Since I began working in this field in 2008, a consistent fear has emerged with seniors: the fear of outliving their money. On one hand, it’s good news. People are living longer. But with a longer lifespan comes that added responsibility of needing more money to support those additional golden years.
As financial advisors who serve the senior market, all of you are in a unique position to work with your senior clients and help them carve out a financial plan that will keep them from outliving their assets.
[See also: Seniors Speak Out on Fianancial Advisors]
We reached out to seniors to get a better idea on what they’re doing to keep the dollars flowing throughout their lives (or, in some cases, what they’re not doing). Following are highlights from those conversations.
Without the lottery I’m in trouble. I’m only partly kidding. I’m blessed with good genes. Both of my parents are in their early 90s and still alive. Using that as an example, I’ve got another 30 years to worry about. Not only that, but I’ve been taking care of my parents and two of my grandkids who I had to take on when my daughter got in some trouble. The good thing is I’ve always been a saver. From the very start, I always set aside as much money as I could afford each month. Another thing is I have good benefits. I worked for the government until I retired. I never did make all that much in salary, but the benefits are great and seem to pay me almost as much as my job did. The last thing is our family owns some land here that we’ve all held onto for the right time to sell. Even though the real estate market has taken a hit, we figure we’ll sell in the next few years and that will provide us all with additional income.
Mel, 63 Castle Rock, Colo.
You have to have a plan to get to the finish line. I’ve been fortunate. Before I retired I worked as a motivational speaker. I made money and I saved it. I made sure to put away twenty percent of my income into investments. That’s advice my daddy gave me and it’s something I did for nearly 50 years, every year, before I retired. Whenever I see friends or family now, who didn’t heed that advice, I always tell them: it’s never too late to start, but you better not waste another day.
Dave, 69 Chicago, Ill.
I recently met with a financial advisor for the first time. I realize I should have done something like this a long time ago. I guess I had somewhat of an ostrich mentality. I know that’s a dumb way to go about it, but I knew the news was going to be bad. Well, the advisor made it crystal clear that if I kept on living the way I am living, I wouldn’t have the money I need to get me through my retirement. So, what do we do next? Well, first off, we downsize. Essentially, we need to get the money off the books. The house is paid for. That’s one good strike for me. It’s clear, so, we sell it and then use that cash into an annuity that will pay me money every month. It’s sort of like being on an allowance, but it’s one I think I can live with. And I’ll have money to do things.
Matthew, 68 Salem, Ore.