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Retirement Planning > Spending in Retirement

Retirees Worry About Security, Bills: Nationwide

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What You Need to Know

  • A quarter of retired investors in the survey reported that they continue to pay off their mortgage.
  • More than 60% of respondents said they have a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk.
  • Fifty-nine percent of advisors said their clients are confirming beneficiary designations to prepare their heirs.

New research from Nationwide finds that nearly a third of retired investors expect to be less secure in their retirement than their parents and grandparents were. A fifth of retirees worry about being able to pay their monthly bills.

“The picture of life after retirement has changed for many people as economic stressors continue to weigh on retired investors,” Mike Morrone, vice president of Nationwide Annuity Business Development, said in a statement. 

“Now is the time for advisors and financial professionals to check in with their clients and help them remain calm, nimble and informed in the face of continued economic headwinds, ensuring the plan they have in place continues to position them for a secure retirement.”

The Harris Poll conducted an online survey on Nationwide’s behalf in January among 518 advisors and financial professionals and 2,346 adult investors with investable assets of $10,000 or more. Investors included a subset of 391 people 55 to 65 who are not retired, and subsets of 346 single women and 726 married women.

Reevaluating Financial Commitments

Besides meeting short-term financial obligations like basic living expenses, 26% of retired investors in the survey reported that they continue to pay off their mortgage, and 25% said they are still paying down credit card debt.

A retirement of leisure and travel is not on the horizon for many retired investors who are having to adjust priorities to make ends meet in the wake of economic constraints, the survey found. 

Thirty-nine percent of retired respondents said they are spending less on entertainment to meet financial commitments in today’s economic environment, and 34% are taking fewer trips or vacations.

To compensate further, 22% of retired investors are drawing more funds from retirement accounts, intensifying the traditional decumulation stage, Nationwide said.

Retirees’ Strategies

As they confront financial headwinds, 63% of retired investors said they have a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk, up from 54% last summer.

However, these retirement plans look different from the plans of generations past, according to Nationwide. 

Twelve percent of retirees reported that they are abandoning the 70% to 80% spending rule, ensuring they have that amount of their pre-retirement income per year in retirement, and 11% are casting aside the 4% rule, the amount they withdraw from their retirement portfolio each year when retired.

Retired investors in the survey are also initiating conversations about legacy planning and wealth transfer with their heirs. 

Thirty-two percent of retirees said they are discussing wishes for end of life, such as long-term care expenses and funeral preferences, and 34% are discussing financial details of their estate with heirs.

Guiding Clients Toward Retirement Security

“Advisors are recognizing and acknowledging investors’ desire to avoid making the wrong moves in retirement,” Morrone said. 

They are helping them protect their savings and plan for income they will not outlive by reinforcing the value of different retirement solutions and products, such as annuities.

Twenty-three percent of advisors surveyed said they are counseling retired clients on how to generate guaranteed income as a way to help them achieve financial security in the post-work years. Twenty-one percent are helping clients prioritize wants vsersus needs, and 16% are advising them on how to supplement income when that becomes a necessity.

Advisors are also working with investors to plan for lingering financial commitments. These include mortgages, which 34% of advisors said their clients plan to continue paying in retirement.

With the “great wealth transfer” underway, advisors are helping retired clients and their heirs prepare. Fifty-nine percent of advisors said their clients are confirming beneficiary designations to prepare their heirs for the transfer and management of wealth. 

Another 54% reported that their clients are reviewing or creating estate planning documents, and 44% said that clients are building financial confidence and knowledge.


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