Many of us aren’t addressing the realities of retirement planning. When discussing retirement planning with prospective clients, here are some of the issues we find most families haven’t considered:
Underestimating life expectancy
Financial planning would be easy if we knew exactly when a plan will end! Twenty-five years ago, insurance companies estimated life expectancy at 83 years. Despite the volumes of media coverage generated over recent years about our increasing life spans, many investors still underestimate – often severely – just how long they could live. This plays havoc with retirement planning and finances. Recently a 90-year-old woman told me her friends were planning a party for her with 150 guests when she reached 100.
Many financial planners now develop retirement plans based on life expectancy of 90 to 95 years. While people get it intellectually, the implications of longevity haven't been an integral part of their thinking. If a family has longevity, the plan’s life expectancy may need to go to 100.
Failing to consider and plan for a long-term care need
The question you must ask yourself is, “Could your nest egg cover the potential cost of long-term care?” Premature long-term care can be steep and difficult to cover. However, the notion of spending a few thousand dollars a year for long-term care insurance, versus the possibility of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future, is smart money management. Unfortunately, long term care insurance is not affordable for all. Some individuals have pre-existing conditions that make coverage un-attainable. The possibility of having the event, however, is something that still needs to be addressed in the financial plan.
Making large loans to family members
You're retired or on track for a comfortable retirement. A family member asks you for a large loan for a house, college, or to start a business. Many times, you're not in a position to be as generous as you would like. Big withdrawals from your nest egg early in your retirement can seriously crimp your spending in later years.
Underestimating expenses in retirement
We find that spending does not decrease in retirement. If anything, it can increase in first few years as many healthy retirees desire to travel more and fix up their homes. Maybe spending slows in later years, but not at first. If you don't have a handle on current cash flow and expenses, you can't get started on retirement planning.
Focusing on your nest egg to the exclusion of all else
The savings balance is only one part of the retirement equation. The lesson here is while the need to grow your nest egg is critical, you cannot focus only on finances and neglect the most important part of later life. How are you going to spend your time and fill your days?
Many of us don't prepare well to retire. Some invest money fairly consistently along the way, but don't prepare their life for smooth and fulfilling transitions. If you would like to discuss a review of your retirement plan, give us a call—we’d be happy to schedule a free consultation to talk about your unique situation.