retirement age

Four on the Floor

With many Americans routinely living 25 to 30 years into retirement—or more—it’s time to rethink planning horizons.


Key Takeaways:

·         Successful retirees know how much they need to maintain a reasonable lifestyle; how much they need to save to get there; and how much they can reasonably withdraw from investment accounts each year.

·         The long-standing 4-percent drawdown rule may no longer be a viable benchmark.

·         Retirees must manage three types of risk as they age: investment and portfolio risk, consumption and inflation risk, and, finally, mortality and longevity risk.

 

The American College launched a doctoral program in retirement planning to help academicians and practitioners look more closely at the coming retirement crisis and help identify possible solutions. Much has been written in the past few years regarding the new thinking that has emerged regarding safe withdrawal rates and floor income.

At the core of retirement planning are three key questions:

  • First, how much capital is needed at retirement in order to maintain a reasonable lifestyle until death?

  • Second, how much should be saved to reach this goal?

  • Third, how much can be reasonably withdrawn from an investment account to sustain this lifestyle without running the risk of depleting the investment portfolio?

 

Embedded in these questions are issues of significant importance. Without a keen understanding of the possible answers and their ramifications, you and your advisors could run the risk of making poor decisions that will not be discovered until it is potentially too late. Yet it’s easy for retirees to be lulled into a false sense of security and ambivalence from which they might never recover.

Is the 4-percent drawdown rule still viable?

 

At the core of this problem is the four percent rule first proposed in 1994 by William Bengen, CFP. His historical analysis of rolling returns concluded investors could withdraw an inflation-adjusted four percent annually from their portfolios with impunity. This soon became the benchmark for distribution planning for nearly two decades. It took the lost decade (2000 to 2009) for many people, including experienced financial advisors to realize that markets are potentially dangerous to a retiree’s wealth.

Dr. Moshe Milevsky, Dr. Wade Pfau and other researchers, using Monte Carlo simulations (that’s not gambling, but a sophisticated financial scenario planning tool), have questioned whether this conclusion is as bulletproof as Bengen suggested. Their research and modeling show a high probability of failure due to “sequence risk”—caused by an unfortunate cycle of down markets. If this happens during the first few years of your retirement, there is virtually no way to recover. You could find yourself in a downward spiral with no way to escape.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Three phases of retirement and risk factors

The investor life cycle has built on three phases:

1. Accumulation,

2. Transition and

3. Decumulation.


In each phase, you must be aware of how these risks will impact your investment and portfolio risk, your consumption and inflation risk, and finally, your mortality and longevity risk. Early models for retirement planning treated all three phases the same. Additionally, there was little thought given to whether the “go go” years of early retirement required the same amount of income as the “slow go” or “no go” years later in your retirement years. Is there an optimum “glide path” for distributions instead of a straight upward slope including inflation? Should you ask your advisor about growth strategies for your portfolio if you are in your 80s, retired and have no legacy intent?

Strategically, does it make sense to grow your portfolio as large as possible, with no eye toward a safe withdrawal rate. Or, should you instead have a floor of real income that cannot be outlived? Dr. Wade Pfau has invested hours of research and effort to show options and ways for retirees to evaluate an optimal divestiture strategy. With no bailout strategy or floor income, a retiree could be heading off the proverbial cliff without an escape route.

What is being termed the Fourth Generation of retirement planning has moved past this prehistoric thinking and is now more focused on a guaranteed income by utilizing a floor to prevent total devastation in the no-go years. Longevity planning is becoming more and more relevant as retirees routinely live 25 to 30 years past retirement.

New strategies include longevity insurance, building this floor with bond ladders and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) or annuities (using mortality credits). Other studies focus on lifestyle “glide paths” that allocate more income in the go-go years of retirement instead of using constantly inflating income assumptions with no practical consideration of age-based spending (not forgetting long-term-care risks). The amount allocated to the floor portion of the portfolio is based on the amount of wealth and income needed. Any surplus would be invested in the capital markets.

