There’s no time to lose in securing your retirement | NevadaAppeal.com

There’s no time to lose in securing your retirement

William Creekbaum
For the Nevada Appeal

Studies show that wealth alone is no guarantee of a secure retirement. That’s why I think it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll need.

Even if you are doing well, plentiful assets and a good income are probably not enough to get rid of your worries about retirement, at least not according to new studies of high net worth investors. Thousands of affluent boomers and Gen Xers studied by Wharton and State Street Global Advisors expressed fears about outlasting their money.

You may be worried about preserving your standard of living in the face of market downturns, inflation and health care costs during a retirement that may last 30 years. In fact, 57 percent of those surveyed cited rising health care costs as their number-one concern. And if you’re in the younger half of those surveyed, a lack of traditional pensions and Social Security and Medicare safety nets is probably also on your mind.

Experts agree that wealth alone is no guarantee of retirement security; saving too little “runs up and down the income scale and wealth scale,” says Olivia S. Mitchell, an insurance and risk-management professor at Wharton. Comfortable living inevitably translates to spending. Though the wealthy save, Mitchell explained in the Wharton study, “people with high earnings also spend a lot” to keep the lifestyle they enjoy going.

Yes, I think there are reasons for concern. Your retirement isn’t likely to be the same as it would have been 50 years ago. The old adage was that you needed 80 percent of your current income when you retire, but nearly half of the 1,800 millionaires surveyed by the 2007 Phoenix Wealth Survey said they will need more than 100 percent.

You may even be thinking of working indefinitely, at least part time, in order to stay engaged and support a comfortable lifestyle.

Also, your life expectancy has increased, even from just a generation ago. Determining your retirement goals is a complex process, one that means taking the time to figure out what it is you really want now and down the road.

You better get to a plan. Worried as you may be, you may not have begun planning. Fifty-nine percent of high net worth investors have no formal written plan for their retirement goals. A retirement analysis can help.

Your financial advisor can run this analysis to assess your financial situation, your potential annual retirement income, your savings and investments and your tax situation.

Then, it’s time to analyze your retirement goals. Once you know what you want, your financial advisor can determine ways to help you get there, whether that involves altering your investment strategy, changing the amounts you contribute or something else entirely. The retirement analysis will provide you with a full report, including savings recommendations and sources for retirement income.

Talk to your financial advisor about how a retirement analysis might benefit you.

• William Creekbaum, MBA, CFP, a Washoe Valley resident, is senior investment management consultant of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. He can be reached at william.a.creekbaum@smithbarney.com or 689-8704.