In the dictionary it says to retire is to “withdraw”. The thought of withdrawing doesn’t really sit right after we have lived a long life of purpose. Especially considering the valuable insight and wisdom we have gained from life’s experiences. With greater longevity and medical advancements today, it’s possible to emerge on the other side of your retirement transition living a life of abundance. Rather than withdrawing, I prefer to think I will be transforming when it’s time for me to step aside from DBR & CO. But transforming to what?
At some point, we all need to think about what our retirement will look like. Not only what it can be given our individual circumstances, but also what we want it to look like in a perfect world. For many in or near retirement today, that has meant investing and saving to support a retirement in perpetuity. It involves focusing on having enough income to ensure a comfortable retirement throughout our lifetime and potentially beyond for future generations.
Due to a number of factors today, retirement success means more than financial security. In a changing world, a suitable mindset may be just as important. Many retirees can find fulfillment in staying active professionally or pursuing new career paths during their later years. In fact, many of our clients are choosing to continue their careers well into their 70s. Why? Because they can. The prospect of me someday telling everyone “I’m retired” just doesn’t sound right to me. Not anymore. If feeling retired becomes our mindset, we may become stuck and unable to really progress toward reinventing ourselves for the next chapter that awaits us. We may truly withdraw.
For many of our clients, we are seeing notable shifts in their retirement mindset. Today’s retirees face new opportunities that didn’t exist for previous generations. When I started my business in 1993, the typical mindset was to work hard for many years and eventually retire from something. Well, today, it’s much easier to retire to something. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25.8% of 65–74-year-olds were still working as of 2021 and that number is projected to rise to 30.7% by 2031¹.
So how do we preserve our wealth to the extent we can transition to another career, passion, or cause? One way this can be done is by investing our money for generations in the same manner that well-run foundations or other institutions do. Successful investors don’t try to time the market by jumping in and out. Instead, they remain invested and add to their portfolios over time, allowing uninterrupted compounding to do the work. This is commonly referred to as dollar cost averaging. Legendary investors Warren Buffet and Howard Marks have laid claim that their success is due to making the right calls in buying, not selling. Buffett has been known to invest during difficult periods for the market, famously buying a stake in Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis and in Bank of America when that bank ran into trouble a few years later.
Increased longevity has had a major impact on this new way of thinking about retirement. This includes attitudes toward Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration, the average life expectancy for someone 65-years-old is around 84 years for males and 87 for females³. Married individuals tend to live even longer, with a greater than average probability of at least one spouse living to age 90. When social security was introduced in the 1930s, life expectancy was only 58 for men and 62 for women, so retiring at age 62 wouldn’t put stress on the system. It is important to remember that social security was never meant to be the sole source of anyone’s long-term retirement income.
As a fiduciary we have the ability to steward all of the important aspects of retirement today. This can include important details such as a proper estate plan to avoid unnecessary taxes, securing the right long term care insurance and putting a plan in place for predictable income. As a smaller, yet accomplished team of specialists we can provide for every need in-house. We recently announced that we have again earned CEFEX® (Center for Fiduciary Excellence) certification, which requires the equivalent of an IRS audit each year. This esteemed certification is held by only 140 firms worldwide that adhere to high standards representing the best practices in the retirement planning industry. It makes us well-positioned to assist our clients in today’s changing retirement mindset.
Technology can make a huge difference in what retires can accomplish today. The availability of online resources and access to information and technological tools makes it easier to track progress, make informed decisions, and adjust income strategies accordingly. There has never been an easier time to remain nimble after retirement.
Proper retirement planning should be individualized and should consider your personal circumstances, or even non-conforming dreams for the future. The best thing about having a successful plan for retirement is the freedom to do anything you choose, whether it’s a life of leisure or a new career. Retirement is not the end game anymore. Don’t settle for a retirement that is any less than the life you have led pre-retirement. It’s an opportunity to design a second life the way you choose to live it in perpetuity.
Thanks for reading,
¹ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/civilian-labor-force-participation-rate.htm
² Internal Revenue Service https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/estate-and-gift-tax-faqs
³ Social security Administration https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html
CEFEX certified firms voluntarily undertake annual audits by independent expert analysts. This continually verifies their adherence to the applicable standard and is supplemental to oversight performed by regulators, or financial auditors.
This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only, represents only a summary of the topics discussed, and is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice or recommendations. Rather, they simply reflect the opinions and views of the author. D. B. Root & Company, LLC. does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy or investment will prove profitable. This document contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from such sources, and take no responsibility therefore. This document contains certain forward-looking statements signaled by words such as "anticipate," "expect", or "believe" that indicate future possibilities. Due to known and unknown risks, other uncertainties and factors, actual results may differ materially from the expectations portrayed in such forward-looking statements. As such, there is no guarantee that the expectations, beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this document will come to pass. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. The impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on the economy is highly uncertain. Valuations and economic data may change more rapidly and significantly than under standard market conditions. COVID-19 has and will continue based on economic forecasts to have a material impact on the US and global economy for an unknown period.
David B. Root, Jr.