Friday, November 18, 2016

The Retirement Plan-Success of Failure

When one reads about retirement planning, the writer usually focuses on planning for retirement. An equally important part of that plan needs to focus on what to do after retirement. A spending plan normally covers the adequacy of income over expenses during retirement and whether or not that income is sufficient over a long period of time. A well-developed spending plan is much more than that. Increasing life spans (and the corresponding lengthening of retirement years) has some interesting consequences.

A symposium at the recent Financial Advisors “Inside Retirement” conference (May 5-6, 2016 in Dallas, Texas) included a discussion on why people “fail” at retirement. Failure is not defined as “bankruptcy,” or inability to retire; , only a failure to live retirement as originally planned. Some of the items discussed for such failure include the following:

  1. Health Care—Health care costs are increasing, even if one has health insurance. A retired couple could easily face medical costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over their life spans. A USA Today article (March 14, 2015, “How much will health care cost in retirement?”) quoted a study indicating that a man will spend $116,000 on health care in retirement; a woman will spend $131,000. Fidelity Investments has projected that a 65 year old couple retiring in 2015 will spend $245,000 on health care during their retirement.
  2. Divorce—Surprisingly, an increase in divorces in the 50 plus age group has appeared. The reduction in assets from such a separation means a potentially lower standard of living for both parties. Multiple marriages (through divorce or death) may also bring the necessity of planning for a subsequent re-marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements, especially where a disparity of assets exists between the couple, can prevent many future problems and are a definite item to consider.
  3. Overspending—Prior to retirement, a couple may spend more (especially on week-ends when they are not working) than they do in the normal course of living with a five day a week job. At retirement, every day is Saturday! Spending patterns may need to be adjusted significantly (i.e. reduced).
  4. Children-Parenting never stops. Many children return home after college to save money until they “get established.” Helping a child with bills, a substance abuse problem, or even a special needs child can add significantly to retirement outflows.
  5. Second Home-A second home purchased prior to retirement might be easily maintained financially while working. In retirement, property maintenance, insurance, property taxes, etc. may become more of a financial burden.
  6. Business-Starting a business in retirement may sound appealing, especially if another family member (see “Children” above) is involved. Some basic rules apply: a) It will cost more than you think, and b) revenues will come in more slowly than you plan. Always have a good business plan and, if other parties are involved, have a written agreement spelling out what is to be done. Allocate a set dollar amount (the maximum which you can afford to lose in entirety) to prevent “throwing good money after bad.”
  7. Identity-Many individual’s identity and self-worth are associated with their professional, work life. Retirement can change that significantly. Prepare for that transition. Retire to something, not from something.
Most individuals work long and hard during their active career; they look forward to a retirement period that matches their expectations. We at Paragon Financial Advisors assist our clients in developing plans for and during retirement. Paragon Financial Advisors is a fee-only registered investment advisory company located in College Station, Texas.  We offer financial planning and investment management services to our clients.



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