PNB: How can I make my money last a lifetime?

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To keep your golden years golden, you’ll want to make sure your money will last through retirement. Everyone’s financial situation is different, but there are some general rules you can follow so your dollars match your life span.

First, consider how much you should pull from your nest egg each year. For example, if you have a standard allocation of 50 percent stock and 50 percent fixed income and cash, taking a 3 to 4 percent distribution should preserve your principal and potentially allow it to grow.

Where people generally run into trouble is when they diverge from their distribution schedule. They dip into their principal one too many times – for good reasons like home repairs, new vehicles, grandkids’ tuition or loans to family – and they don’t pay attention to how often they do it or how much they spend.

Some people find a 3 to 4 percent distribution means they can’t maintain the lifestyle they’re used to, so they may have to adjust their expectations or go back to work to support it. One way to avoid the surprises is to plan well before your retirement date. Decide how you’ll use your money and have a road map in place in your late 40s and 50s.

How you allocate your nest egg is also important. You could use a low-risk savings account or CD, but current interest rates mean inflation might erode your principal’s purchasing power. Modest exposure to stock can help cover inflation risk, and your investment risk tolerance will determine how much exposure to take on. If most of your retirement income comes from Social Security or a pension, and you aren’t touching your nest egg, you can likely afford higher stock exposure.

As you near retirement, it might make sense to have a less-aggressive stock mix so you’re not as vulnerable to market fluctuations. Depending on your situation, you may decide to put money into places where your principal often is protected. That’s where working with a financial advisor can help you. They can help create a sound retirement plan and take the emotion out of managing your money. Park National Bank offers a no-cost, no-obligation, comprehensive retirement planning session to current and new clients.

Some other things to think about:

  • Advancements in modern medicine and overall healthier lifestyles mean you should plan for a potentially lengthy life. Many of today’s 65-year-olds will live well into their 90s, so don’t make any assumptions on your life expectancy solely based on family history or outdated trends.
  • Decide when to take Social Security. If you can delay the benefit, especially if you retire early, your monthly amount increases each year you wait. A financial advisor can help you decide on a Social Security strategy to make the biggest impact on your retirement income needs.

Mareion Royster is an assistant vice president and trust officer with Park National Bank and a financial advisor for Raymond James Financial Services. Mareion volunteers with multiple community organizations that support children, mental health, and local development. He can be reached at 740-349-3956.

Found in The Newark Advocate, April 22, 2018

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