You’ve probably seen recent news that almost half of Americans over age 55 have nothing saved for retirement, but what about those who are planning and saving? How do they avoid running out of money? Many are underestimating how long they will live, says Pamela Yellen, a financial security expert and two-time New York Times best-selling author.
Five ways to avoid running out of money in retirement
Almost half of pre-retirees and retirees underestimate how long they’ll live by five years or more, according to surveys by the Society of Actuaries. Among those turning 65 today, 25 percent will live past 90, and one out of 10 will live past 95, according to the Social Security Administration.
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Many people say they will continue working if they find themselves running out of money, but that’s easier said than done. One study finds that more than half of older US workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire.
Here are five steps Pamela recommends people take to protect themselves:
- Crunch the numbers. Take a hard look at how much money you will need to live the lifestyle you want to live. Many people get so worried, discouraged or scared they fail to take this first step, but putting it off only exacerbates the problem.
- Budget conservatively. Use the currently recommended savings withdrawal rate of 2.8 percent when planning how much of your retirement savings you will withdraw each year. Anything more significantly increases your chances of running out of money.
- Assume you will live until at least age 95 to avoid outliving your money. There’s a good chance you or your partner will.
- Increase the amount you save each year by at least 1 to 2 percent. You won’t feel the pinch, but you’ll be surprised by how much your savings will grow.
- Save more of your money in secure and liquid assets that are not subject to market volatility, such as the savings strategy known as Bank On Yourself, to ensure that you will know the guaranteed minimum value of your savings at any point in time.
“Being prepared means having a strategy that allows you to handle whatever challenges life throws at you,” Pamela says. “The more cash you have that’s safe and liquid, the more options and peace of mind you will have.”