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Four potholes in the road to retirement

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More and more Americans are putting off retirement after the recession decimated their savings – two-thirds according to a recent Sun Life survey – and 51 percent run the risk of having to downsize their lifestyle once they do, says a report from the Center for Retirement Research. Emily Brandon of U.S. News and World Report broke down the four biggest factors affecting your clients’ retirements.

Housing market decline. The decline in house prices led to an increase in Americans at risk of downsizing their retirements, Brandon writes. Even if your clients aren’t planning on selling their home, if they want to take advantage of a reverse mortgage, they’ll have less equity available on the house.

Stock market slump. When the market careened out of control it eroded retirement plans invested in stocks. Those with traditional plans managed to escape the worst of the market fall, but 401(k)s were devastated.

Lower interest rates. While good for borrowers, clients who are still trying to build – or rebuild – a nest egg are getting the shaft.

Reduced Social Security. While retirees can claim benefits as early as 62, full retirement age is 65 for people born in 1937 or earlier, and increases to 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. Claiming benefits early can reduce the payment amount between 20 percent and 25 percent.