The pandemic and its damaging effects on the U.S. economy have caused numerous pre-retirees to claim Social Security benefits earlier than they had planned — to their detriment. That trend will continue this year, Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research at Carson Group, forecast in a late December interview with ThinkAdvisor.

He opines too about fixed indexed annuities versus bond ladders, the need to update trusts as a result of the Secure Act, the big downside to the bucketing approach to retirement portfolios, and more.

On Social Security, he worries that Americans’ anxiety over depletion of the Social Security trust fund reserve will be “a real decision-maker” next year in regard to the age they claim benefits. The fund was expected to run dry in 2034, triggering an anticipated 21% benefit cut.

Hopkins fears that the 2021 Social Security Trustees Report will forecast a years-earlier depletion date, another pandemic consequence.

Managing director of Carson Coaching and a Creighton University finance professor, Hopkins in 2021 will release the second edition of his book, “Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think about Retirement.”

He characterizes retirement planning as “trying to hit a moving target in the wind.” Target: the ultimate goal. It’s moving because the number of one’s remaining years is unknown. As for the wind, think of 2020’s headwinds as the extreme.

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