Retirement planning during a bear market is challenging enough. But the 2023 retirement outlook includes a host of other major threats, such as high inflation and rising interest rates. Here are our top six suggestions when setting financial goals for the year ahead.
Looking back over the past few years, we have learned more than ever how important it is to be financially prepared. Financial preparedness is all about setting goals, but how often are these goals being reached?
When it comes to financial goal setting in 2023, it's important to reflect your intentions and aspirations so you can achieve your intentions in confidence. Here's what you need to know about goal setting if you are near retirement.
List and Prioritize Your Financial Goals
One of the best ways to set goals is to list them out and identify each one. Prioritize your goals from most important to least important. Write down specific details about each goal like the timeline and the amount of money you’ll need / how much you have already saved.
It's easy to think of saving as a one-and-done activity. But you can actually save for more than one goal at a time, especially if those goals are short-term and long-term. For example, you could put money away for a vacation while continuing to contribute to retirement accounts.
Take Care of Financial Basics
Once you have identified your goals, ensure that your basics are covered. Depending on where you are at with your financial planning, you may have already accomplished these steps. Here are a couple financial basics that you can keep in place that will help you build a strong foundation in the long run.
- Build an emergency fund
- Have a healthcare gameplan
- Pay off debt
- Save for retirement
- Create an Estate Plan
By making sure these are covered, it will help you pursue other goals with confidence.
Tackle Inflation Head-On
Nothing strikes as much fear into the hearts of retirees as inflation, and for good reason. The best-laid retirement plans can be wrecked by the rapid decline in value of the dollars you’ve socked away in your golden years. But inflation isn't always the big bad wolf it is portrayed to be.
According to analysis performed by the U.S. Bank Asset Management Group, stocks have held up well against inflation over the last 30 years. And while you may think of inflation simply meaning higher prices on everyday goods, for investors, it means moving some of their money to assets that benefit from inflation or at least keep up with its pace.
The following investments tend to fare well during periods of inflation:
- Commodities like gold, oil, and even soybeans should increase in price along with the finished products that are made with them.
- Inflation-indexed bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), tend to increase their returns with inflationary pressures.
- Consumer staples stocks mostly do well because price increases are passed on to consumers.
- Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) are risky choices but tend to perform well under inflationary pressure.
- Investment real estate is traditionally a safe haven but should be approached cautiously in 2022 and 2023 given the unsettled state of the industry.
Retired Americans should worry more about local property tax rates or the rising cost of health care. It’s really important not to let the emotional part of the inflation situation dictate your retirement planning strategy.
Understand Sequence of Returns Risk
You face plenty of risks when investing for retirement. Markets crash, inflation can eat into your returns, you might even worry about outliving your savings. But there’s one big retirement risk that gets very little attention: Sequence of returns risk.
Sequence-of-returns risk, or sequence risk, is the risk that an investor will experience negative portfolio returns very late in their working lives and/or early in retirement. Sequence-of-returns risk is a significant threat because retirees have little time to make up for losses that are compounded by the simultaneous drawdown of income distributions.
Protecting against sequence risk means anticipating a worst-case scenario. Don't assume that a bull market will reign throughout your golden years.
- Consider working as late as you can in order to contribute more to your retirement account, particularly in your peak earning years.
- Keep saving and investing even after you retire. If you're past age 70½, you can't use a traditional IRA but you can contribute to a Roth IRA or, for that matter, open a personal investment account.
- Diversify your portfolio. Nobody ever went broke investing in high-quality corporate and government bonds.
Create a Financial Plan to Each Your Financial Goals
Now that you have your goals and motivations, it’s time to start mapping out how they all fit together in a financial plan.
The good news is you don’t have to do this alone! You can either do the work yourself or get help from a financial professional. Either way, it’s important to understand how you’re positioned to achieve your goals.
To get started, take inventory of what you have and consider what you need. Document your income sources and expenses. Knowing how much money you can allocate to different goals each month gives you clear direction on how to move forward. Then, use your goals and their timelines as drivers for your financial plan.
Perhaps you count yourself among the self-sufficient crowd who never sought professional assistance during your working years. Maybe you’ve done just fine that way. But now that you have to deal with retirement math and estate planning, it’s maybe time to lean on the experience of others. That's where the Fiduciary advisors at Agemy Financial Strategies can help.
We can help you understand your current financial reality, and where you would ideally want to be, based on your current age and financial goals. Not sure what your goals are? We can help you with those as well. Furthermore, we can provide great insights on how to structure your finances so that you’re better able to meet your goals.
Once you learn how to identify financial goals and have a plan in place, it will slowly evolve over time. Life is a constant ebb and flow and many factors can affect your financial goals. As long as you review your goals and achievements once a year with your trusted advisor, you can review and make changes where necessary.
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we sit down with you and take the time to reflect on the purpose behind your financial goals. We will help craft a financial plan that works for you.
Looking to get your financial plan for 2023 started? Contact us to set up your complimentary consultation today.