Factors that need analysis include risk tolerance, age and bequests considerations. In addition, wise retirees and their advisors will build a “sequence risk” buffer into their portfolio to protect against the dreaded market crash in a capital market portfolio, guarding against a crash during the first six years of retirement (the most vulnerable period). Asset allocation for retirement takes on a whole different meaning from how a portfolio is structured—large and small cap, domestic and international, value and growth.

Conclusion


Retirement planning has entered a new phase of analytics that will both retirees and those who advise them. Be on the lookout for new thinking and strategies to help you and your advisor build sustainable and personally rewarding income streams that will last a lifetime (and beyond).

Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail info@diversifiedassetmanagement.com.

 

The views, opinion, information and content provided here are solely those of the respective authors, and may not represent the views or opinions of Diversified Asset Management, Inc.  The selection of any posts or articles should not be regarded as an explicit or implicit endorsement or recommendation of any such posts or articles, or services provided or referenced and statements made by the authors of such posts or articles.  Diversified Asset Management, Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such third party information or content, and does not undertake to verify or update such information or content. Any such information or other content should not be construed as investment, legal, accounting or tax advice.

Incorporating Philanthropy into Your Financial Plan, Part 1

Smart giving strategies for every economic climate


Key Takeaways:

  • As record numbers of boomers approach retirement age, their focus shifts to distribution of assets rather than accumulating wealth.

  • Affluent millennials look for ways to have impact rather than just give away dollars.

  • Do your homework before you give.

  • A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a perfect giving tool for all economic climates. Sock away money in the good years, and give from it in the lean years.

The latest Giving USA data shows that charitable donations rose for the fifth consecutive year to nearly $360 billion—passing its pre-recession peak and likely to continue the upward trend.  Researchers indicated that another recession could hurt giving slightly, even though the number of aging boomers coming into liquidity events should offset a downturn to some extent.

As more and more boomers turn 65 every day, the focus shifts to distribution of assets rather than to thinking solely about accumulation of wealth. Giving is a function of individual capacity, which too often is a perception rather than an actual quantified ability.

Giving is not just for boomers and retirees

More and more wealthy younger people are giving generously earlier in their lives. Are millennials really more charitably inclined than boomers and Gen Xers, or are we just hearing more about the good deeds of extremely wealthy tech entrepreneurs?

Experts on philanthropy say that millennials have a more overt concern about the world around them. The problems of the world are very much “front and center” for them because of the Internet and its social media outlets. That said, millennials look for ways to have impact rather than just give away dollars.

Is charitable giving really tied to the economy and financial markets?

Many experts believe there is a tremendous linkage between levels of giving and the types of giving and investment and economic cycles. Charitable giving rises in good times, and, sadly, falls when times are tough. A study of charitable giving during recessions since 1967 found that giving during recessions dropped by slightly more than 1 percent on average, while it rose significantly during the good years. This poses a serious dilemma for charities that don’t have endowments to help cushion the drying up of charitable giving during the lean years. It also creates strategic challenges for family foundations and individual philanthropists who during the lean times see greater need in the human services arena.

We know of one family that was faced with having to reduce its commitment to environmental causes during the economic blizzard of 2008-09. As the family’s wealth and its foundation capital recovered dramatically post-crisis, they are giving even more today they did prior to 2008 to environmental causes they support.

As for good and bad years in the economy, a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a perfect tool. Sock away money in your good years, and give from it in the lean years. For donors approaching retirement, the same logic applies. Fund the DAF during your highly taxed working years, get the deduction then, and in your retirement years, make gifts from the DAF. For those who are more technically minded, or if you are the owner of a closely held business or commercial real estate, gifting such property to a DAF can be a smart move. Such transfers can be part of a business exit plan if you have philanthropic goals and want to become more involved in your community post-exit.

How can people of means to have a more “balanced portfolio” of giving?
The most effective philanthropy needs to be driven not by balance but by three things: head, heart and mind. And not necessarily in that order.

