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The COVID pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of society. It’s changed the way we work, the way we learn, and even the ways in which we travel and dine. The pandemic also disrupted the economy and the financial markets, triggering record unemployment and bringing the longest bull market in history to an end.
Given the financial volatility we have seen during the pandemic, you might think that Americans are also changing their retirement strategies. However, a new survey from Forbes and YouGov suggests that’s not the case.
The survey reached out to 9,675 people to learn more about their retirement planning. Many of the questions and answers focused on three main areas:
CARES Act Distributions
As the COVID pandemic hit the economy, the government passed the CARES Act to provide assistance to those who were impacted. One piece of the CARES Act allows 401(k) and IRA account holders to withdraw up to $100,000 without paying an early distribution penalty. They can also pay the taxes over a three-year period.1
While the pandemic may have created unemployment and other financial emergencies, few Americans are tapping into their retirement savings. According to the survey, only 4% of respondents took a 401(k) hardship withdrawal and 5% took a hardship withdrawal from an IRA.2
Most of those who took a withdrawal were younger in age. Among those ages 25 to 34, 8% reported taking a withdrawal. However, among those 55% and older, only 2% said they took a withdrawal from a retirement account.2
While few respondents said they had tapped into their retirement savings, 11% said they planned to work longer before retiring. Those ages 45 to 54 were most likely to give this response.2
The decision to work longer may be due to market volatility in 2020. However, it also could be due to a surprising reason - employers suspending their 401(k) matching contributions. Nearly 4% of respondents said their employers had suspended matching contributions, but that number could increase.2 In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, nearly 20% of employers with more than 1,000 employees suspended their matching contributions.3
If you’re concerned about volatility or if your employer has suspended contributions, consider meeting with a financial professional. Working longer is an option, but it’s not your only option. A financial professional can help you implement the strategy that’s right for your goals and needs.
Asset Allocation Changes
In the survey, only 5% of respondents said they had made a significant change to their asset allocation and only 4% said they had lowered their 401(k) or IRA contributions. In fact, 72% of respondents said they hadn’t made any changes to their retirement strategy at all.2
While sticking to a long-term strategy is generally a good idea, there may be times when a change is warranted. If you haven’t reviewed your strategy recently, now may be a good time to do so.
Let’s talk about your strategy and whether it’s still right for your goals. Contact us today at Cornerstone Financial Associates. We can analyze your strategy and help you make adjustments where needed. Let’s connect today and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20418 - 2020/9/17
Thinking about retiring in the next year? If so, this is an exciting time. After a career that has likely spanned decades, you can now look forward to the next chapter of your life.
While you’re probably excited to retire, it’s important that you don’t make the leap too early. It’s not uncommon for retirees to realize that they weren’t quite ready to leave the working world. The result is that they return to work in some capacity.
You can avoid that outcome by making sure you’re fully prepared before you pull the trigger on retirement. Before are four financial milestones that could indicate you’re ready for retirement. This list isn’t comprehensive, but if you meet these four major markers, retirement may be in your near future.
You have a retirement budget.
A budget is always a valuable financial tool, but it’s especially important in retirement. A budget helps you control your spending and make sure you’re on-track to hit your financial goals. Without a retirement budget, it can be easy to fill your newfound free time with costly activities like travel, dining, and shopping. If you spend too much in the early years of retirement, you may not have enough assets left in the later years.
Unfortunately, many Americans don’t regularly use a budget. In fact, according to a 2019 poll from Debt.com, nearly a third of all households don’t use a budget.1 If you’re among that group, now may be the time to start using one. A budget could be the key that helps you maintain your assets and your income through a long retirement.
You have an emergency fund.
Emergencies happen. There is always the potential for a home repair, costly medical procedure, or other unplanned expense. As you get older, the possibility of a costly medical bill may be even more likely. While Medicare may cover most of your care, it doesn’t cover everything. In fact, Fidelity predicts that the average 65-year-old couple will spend $295,000 out-of-pocket on health care in retirement.2
An emergency fund can help you handle medical costs, home repairs, or any emergency bill that may pop up. When you’re working, it’s often advised to have a few months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. However, in retirement you may want to plan for a longer period of time. After all, you no longer have a salary to replenish the emergency fund.
You have little revolving debt.
For many of us, debt is a fact of life. From mortgages to car payments to student loans and credit cards, debt is often a necessity. As you reach retirement though, debt can be a serious financial burden. Every dollar you spend servicing debt is a dollar that isn’t used to cover living expenses or to grow your assets. Debt could force you to drain your retirement assets more quickly.
If you have significant levels of debt, especially high-interest credit card debt, you may want to rethink retiring soon. Develop a plan to tackle that debt and free up cash flow. A financial professional can help you implement a strategy.
You have a retirement income plan.
Finally, perhaps the most important question to answer is where your income will come from in retirement. You’ll likely receive Social Security benefits, and you also may have retirement savings in a 401(k) or IRA. Perhaps you also have a pension, annuity, or other source of income.
A retirement income plan maps out exactly how your income will be generated and how much income will come from each source. A financial professional can help you develop a plan that protects your assets and maximizes your income. They also may be able to help you generate income that is guaranteed for life, no matter how the market performs or how long you live.
Think you’re ready to retire? Let’s talk about it. We can help you analyze your needs, goals, and concerns and implement a strategy. Contact us at Cornerstone Financial Associates today and let’s start the conversation about your next chapter.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
*Guaranteed lifetime income available through annuitization or the purchase of an optional lifetime income rider, a benefit for which an annual premium is charged. Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values. 20416 - 2020/9/17
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