Recently I found myself trying desperately to catch my connecting flight on the way home from a business trip, just to find out that I had just missed the flight by only about 15 minutes. Being in the airport for about a six hour layover I saw a picture of a magazine cover with Dr. Oz on it. It was titled “The Good Life”. It brought to my mind the title of a book I had recently been reading entitled “Stress Free Retirement”.
Throughout my 33 year carrier as insurance agent and financial services professional and finally as a financial advisor, I have seen the good, bad and sometimes the ugly of retirement life with those I interview.
I thought in this blog I would share with you what I have seen as the 3 common threads of those who have a good or even a great retirement life.
1. Guarantee your income
Almost all happy retirees have in common a systematic guaranteed stream of income that provides an amount equal to or greater than the amount that they need to live comfortably in their retirement years. As opposed to those who are constantly watching their investment portfolio to make sure they don’t make the wrong move and lose so much of it that it affects their livelihood. Believe it or not I have seen some retires that may have meager retirement incomes of $30,000 a year. They have no debts and live in a small enough house that they don’t have a lot of utility bills etc. They actually have a surplus every month. They plan little trips to vacation spots, granted not exotic yet relaxing and entertaining. Additionally they have accumulated over the years a couple of CD’s and a small brokerage account totaling around $50,000 that they can tap for emergencies. They are happy. The key to their happy financial life is guaranteed predictable income. I have met many others who do not have any guaranteed income for life and have many investments that total millions of dollars and even if their retirement investments average a meager 2% they would be able to life financially happy life. That is a very small population.
What is the solution and how can someone arrange some of their savings to provide this predictable guaranteed income? It’s very simple… set up a Fixed Indexed Annuity with a guaranteed income rider. This will assure you a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. You have essentially set up a private pension plan for yourself much like a social security income. Some of these also have a higher payout if you need long term care.
2. Build a surplus account inside of your budget
Make sure that the income mentioned in #1 above is a little more than what you need to pay for the necessities or your monthly bills. This way you will always know that you will have some surplus for emergencies in the future.
3. Plan for inflation
If you start your retirement early, let’s say in your 50s, you will need to remember that inflation could increase significantly in your retirement years. You might be in retirement for 30-40 years. When we begin to think about inflation, we only need to only go back a few years. Remember how much gas was just 20 years ago. How about a loaf of bread? Gas has gone from a national average of $1.10 per gallon, all the way up to $3.64 per gallon. Your loaf of bread used to only cost $0.71 cents. If you were to purchase the same loaf of bread today, it would be approximately $2.20. Some healthier whole grain breads can even go as high as $5… that is inflation at work.
What if you could set up a guaranteed predictable income that could keep up with inflation as it goes up? These programs are available.
Once you have considered the above and taken action you can now feel confident that your money will last your whole life with your future secure and then you can have the luxury of investing any other amount that is still in your investment portfolio into any suitable asset class and not worry about market fluctuations.
I hope you find your stress free retirement. Life is too short not to have it!
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