Giving to arts and culture has always been strong. People strongly support a wide range of causes that they’re passionate about--and there is some status assigned to supporting the arts. Giving to human services is a challenge with program effectiveness and real change. While arts received larger portions of giving, a balanced portfolio is generally not advised. Much of the giving research indicates that depth, not width, is advisable for donors. More impact can be achieved, more data evaluated by narrowing focus.

We know from the world of business how critical sustainability is to long-term success. Why should it be any different within the realm of charity? It’s imperative that philanthropists and foundations look critically at the sustainability of the organizations and projects they are funding. Failure to think “sustainably” creates a great risk charitable dollars won’t have as much impact or as lasting an impact as the giver might hope.

Purposeful philanthropy is the art of thoughtfully, intentionally and purposefully integrating the passion, spirit and commitment of philanthropy into the fabric of your family system. When you encourage each member of your family to participate in giving that honors the individual values and interests of your family members, there is an almost inevitable balancing that will occur in the grant-making and giving process.

A good next step for a donor hoping to be more strategic and impactful in giving would be exploring a Community Foundation and books such as, Inspired Legacies by Tracy Gary or Give Smart by Tierney and Fleishman.

Philanthropy is not necessarily about giving away to charities. It is about having impact. It is about the sustainability for your children and grandchildren of the world you live in. It is about the recognition that every dollar you invest is impact investing because it is impacting something.

Conclusion

In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss charitable tools, techniques and philosophies that you can use today to add value to your planned giving goals.

Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail info@diversifiedassetmanagement.com.

 

The views, opinion, information and content provided here are solely those of the respective authors, and may not represent the views or opinions of Diversified Asset Management, Inc.  The selection of any posts or articles should not be regarded as an explicit or implicit endorsement or recommendation of any such posts or articles, or services provided or referenced and statements made by the authors of such posts or articles.  Diversified Asset Management, Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such third party information or content, and does not undertake to verify or update such information or content. Any such information or other content should not be construed as investment, legal, accounting or tax advice.

Will I Avoid the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision?

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) applies to Social Security recipients who have their own retirement savings as well as a pension from an employer who did not pay into Social Security.  The purpose of WEP is to disallow for the collection of full Social Security benefits when a retiree has retirement savings and a pension from employers who opted out of Social Security (commonly local government).  Read on to see if you could have your Social Security benefits reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision.

Have you worked for an employer that did not withhold for Social Security (such as a govt. agency)?

If you have not, then the WEP does not apply to you and will be eligible for full Social Security benefits.  If “yes,” then move on to the next question.

Do you qualify for Social Security benefits from work you did in previous jobs?

If not, then you will not be subject to the WEP.  If you have, move on.

Are you a federal worker in the FERS retirement system and first hired after 12/31/1983?

If you are a federal worker who meets the conditions outlined above, you will not be subject to WEP.  If you are not a federal worker or are a federal worker and do not meet the above conditions, you may be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision.

The Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision is complicated and has a large influence on your retirement situation should it affect you.  Check out this flowchart to learn more.

If you would like to schedule a call to talk the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision to see if it affects you, please give us a call at 303-440-2906 or click here here to schedule a time to speak with us.

Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail info@diversifiedassetmanagement.com.

 

The views, opinion, information and content provided here are solely those of the respective authors, and may not represent the views or opinions of Diversified Asset Management, Inc.  The selection of any posts or articles should not be regarded as an explicit or implicit endorsement or recommendation of any such posts or articles, or services provided or referenced and statements made by the authors of such posts or articles.  Diversified Asset Management, Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such third party information or content, and does not undertake to verify or update such information or content. Any such information or other content should not be construed as investment, legal, accounting or tax advice.

Solve the Self-Employed Retirement Dilemma

 

Solve the Self-Employed Retirement Dilemma

Here’s how to figure out the best retirement plan for your situation

The challenges of self-employment seem endless. You are your own chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, chief executive and junior assistant. With all of the roles you play, it’s no wonder that you haven’t spent much time planning for retirement.

