Retirement Myths

FORBES MAGAZINE GOES “MYTH-BUSTER” ON US

Forbes Magazine featured a recent article, “Five Retirement Myths Worth Changing”, that shows how retirement isn’t what it used to be, and goes on to debunk some of our dearly-held retirement myths.

Most of us played by the rules: got ourselves educated and/or trained for gainful employment, showed up for work at least 5 days a week for 30 – 40 years, raised our children to be responsible citizens, kept our lawns watered and mowed, painted our house when needed, made friends with the neighbors, got involved with community issues, and now look forward to a leisurely retirement, starting at 65, is not sooner. Think again, fellow Boomers.

This article may come as a shock. Or not.

If you’ve been paying even a modicum of attention to the political debates and harangues on Medicare and Social Security, you’ve probably anticipated much of what this article lays out. It’s not a pretty picture. However, it does us to good see it in print, and hear about it from the foremost expert on the aging of America, Psychologist, Author and Retirement Guru, Ken Dychtwald.

He warns that Baby Boomers aren’t saving enough for retirement; Only 7% of workers have a guaranteed pension; One–third of Baby Boomers will end up in poverty.

Here are some retirement myths that need overhauling:
1. The Linear Life Plan: i.e, you prepared for a career, got a job and family, retire, and go on cruises.
2. The Old Retirement Definition: After the requisite number of years you get your gold watch and go home to watch the grass grow.
3. The Disengagement Policy: Upon retirement, you ride off into the sunset in your RV or sailboat and never look back.
4. The Static Financial State: Your retirement funds are firmly in place to see you through the rest of your days.

If you’re typical, none of these may apply in the 21st century. You’ll want to read the article to find out why, and what to do about it.

Dychtwald says, “If you’re the most successful one in your family, you’ll be the bank (for your less well-off siblings).” He advises that we reinvent ourselves and scrap the notion of a “do-nothing retirement” at 65.

A recent documentary on PBS’s FRONTLINE, titled “The Retirement Gamble” on the 401(k) experiment, advised that we:
1. Endeavor to keep our total investment fees at less than 1%.
2. Use Index Funds, which are slow and steady, rather than “actively-managed” funds, which can fluctuate wildly.
3. Use a provider that agrees in writing to act in your company’s 401(k) plan’s best interest.

Another Forbes article, this one by Stuart Robertson, on the PBS program — “The Retirement Gamble”, subtitled, “Will your IRA or 401(k) accounts ensure a safe retirement?” — can be read at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartrobertson/2013/05/13/pbs-frontlines-the-retirement-gamble-got-401ks-right/

This well-worth-watching documentary may be viewed at:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/retirement-gamble/

In a related article, financial planning expert, Rebekah Barsch from Northwestern Mutual, talks about the 4% Rule (withdraw 4% of your retirement fund per year), which was established in the early 1990s and based on retirements lasting 30 years maximum. People live longer now, so retirement lasts longer. She says, “There’s now a chance of 1-in-10 that you or your spouse will live past 100.” The 4% Rule requires that we die within a specified time period. She gives other reasons the 4% Solution no longer works. Read her article at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/northwesternmutual/2013/05/13/rethinking-the-4-percent-rule-in-retirement-3-reasons-why-this-may-be-a-risky-approach/

Read the rest of “Five Retirement Myths Worth Changing” for more information.  Here’s the link:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2013/05/14/five-retirement-myths-worth-changing/

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Watch for future articles on retirement planning, and tips on locating a trustworthy Retirement Advisor.

 

 

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