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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

Watch for RPS symptoms

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You may not have heard it described this way before, but here is something else to look out for among your clients and prospects: retirement postponement syndrome. What are the symptoms? Which conditions put your clients at greatest risk of suffering this financial malady? Based on their experience in dealing with hundreds of clients, the experts at the financial advisory firms that make up the Zero Alpha Group have identified the following five key warning signs of RPS:

  1. Banking on unsure things. If clients are counting on the sale of their home or small business to bail out underfunded retirement savings and investments, they should think again. Home prices can be mercurial, and a home may sit on the market for months. Small-business owners who rely heavily on selling their firm at a handsome profit or making a smooth transition via a family succession take a big chance on coming up short on their retirement nest egg.
  2. Falling into the T.R.A.P. Many baby boomers had children later in life than their parents, and others started a second family after 40. These circumstances can put even the most diligent saver and investor in the T.R.A.P.: tuition, retirement and (related) problems. Boomers in their 50s and early 60s with children heading to college risk seeing retirement savings substantially depleted at the worst possible time.
  3. Counting on an “econo” retirement. If clients’ retirement plans are predicated on the notion their living expenses will go down, they could be making a classic mistake.
  4. Ignoring the “sandwich.” More baby boomers are finding themselves saddled with medical and housing expenses for aging parents. Investors in such a situation are said to be in the “sandwich generation,” particularly when they are also confronted with paying for college or other expenses of one or more children.
  5. Living in their own reality show. All too many parents with children returning to live at home after college or never leaving home in the first place end up saddled with their own reality show-like headaches. More than 25 percent of Americans ages 18-34 live at home with their parents, according to U.S. Census figures.

Even smart people who know what it takes to build a solid nest egg can fall prey to one or all of these symptoms of retirement postponement syndrome. Be ready to help your clients. For more information, visit