An auto accident. A house fire. A natural disaster. Life is unpredictable. That's why you have insurance. It protects you in the face of the unknown and, just as important, can give you peace of mind. Retirement planning is no different - the more prepared you are, the more comfortable your retirement can be.
Retirement concerns for most people tend to center on health and money, which are in many ways intertwined. For example, your health plays into how long you can work, how much you'll need to spend on insurance and medical care, where you can live, and your quality of life in retirement. Peace of mind in retirement comes with having planned ahead -putting you in control rather than at the mercy of the unknown.
The first step in making retirement plans is awareness - you have to understand the potential pitfalls before you can address them. That's why we've put together this list of the top five retirement concerns you'll want to consider when mapping your retirement strategy:
1. Outliving your money
The general population is living longer, and many of us haven't banked enough for retirement. Genuine concerns include the possibility of having to work until you die or living on a budget that's just enough to hold you over from one Social Security check to the next.
2. When to draw Social Security
Although you can draw reduced Social Security benefits at 62, the longer you wait (up to age 70), the bigger the payout. The decision about when to begin drawing Social Security benefits likely will be based largely on your health, how long you plan on working, and your assets.
3. Earning low interest rates
Paltry rates on certificates of deposits, money market, and savings accounts limit the options for growing retirement funds. What's more, if you've dipped into emergency funds due to setbacks such as a job loss, you may be struggling to catch up.
4. Paying long-term debts
The debts many people now carry later in life are different from those older adults had a few decades ago. For example, 30 percent of homeowners over 65 are still paying on a mortgage1, and many people are carrying student loan debt well into their 40s and 50s. If paying down debt is preventing you from saving for retirement, you'll need another means for generating income in your later years.
5. Allocating assets
Financial professionals have traditionally advised their clients to temper an aggressive asset management strategy the closer they get to retirement. If you need to catch up or create an additional revenue stream to supplement Social Security, you may need to explore different options for income generation.
One way to hedge against these pitfalls is with a mix of insurance and financial solutions. Annuities, for example, can allow you to accumulate assets, supplement Social Security or a pension, and receive a steady income stream for a set number of years, or even the rest of your life. Cash-value growth in variable and universal life insurance policies could provide an additional resource of funds in retirement.
There are many more options are available, and a financial advisor can help you figure out where you stand in relation to where you want to be - and to help you get there when you're ready.