluate your portfolio and find ways to minimize these threats.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high and ultra-high net worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, and to worry less about their finances and more on their passions in life. Based in Orange County, he works with clients throughout Southern California, as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com.