Here’s a thought: retirement doesn’t mean the end. It doesn’t mean an end of self-importance or purpose, it just means a new chapter—a paradigm shift of what life is beyond long days and meetings and bosses. Unless you own your own business, and even then, you are not your business. You’re not solely defined by the question, “What do you do?” But, it doesn’t mean you should stop defining the answer for such an inquiry in your retirement era.
All investors – be they conservative, moderate or aggressive – need to understand that the level of returns they expect to generate is directly related to the amount of risk they are willing to assume – the higher the return, the higher the amount of risk one needs to take. It probably doesn’t dawn on most people that, regardless of where you put your money, you assume some element of risk. For instance, if you focus solely on keeping your money safe from the possibility of loss, you risk not accumulating enough money to meet your goal. In this case, trying to avoid “market risk” increases your exposure to other types of risk, such as “inflation risk” or “longevity risk.”
Caught in an extraordinary convergence of unhinged stock market volatility and historically low interest rates on savings, many people are rethinking their plans and their vision for the future, especially as they consider the prospect of having to stretch their retirement income over 25 or 30 years. A study conducted in 2015 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found workers of all ages are continuing to lose confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement. But instead of adjusting their investment strategies to confront the challenge, many are simply retreating into a “winning by not losing” mentality and avoiding the stock market altogether. That can be the biggest mistake anyone can make in their retirement planning.
There are many who would suggest that, in a digitally-wired world in which information travels at light speed to all corners, the investment playing field has been leveled between individual investors and the institutions. In reality, however, the incessant noise and information overload can do more to fuel the irrational behavior of investors than it can to provide any sort of advantage. Absent a principled investment philosophy that guides their decisions and keeps them focused on their own investment objectives, investors are more likely to succumb to the mentality of the herd which can take them over a cliff.
In the realm of financial planning, time is our most valuable asset. It’s available to all of us, providing each individual with the same opportunity to optimize its value in building wealth. It’s the only resource we all have over which we have some degree of control. However, it is a wasting resource if it is not optimally utilized. Each day that passes, without some contribution of money, either in savings or interest, the cost of our financial goals increases. As time marches on, the obstacles to achieving goals of any time horizon become increasingly insurmountable.
How many households have the right outlook to build wealth?
Why do some households save more than others? Building household savings may depend not only on cash flow, but also on psychology. With the right outlook, saving becomes a commitment. With a less positive outlook, it becomes a task – and tasks and chores are often postponed.
Key lessons for retirement savers.
You learn lessons as you invest in pursuit of long-run goals. Some of these lessons are conveyed and reinforced when you begin saving for retirement, and others you glean along the way.
Should you consider these approaches?
Most people invest passively. That is, they direct money into an investment account or portfolio that is passively managed. Passive investment management, characterized by long time horizons and very little buying or selling, certainly has its merits.
It’s something most Americans don’t think about until it hits the headlines, such as last year when major retailer, Target, revealed that its data base of shopper credit and debit card numbers had been breached. Yet, nearly 15 percent of the population - more than 34 million adults - has reported some form of identity theft, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.