The good news is that the right retirement plan can address more than just your retirement—it can help lower your taxes and reduce the need to rely on a welfare system in your retirement years. And you don’t have to search alone for that plan: Your financial advisor can help you weigh your plan options and build an appropriate investment strategy once you choose a plan. And your accountant can calculate the potential tax savings this new retirement plan will generate.

So which plan is right for you? The first option you should consider is an IRA or a Roth IRA. Both offer tax advantaged growth, but in different ways: The IRA grows tax deferred, meaning your contributions are tax deductible but you won’t owe taxes on your savings until you start making withdrawals. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made after taxes, but you won’t owe any taxes when you take withdrawals.

Anyone can contribute to an IRA, but not everyone is allowed to make tax deductible contributions. For instance, if you already have a retirement plan in place, your contributions likely won’t be deductible. But if you have a retirement plan, you may still be able to contribute to a Roth IRA, which bases eligibility on income levels. (In 2018, the Roth IRA income eligibility limits phase out between $120,000 and $135,000 for single filers and eligibility limits phase out between $189,000 and $199,000 for married couples filing jointly.) For 2018, individuals can make annual contributions of up to $5,500 to both IRAs and Roth IRAs. If you’re over 50, your limit rises to $6,500 a year thanks to an extra $1,000 in catch-up contributions allowed for older individuals.

If you want to save more than an IRA or Roth IRA allows, consider a formal retirement plan such as a Simple IRA, SEP IRA or an Individual 401(k).

  • The Simple IRA is easy to establish. You can contribute a maximum of $12,500 annually if you are under 50 and $15,500 if you are over 50. In addition, you can contribute 3% of any W-2 wages. One note: The deadline to establish a Simple IRA is October 31, so don’t wait until the end of the year to open an account.

  • The next option is a SEP IRA. The annual limit for a SEP IRA is $55,000 or 25% of self-employment income if you are paying yourself a salary. The deadline to establish the SEP IRA is your tax filing deadline plus extensions. Therefore, you can put off starting a SEP IRA until well into 2019. For that reason we call it “the procrastinator’s retirement plan.”

  • The third option is the Individual 401(k). The annual contribution limit for this 401(k) is $55,000 if you are under 50 and $61,000 if you are over 50. The 401(k) can either be a traditional 401(k) (contributions are pre-tax, but withdrawals are taxed) or a Roth 401(k) (contributions are after tax money, but withdrawals are tax free).

  • There are no income limits for the Roth 401(k). The deferral is made up of two parts. The first part is the employee portion, which has a limit of $18,500 if you are under 50 and $24,500 if you are over 50. This deferral can either go into the 401(k), the Roth 401(k) or a combination of both. The remainder is the employer contribution, which has a limit of 25% of compensation.

  • The deadline to establish this plan is December 31 of this year. The employer contributions can be contributed later but employee deferrals need to be in as soon as they are withheld from your paycheck. Therefore, you can’t wait like the SEP.

How do these plans stack up? Let’s look at an example. Say you are self-employed and you pay yourself $50,000 in W-2 salary. Here are the limits for each plan.

Retirement Plan summary.PNG

What’s the verdict? The 401(k) is the big winner. The Simple IRA is a good option for those with lower incomes, while the SEP is good for those who tend to procrastinate.

If these contribution limits are not enough, then you might want to consider a Defined Benefit Plan, which can be paired with a 401(k). Contribution limits to Defined Benefit plans are based on actuarial calculations, but you could be able to contribute $200,000 or more each year.

As always, it is important to coordinate with your financial professional to see what plan is best for you. Please contact me if you’d like to explore your retirement savings options.

Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail info@diversifiedassetmanagement.com.

The views, opinion, information and content provided here are solely those of the respective authors, and may not represent the views or opinions of Diversified Asset Management, Inc.  The selection of any posts or articles should not be regarded as an explicit or implicit endorsement or recommendation of any such posts or articles, or services provided or referenced and statements made by the authors of such posts or articles.  Diversified Asset Management, Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of any such third party information or content, and does not undertake to verify or update such information or content. Any such information or other content should not be construed as investment, legal, accounting or tax advice