The #1 Investing Mistake Soon-to-be Retirees Make
I’ll cut right to the chase. The #1 investing mistake soon-to-be retirees make is investing like a 25-year old. Although age is but a number in most respects; in this case, it is so much more. It affects investment strategy. And, in turn, it affects another very important number to you: your retirement savings.
From Growth Emphasis To Preservation Emphasis
Here’s why. Age should affect your approach to risk. As you get older, your portfolio should evolve from one that emphasizes growth to one that emphasizes preservation. This means that—as you approach 65—you should avoid risky and aggressive investing strategies in favor of a more conservative approach.
Aggressive strategies work well for the previously- mentioned 25-year old because in his “growth-minded” portfolio, he has time to recover from losses. Those drops in in the stock market will eventually even out over the long haul of his working life. In other words, the risk will eventually reap reward.
But you don’t have a long haul anymore. Your nest egg can’t afford to suffer any catastrophic losses because you simply don’t have the time to recover. It’s true! Now is the time for more bonds and less stocks. It’s time to roost on that nest egg. At this point in life, high risk does nothing but set you up for a great fall.
Remember the Financial Crisis of 2008?
It was a bleak time for everyone, but especially for soon-to-be retirees. According to the U.S News and World Report, retirement savers suffered 2 trillion in stock market losses!
Imagine the regret as soon-to-be retirees watched their hard-earned money slip through their fingers. Imagine the frantic worry as they thought about their retirement savings. Would they have enough savings? Would they have to go back to work part-time? Would they have to delay their retirement?
In fact, the Huffington Post claims that back in 2008, a poll concluded that 63 percent of Americans were worried about not having enough for retirement. For older Americans, the fear was probably even more intense!
So What If It Happens Again?
I’m not saying it will, at least, not with the same severity. But business cycles are consistent. The stock market will fluctuate. It can only go up for so long before it takes a turn for the worse.
And where will that leave you? In the U.S. News and World Report article “How Did Your 401(k) Really Stack Up in 2008,” the author points out that during the financial crisis stocks fell 38% while bonds dropped only 8%. This just goes to show that more conservative strategies (like bonds) do better in a recession. You can’t avoid loss during stock market crashes, but you can lessen the impact by adjusting your risk!
The Moral of the Story: Assess (and Reassess) Your Risk
Over the last couple of months, we’ve had half a dozen or so retirees come in with sky scraping risk scores. On a scale from 1-100 with 100 being the most aggressive, their scores were anywhere from 75-90. This is astounding! Why would they be so risky so late in life?
There are a number of reasons, but I think the most common one is that they simply don’t know. One of those previously mentioned clients told us that her portfolio was very conservative, and it turned out being a 76! Imagine if her stocks suddenly plummeted. With risk like that, it wouldn’t be surprising to lose 25-35%.
We don’t want this to be you! We want you to plan ahead, to become an expert on your investment strategy as you approach retirement. Because—although we want you to live like a 25-year old—we don’t want you to invest like one.
Want to perform a risk analysis? Contact Seniormark at 937-492-8800 to set up a free consultation.