We believe investing during retirement is critical to meeting your longer-term financial goals. It was important to invest in the years leading up to retirement, but your retirement date shouldn’t be a stopping point. Once you retire, you may need to continue investing to help ensure you are able to live comfortably and meet your other long-term goals.
Assess Your Current Financial Picture
To help ensure your money lasts for the long haul, it can help to gain a deeper understanding of your current financial picture by calculating your net worth and determining your expected time horizon. You can use this information to help determine the optimal asset allocation—mix of stocks, bonds and cash—to reach your long-term financial goals.
Evaluate Your Goals
Your long-term financial goals are key when implementing an optimal investment strategy and sticking with it in retirement, even during times of market volatility. If you are not sure of your long-term goals, here are some questions to consider.
What Are Your Overall Goals for Your Retirement Savings?
You may want to focus on generating cash flow to help provide for medical expenses or pay for travel. Perhaps you’d like to grow your investments to purchase a vacation property or leave a financial legacy.
Regardless of your goals for your retirement savings, it’s important to incorporate these goals into your overall retirement plan. Your goals will help determine your asset allocation and the various sectors of the investment universe that can help you achieve them.
Weighing Risk Tolerance and Your Goals
Many retirees, assuming they should avoid short-term volatility in their portfolio, often rely too heavily on investments that offer lower long-term returns than stocks, such as bonds or cash. Others may avoid global investments to focus solely on US stocks and bonds. But doing so can increase the risk of not meeting their goals. For many people, investing during retirement is a long-term exercise that involves patience and diversification, so don’t let short-term market moves or narrow focus lead you to make emotional decisions.
How Much Money Do You Need to Reach Your Retirement Goals?
There is no cookie-cutter formula to calculate how much money you need to live in retirement. Everyone has different lifestyles, goals, investment time horizons and liquidity needs. It isn’t just about how much you have saved or how much regular income you need. It is about how to make your money last for 20, 30, or 40 years and beyond.
Retirees often fear running out of money in retirement. Here are some important considerations to help you avoid this worst-case scenario:
Investment Time Horizon
Given continued medical advancements, we believe many people could have a longer potential retirement than they may currently expect.
Unfortunately, many investors underestimate how long they will live and run the risk of depleting their retirement funds too early. Your age at retirement is less important than how long you need your money to last. It is more important to determine your investment time horizon.
This should generally include not only your life expectancy, but also the expected life spans of your spouse and, potentially, any dependents. You should also factor in goals that go beyond you and your spouse’s lifetimes, such as any legacy or donation plans.
Volatile markets can be uncomfortable, especially for a new retiree. Daily market volatility is a normal part of investing, but overreacting to short-term market wiggles could put your long-term investing goals at risk. Instead of attempting to sidestep regular volatility by jumping in and out of the market—which requires impeccable timing—we believe staying disciplined to a sound investment strategy over the long-term is the prudent approach for most investors.
Taking a longer view can help you understand stock market volatility and gain perspective. In the short term, security prices can swing unpredictably and unnerve investors. However, we believe the market tends to reward patient investors who tolerate market volatility over long periods.
Remember, market volatility is always present and doesn’t predict returns or tell you what direction stocks will go next. We view market volatility as the price investors pay in order to participate in stocks’ historically superior long-term growth potential.
Don’t underestimate inflation’s impact. Inflation decreases purchasing power over time and can diminish savings and investment returns. Since 1925, inflation has averaged roughly 3% a year.1 If that average inflation rate continues, a person who currently requires $50,000 to cover annual living expenses would need an annual income of approximately $90,000 in 20 years and about $120,000 in 30 years—just to maintain the same purchasing power.
You should determine your growth objectives and how much money you plan to have in your portfolio at the end of your investment time horizon. For example, if your portfolio grows 5% annually and inflation is 3%, you are only getting a 2% annual return (before taxes). If you require more growth from your investments in retirement, you may need to allocate a larger portion of your retirement portfolio towards assets with relatively high long-term expected returns, such as equities.
The rate at which you withdraw during retirement, as well as the amount, can impact your overall retirement strategy. Remember that returns vary over time, so you may not be able to withdraw the same percentage each year without drawing down your principal.
1 Source: Global Financial Data, Inc., as of 3/18/2022. Average annualized inflation was 2.89% from 12/31/1925 to 12/31/2021, based on the US BLS Consumer Price Index.