Retirement Planning Post-Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the way Americans live, forcing many to change their daily habits and some to rethink their futures. In the midst of so much turmoil, chances are your financial situation experienced some disruptions, too.
While the world is starting to return to some kind of normalcy, before you dive back into life as it was, take some time to evaluate how the pandemic has changed the retirement planning landscape and what these changes may mean for your retirement.
The team at PAX Financial Group created this guide to highlight some of the important retirement planning elements to re-evaluate in the post-pandemic era. If you have a concern that is not addressed here or would like to discuss your specific situation with a financial advisor, don’t wait. Start a conversation.
As exciting as it may be to actually do things outside of your home again, the post-pandemic opportunities likely mean new spending habits – or at least a revision of the old. You may be spending money on activities you haven’t been able to do for a while. We’re not here to tell you to curb your spending, but anytime there is a change in your daily activities, it’s a good time to revisit your budget.
Take a look at your bank and credit card statements from before the pandemic and compare them to where you are now. Perhaps you have more savings after a year of no travel, but then again, your income may also have changed during the pandemic. Anytime you experience a major life event, use it as an opportunity to reassess your financial situation. This is also a good time to make sure you’re taking advantage of new tax and employer benefits, such as the federal Child Tax Credit and your employer 401(k) match, if offered.
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From health scares to job insecurity and extreme stock market volatility, 2020 was a year unlike any other. These events led many Americans to re-evaluate their retirement readiness.
For some, this meant reviewing their retirement plans, while for others, the pandemic pushed them into full retirement earlier than anticipated. Where do you stand relative to your retirement goals post-pandemic?
Take this opportunity to look at the bigger picture where your retirement plan is concerned. Consider if your retirement needs or goals have changed in the wake of the pandemic and how these changes affect your current retirement plan? What adjustments need to be made to accommodate for the changes?
Even if the broader economy returned to exactly how it was before the pandemic, you may find that you are not the same person. You may not want to spend your time as you did before the pandemic and there is nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to recognize how your day-to-day plans have changed and what these changes mean for your finances.
Maybe you want to travel more, or travel less! You might want to spend more time with family. Maybe you want to relocate. Whatever the case may be, your days are yours to do with as you choose and your finances should be there to support you. High-net-worth individuals may have more financial flexibility than most, but that doesn’t mean that a drastic change to your day-to-day lifestyle won’t have an effect on your budget. Be sure to incorporate any new goals or plans that you have into your overall retirement plans. No one likes surprise bills, so if you sense yourself shifting into a new daily norm, make sure your financial plan accounts for that and that your longer-term goals aren’t disrupted by your shorter-term desires.
Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic is the importance of physical health. When it comes to retirement planning, staying healthy can keep many of the biggest expenses retirees face, namely healthcare and long-term-care costs, at bay. Taking care of your physical and mental health today is one step you can take now that will help ensure a healthy retirement tomorrow.
Taking this a step further is the importance of planning for your healthcare needs and making sure you have the right coverage, not only for you but for your family members as well. Talk to your parents about their long-term-care plans. Talk to your spouse about any benefits he or she may have access to. Share your concerns. As you revisit your retirement plan post-pandemic, pay careful consideration to the care facility options your retirement health and long-term care includes in your coverage.
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The pandemic also provided a much-needed reminder of the impact volatility can have on an investment portfolio. Despite unprecedented swings during 2020, the market has continued to plough upward. But pre-retirees shouldn’t be duped into complacency by a seemingly resilient market.
Volatility is natural and bound to occur again in the future, but it can also wreak havoc on an ill-equipped retirement plan. Preparing for volatility can help you remain calm during these times of turmoil.
There are many strategies investors can use, from having a diversified portfolio to reducing the amount of risk you’re taking with your investments, before and as you enter retirement. While general rules of thumb can be useful, taking a look at your personal situation to create a customized plan will help you align your finances with your specific personal needs, goals and concerns.
At PAX Financial Group, our team of financial advisors can help you choose an investment strategy that works for you. We have different tools that allow us to run hundreds of simulations that stress test your portfolio so that you can find the strategy with the greatest chance of lasting through your retirement.
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The pandemic was also a stark reminder of the fragility of life. No matter how well we think we’ve prepared, accidents happen that can catch us off guard. Financial planning isn’t just about providing for your future, but also those of your loved ones. If you’ve accumulated considerable wealth throughout your life, chances are you’d like to be able to provide for your heirs, too.
As you revisit your retirement plan post-pandemic, take a look at your primary estate planning documents, such as your will or trust. It’s important to keep these documents up-to-date, because as the pandemic proved, they could be called upon sooner than expected. Is your estate plan still consistent with your wishes?
If the market volatility of 2020 was hard for you to bear, your investment strategy may be too risky for your tolerance level. High-net-worth individuals may be able to afford to take more risks with their money, but that doesn’t mean they have a higher tolerance for risk. How much volatility can you withstand before you start to lose sleep at night? The wrong risk tolerance can lead investors to making emotional decisions, like panic selling.
Make sure you’re not taking on more risk than your financial goals need – or your nervous system can bear. If your stomach drops every time the stock market does, you may do better with a conservative strategy that won’t subject you to so many portfolio swings, regardless of how much wealth you have. Similarly, if you are nearing retirement and already have enough money saved to achieve your retirement goals, there may be no reason to invest aggressively for growth, even if you have a high tolerance for risk. A more prudent strategy may be to focus on capital preservation with a more conservative allocation.
Establishing your true risk tolerance can be difficult, though many quick online tests may claim the opposite. Talk to a financial advisor about your situation.
Who you lean on to prepare for retirement can be just as important as how you prepare. At PAX Financial Group, we believe the right financial advisor should understand your financial situation and goals and help you create a post-pandemic retirement plan to achieve them.
Not all financial advisors are created equally and are well-equipped to specifically help high-net-worth pre-retirees in San Antonio, Texas. A good retirement plan is like a custom-tailored suit: It may start with the same fabric as someone else’s suit, but with the right cutting and adjustments, it will fit better for you.
If you’re not currently working with a financial advisor or feel it’s time for a second opinion, let’s start a conversation!
This material is provided by PAX Financial Group, LLC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note: Investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.