There are a lot of retirees, or near retirees, who have not had to navigate real market volatility for around a decade. And as any retiree knows, high volatility in or at retirement is a very scary prospect. However, there are ways to navigate it. Some tips including keeping a cash buffer, going bargain hunting in the market to find undervalued stocks, and re-evaluating stock exposure. Rotating into sectors that do well in downturns, like consumer staples, healthcare etc, can also be smart.
FINSUM: This is good advice. That said, the US may not be headed into a really bad economic and market scenario, so it may not be wise to get too defensive.
Retirement income is such an important aspect of a financial advisor’s job, that one could reasonably argue it is the main duty of the profession. With that in mind, here are a couple ways to create lasting retirement income for clients. The first tip is simple, and every advisor should know it—delay claiming Social Security until 70, which significantly boosts annual income. Social Security is uniquely built to help protect against many of the risks of retirement, with one specialist saying “It’s indexed for inflation, it protects against longevity risk, and if the stock market crashes, it doesn’t go down”. The second part of this two-part strategy is to invest like one is still young. Since once is more hedged by greater Social Security income, one can afford to be more aggressive in markets.
FINSUM: This is a good basic strategy, though it requires working longer and a good degree of self-control.
Annuities are an important part of both advisors’ businesses and their clients’ portfolios. However, the options in the market can be overwhelming, especially if you are an advisor new to the asset class. The annuities business has cleaned up its act in the last few years and is finally getting some respect because of its ability to alleviate retirees’ worst fears—running out of money in retirement. Well, Barron’s has put out a list of the top 100 annuities in the market, including how to pick them. The list is quite extensive, so here is a link. The choices are broken down into numerous categories and include offerings from Lincoln National Life, Transamerica, Prudential, CUNA Mutual Group, and beyond.
FINSUM: Not only do annuities help alleviate the fear of running out of money for retirees, but they are also popular with Millennials, who are financially conservative and have a similar concern about future income.
Brokers around the country had a very positive reaction to the new version of the SEC’s Best Interest Rule which was approved last week. One of the reasons why, other than the generally light-touch direction of the regulation, is that the new rule seems to suggest that a broker can always be confident in putting money into an IRA when considering a rollover. However, the SEC has just warned brokers against this quick conclusion, saying they cannot short-circuit their analysis.
FINSUM: The way the new rule was structured seemed almost too good to be true for advisors as it appeared to heavily favor rollovers into IRAs. More analysis of the rule will be forthcoming over the next week.
Those nearing retirement are likely comforted that rates have risen and returns from fixed income are much higher than the near zero coupons of the 2008-2015 era. Pension funds are finding it easier to meet their return goals, and generally speaking, the environment for retirees is on much better footing. However, the risk of a return to zero interest rates in the next recession seems very high, according to independent research. The Fed tends to raise rates slowly and cut them quickly, so the threat of a return to zero rates seems very plausibe the next time the economy goes into reverse (maybe 2020?). Even the Fed staff itself acknowledges this likelihood.
FINSUM: The risk of a protracted return to zero interest rates is not inconsiderable and is likely one of those late night stress points for those nearing retirement (and their advisors!).