Adequate planning for retirement is critical. That planning should factor in numerous risks that retirees may face. Here are six risks that often overlooked.
1. Longevity Risk—Everyone is aware that we are living longer than previous generations. Retirement planning and lifestyle decisions made in the year just prior to retirement and in the early years of retirement should factor in this risk. Bad choices will compound into major problems as one gets older.
2. Frailty Risk—Some folks use creative strategies for withdrawing retirement funds. These can work well but require continued monitoring. What happens if someone’s frailty causes them to be unable to make needed changes to their plans? This risk should be considered.
3. Forced Retirement Risk—You may plan to work until “full-retirement age.” But what happens if health conditions make it necessary to retire early? Will your income and assets be sufficient to meet basic needs if that happens? Too many who are forced to retire early due to disability find their financial resources are totally inadequate. Plan for this possibility with adequate disability insurance and increased savings.
4. Loss of Spouse Risk—Survivor benefits should be considered. Too often income sources are cut in half but the basic living expenses continue to be nearly the same. The last thing a widow or widower needs is undue concerns about adequate income after the death of a spouse.
5. Legacy Risk—The need for adequate income during one’s life often needs to be balanced with the desire to leave assets for children and grandchildren. Some benefit approaches provide maximum income in retirement but leave nothing for heirs. Other approaches maximize benefits for the heirs but do not provide adequate retirement income. One should consider these competing issues.
6. Health Care & Long-Term Care Risks—This involves many unknowns about the future. Health care costs continue to rise at a rate much higher than overall inflation. Add to this the increased need of medical care as one ages. On average, there is a 50/50 chance you will need nursing home care in your lifetime. The need of more medical care at higher costs must be factored into retirement planning.
Don Spencer is the church financial benefits consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.