Be Wary of Bad Retirement Advice

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Be Wary of Bad Retirement Advice

When it comes to financial planning and preparing for retirement, many people will chime in with suggestions and advice. However, that advice – well intentioned or not – could prove detrimental to your retirement outlook.

For some people, talking about money can tend to be an emotional topic. Ultimately, money decisions should be based on you, and your individual needs. While friends and family may mean well, their financial advice might not be right for you.

Here are three reasons when you should avoid certain financial planning suggestions, and what to do instead.

Unfortunately, your loved ones don’t see the entire picture when it comes to your finances, and what worked well for them doesn’t mean it will work for you, too. They may not even know how much money you make, or have biases.

For starters, careers and living patterns have enormously evolved. Many millennials are freelancers or contractors and their incomes vary. Therefore, employer-sponsored plans aren’t relevant and they need more liquidity — easily accessible money — than say their parents and older generations might have had at their age.

Millennials change jobs more frequently than their parents. A LinkedIn analysis of its members’ profiles found that the number of job changes in the first five years after college graduation has almost doubled in the past 20 years. People who graduated with a bachelor’s degree between 2006 and 2010 worked for an average of about 2.85 companies, compared with 1.6 companies for those who graduated between 1996 and 1990. So you see, while mom and dad only want the best for your future, they may be doing more harm than good when it comes to managing your money.

You can do better by getting objective advice from an expert. Financial advisors provide guidance based on your needs. Choices include hands-on human advisors, online automated services or a combination of the two.

Everyone’s financial picture is unique. Which is why a one-size-fits-all retirement portfolio simply won’t work for those with more debt, little capital and even less investing knowledge.

And demographics plays a big role. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security for example, 4 out of 5 Hispanic households have less than $10,000 in retirement savings. That’s partly because many Latino workers are less likely to have retirement plans at work, and it’s challenging to make enough money to save for such a long-term goal. The huge financial swings from one demographic to the next highlights why a broad retirement plan works for some, but doesn’t produce results others.

Always make sure your retirement advice is coming from a source that factors in age, gender and your entire financial history.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself behind on your retirement savings, one of the best ways to catch up on retirement savings is to work longer. Delaying retirement for just three to six months has the same impact as saving 1 percent more of your salary over 30 years, according to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Aside from the added income, working longer also allows you to preserve your retirement savings and even keep building those assets in tax-advantaged retirement plans.

Tying in with demographics, generalized retirement advice is often problematic because it is intended for a person with a non-specific income and risk level. Sound retirement advice must account for factors such as income level and risk tolerance. 

For example, for most Americans Social Security benefits won’t cover all the expenses in retirement. To land in retirement in solid financial shape, you also want to build your own savings in 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts.

Low income also, by definition, increases risks. Investing in a 401k may not be suitable for low-income folks without an adequate emergency fund. On the flipside, saving too much for retirement can cause problems due to IRS rules and penalties.

To avoid sabotaging your retirement, create a plan that considers your expected lifespan, planned retirement age, retirement location, individual risk factors, general health, and the lifestyle you would like to lead before deciding on how much to set aside.

It can be challenging to know what moves are best when it comes to your finances, especially in the digital age, when advice—good and bad—is everywhere. But for the same reasons as you shouldn’t Google your health symptoms (which let’s face it – always results in you thinking a sneeze is terminal), you also shouldn’t take advice from any old article you find online.

With the growing interest of money advice online, partially spurred by GameStop’s Reddit-fueled fame, comes the opportunity for people to share their money advice, be it great, bad, or downright awful. Not everyone is equipped to tell others what to do with their finances, even if they think they are.

Make sure the sites you’re reading are factual, ethical, and research-based. An even better approach is to talk to a financial professional who has the background to give you personalized and strategy-based advice. 

Having easy access to all of this knowledge allows for you to easily learn and take the steps needed to become financially successful. But this also allows people who have no business writing or talking about finances to give advice.

The most important thing is to get the right information and advice that helps you invest and manage your money effectively. With over 22 years of experience, the retirement income experts at CKS Summit Group designs, builds, and manages custom retirement portfolios that are fully capable of simultaneously generating stable growth, increasing income, and preservation of principal throughout a client’s lifetime, with only limited downside market risk.

Contact CKS Summit Group here to learn more about financial planning to best fit your needs!