The number of centenarians in the U.S. is growing steadily. If you end up joining them, you’ll need a retirement plan to match.
We all ask the question, “How much do I need for retirement?” It is a very hard question to answer. The difficulty lies in the fact that it varies greatly depending on how long you live. Will you live to be 100, or 85? How do you plan for the uncertainty?
Depending on how you look at the data, you have a good chance of living a long time. Here are a few facts from the Society of Actuaries and the Social Security Administration:
- One out of three males and one out of two females who are in their mid-50s today will live to be 90.
- For a couple who is 65 today, there is a 50% chance that one person will be alive at 92.
- If you have lived to be 65, you will likely live another 20 years, on average.
- If you live to be 75, the average life expectancy is 88.
- If you live to be 85, the average life expectancy is 92.
- And, if you live to be 95, the average life expectancy is 98.
However, statistics are not your own reality. If you are wondering whether or not you will live to be 100, Caring.com suggests a few clues that predict longevity. Here is a sampling:
- You have lots of very old family members.
- You are spry and can walk fast and far.
- You are a woman.
- You are social and engaged in your community.
One rule of thumb is that you need about 80 percent of your income before retirement to maintain your lifestyle when you’re retired. If you make the average national wage of $48,251 when you retire, that means you need to bring in about $38,600 per year.
The Social Security Administration considers full retirement age to be 66, but the following calculations all assume you’re retiring at age 65 at the beginning of 2019 — which equates to 35 years of expenses until you reach 100. Going by the rough 80 percent income estimate, you’ll be spending $1.35 million total over 35 years in 2018 dollars.
By breaking down the costs, you can get a much clearer idea of where your money will be going — and if $1.35 million will be enough.
Today, we are living healthier lives, which has increased our life expectancy and changed the way in which we should prepare to live well beyond our expectations. Medicine and technology are being designed to keep us living longer, and future developments will continue to push life expectancies higher.
This is the new reality, and unless you choose to solve the problem now, you could outlive your money. Ask yourself, “How long will my money last?” If you do not know, now is the time to figure out how you will get on track.
If you have the money to afford a long, luxurious retirement, that’s great news. But a study by Wells Fargo shows the average age in retirement has gone up from 13 years in 1960 to 18 years in 1990 to 20 years in 2020. As life expectancy is expected to increase and retirement age remains stagnant, the researchers expect the average length of retirement to continue to extend over the next 30+ years.
That means a need for an added emphasis on planning—to decide what to do with all that time as well as how to manage the financial implications. However, planning for a longer retirement is much more complex these days. Not only does your retirement nest egg have to account for more golden years, but pensions are increasingly becoming a thing of the past and Social Security benefits could be cut by 2035 if new funding sources are not secured.
That being said, let’s take a look at how you can take proactive steps to increase your ability to fund a long – and enjoyable – retirement.
There are some key strategies to adopt today as you remain in the workforce to help boost your savings and pursue the retirement you envision. They include the following strategies:
- Contributing to your 401(k)
- Meet your employer’s 401(k) match
- Opening an IRA
- Taking advantage of catch-up contributions
Even if you think you have enough saved for a long retirement, there are bound to be expenses you haven’t anticipated or planned for. From unexpected home repair emergencies to healthcare hikes, one of the biggest retirement planning mistakes you can make is not knowing how much money you will need to live comfortably.
A flexible retirement means you may choose to work part time, or retire later in life in order to boost your retirement income. Because people are living longer and are overall healthier, they are more inclined to keep working in some capacity after they officially “retire.”
Anticipating a long life means taking the long view in your retirement planning. Make retirement income projections that strike a balance between the risk of spending your funds too quickly and spending them too slowly – ultimately reducing your retirement standard of living.
In addition to understanding your expected longevity, answering the following questions can bring clarity to your retirement income needs:
- At what age do I want to retire?
- When do I want to begin claiming any Social Security benefits for which I’m eligible?
- Are my invested assets properly allocated?
- Are my investment expectations realistic?
- Am I managing current debt wisely?
- How will inflation impact my portfolio and ability to live the life I want in retirement?
- What medical expenses, including long-term care, can I expect to encounter?
Once you have taken the time to answer these questions, a Retirement Income Advisor can work with you to devise an appropriate retirement planning strategy that accounts for your unique goals and needs.
Are you looking for advice on how to secure a long, comfortable and enjoyable retirement? With over 21 years of experience, CKS Summit Group understands that living longer challenges traditional strategies for retirement planning.
There’s no need to go it alone; contact the retirement income experts at CKS today for a complementary strategy session.