Low-interest rates, volatile markets, inflation fears and other factors pose huge challenges to investors seeking retirement income. Learn more.
Securing sufficient retirement income is challenging in a time of prevailing low interest rates, volatile financial markets and the threat of inflation. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards provides the following guidance for investors establishing retirement income:
1. Don’t Confuse Safety with Regular Payments. That’s the advice certified financial planner Eleanor Blayney gave in the October Let's Make a Plan newsletter from the CFP Board. Fixed-income products may provide predictable income, Blayney explains, but they still pose risks. In the current low-interest environment, yields may be too low to generate sufficient retirement income or to keep pace with inflation.
2. Don’t “Marry” a Withdrawal Rate. Many advisors agree that retirees can safely withdraw funds at a yearly rate of 4 percent from their investment portfolio, Blayney said, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Changing market conditions and personal circumstances may justify a higher or lower withdrawal rate. The variables are shifting and complicated, prompting most affluent investors to consult with an advisor. A recent Millionaire Corner study shows that 56 percent of Millionaires (individuals with $1 million to $5 million in investable assets) have received professional advice on establishing a cash flow, and 17 percent plan to do so in the future.
3. Don’t Overlook Tax Liabilities. Withdrawals from taxable and tax-deferred retirement accounts carry differing tax liabilities, which can slowly erode assets and retirement income, making tax-advantaged withdrawals can be critical to maintaining retirement security, Blayney said. Most Millionaires nearing or in retirement seek professional advice on implementing tax-advantaged strategies, according to our research.
4. It’s the Timing. Bear and bull markets have huge implications for retirement income. According to Blayney, withdrawals taken during a bear market can reduce the longevity of a retirement portfolio by several years. Market volatility is a key variable in calculating a safe withdrawal rate.
5. Watch Your Wallet. Retirees tend to focus on securing retirement income, but their rate of spending is equally important, said Blayney. Studies suggest that careful budgeting in retirement can be the most important factor in preserving a nest egg and ensuring retirement income.