Category Archives: Retirement Income

Dividend Defense

Markets remain a perplexing, challenging read and a dividend defense may not be the worst approach.  The first thing you need to do is understand the environment. Whether you are in the accumulation phase or the distribution phase, dividend defense may be a good approach.

Dividend Defense: What are the risks you face today and how can you protect against them?
As you plan your retirement you have to be wary of myriad risks, and reliable dividend stocks can be a good way to insulate your portfolio through the cycles.
Let’s start by assessing the risks that can derail your retirement plan. 7 Dangers that Could Derail Your Retirement (and What to Do About Them) and 5 Silent Killers of a Financial Plan
Then, of course, there’s the truly defensive way of thinking. Seems like we have been waiting forever for the ‘other shoe to drop.’ It really has been a long run up since the debacle that was 2008/2009. Will it go on forever? Unlikely. Retirement Strategy: Do You Have What it Takes for the Next Major Correction? or Positioning a Portfolio Properly for Any Outcome
A quick word of caution: all signs point to passive investing as the way to go. Indeed this week Warren Buffett essentially endorsed the model saying: “ “ Two ways of looking at this, if markets are going to correct, indices go with them and how much of the market rise comes from the move to indexed products? Indexing Investment Strategy Becoming Increasingly More Risky? Not to mention, Monday Morning Memo: Is Capacity a New Restriction for the ETF Industry?

Dividend Defense: Using dividend stars to deliver returns or income and preserve capital
All too often we focus solely on the income aspects of dividend stocks. They are a great way to deliver income and preserve capital in the distribution phase. They are also a decent way to deliver returns and build basis in the accumulation phase. Regardless how you plan to utilize your dividend investments, fundamentally sound selection is the key. 15 Straight Dividend Hikes, Raised Guidance Again, Major Earnings Growth, 12% Upside or 10 Champion Dividend Dogs Said to Gain 7% – 22% by May 2018 or Dividend ETF to Retire On

Dividend Defense: Evolving political landscape aims to make self-determination easier.
No matter your opinion on where markets are heading or dividends as a tool, this is a good idea. TIAA, IRI Back Bill Requiring Retirement Plan Income Projections

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is a vital tool in your retirement security arsenal. No one is doing this for you – if you are not paying them. Social Security alone will not deliver a secure retirement. If you are like most Americans, you are not saving enough for a secure retirement. So, you need to arm yourself with a plan and start following it.

Retirement Planning: Where are you now?
Inasmuch as you probably do not believe you need to spend this time, why not assess your situation. If you are like most Americans you simply have not saved enough and do not save enough. Here’s how much the average family in their 40s has saved for retirement The most alarming statistic: to be financially ready to retire at 67, Fidelity says, you need to have six times your salary saved by 50. Do you? Will you? Did you?
Part of a retirement plan is a retirement budget. Since you will likely be on a ‘fixed income’ in retirement, managing expenses is vital. Knowing your expenses is an important part of developing your retirement plan. How to set a retirement budget
The flip side of your retirement budget is your retirement income. Just how will you be generating retirement income? Social Security? 401(k)? Pension? Working? Somehow you have to zero in on a balanced budget – income and expenses matching up over a likely very long time. What’s your retirement strategy?
This piece takes a more comprehensive look at the problem – expenses and income. Some good food for thought and guidance here. The 7 elements of a successful retirement

Retirement Planning: Plugging the gaps.
What should you be doing as you approach retirement age? Are there specific steps you should be taking? This article has some interesting perspective on moves to make before you stop working. An Investing Roadmap for Pre-Retirees (you may need to create a login, but access to Morningstar data is not a bad thing to have)
Since you just signed up for access to Morningstar, why not look at dividend stocks? One inexpensive way to generate quality income from dividend stocks is through a dividend ETF. This focuses on Schwab, but talks about the competitors, too. High-Quality Dividends for a Slim Fee
I loved the concept of this piece: focus on sequence, longevity and unplanned expenses. Fact is we talk a fair bit about the first two, and the last one is a good addition when thinking retirement planning. It is a super simple article, but helps reinforce the point. Take the time to read it. Prepare now for these 3 retirement risks

Core Investing Skills

I usually focus on a particular area in these posts, but today we consider two core investing skills. These may apply to your accumulation or distribution phase. Either way they are valuable skills to have in your arsenal.

Core Investing Skills: Protecting your principal balance.
No matter whether you are in the accumulation phase or the distribution phase, you want to protect your principal. Now, you do not want to do that at all costs, i.e. zero risk investing. You still need to grow your principal, you just do not want to lose it all – even on a paper basis. This article introduces a great term ‘margin of safety.’ Notionally you devote some portion of your principal to risk coverage. It seems like a good way to think of the concept. What to Do About Fading Stock Market Momentum
The article on stock market momentum does not tell you how to create your margin of safety. There are myriad ways to do so, and they depend – to a degree – on where you are in the retirement life cycle. A Qualified Lifetime Annuity Contract (QLAC), for instance, is a great element of a margin of safety for someone in the distribution phase. This article delivers a very specific, rather unusual approach. It focuses the majority of assets on a steady return and a very small portion on ‘home run’ investments. It is not for the faint of heart, or is it? The Holy Grail of Investing – The Barbell Approach
If that is too crazy for you, you may consider options as a means of delivering your margin of safety. This provides a nice primer for you to start. Options Strategy and Tactics: Diagonal Spreads

Core Investing Skills: Delivering consistent income in retirement.
As noted above, the QLAC is a great vehicle, if you can get it, for creating margin of safety in the distribution phase. It is also a great way to deliver consistent income in the distribution phase. Indeed, this article does a nice job of summarizing the prudent role an annuity can play in retirement security. It points out some of the key decision points – health in particular – and notes that annuities work beyond the QLAC. A Simple Way to Get Guaranteed Income in Retirement Whatever your preconceived notion of annuities, you need to do this research. This is Not Your Father’s 401(k): The Retirement Product You Should Know About Finally, another one that touches on the salient points around immediate annuities (outside your plans). The right way to get the retirement income you need
The other basic way we talk about delivering consistent retirement income is through dividend stocks, good ones. This is a very good article about the why of dividend stocks. Response to ‘Should You Build a Portfolio of Dividend Stocks?’
This piece takes a somewhat different tack, arguing that dividend growth investing works in both accumulation and distribution phases. It is a very valid perspective, and one worth considering. The Dividend Growth Investing Mindset
Finally, we all know the very best dividend stocks tend to be fluid and opportunities present themselves. High-Dividend Stock Yields 10%, 11 Straight Dividend Hikes, Pullback Buying Opportunity and 10 High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats Worth Considering

Your Distribution Phase

We often speak of your distribution phase here as the income phase of your retirement planning. It is the time after the accumulation phase ends … once you retire. When you begin to draw down on your retirement savings your mindset must change and your decision making, too. Everyone … even financial advisors … focus their time, energy and attention on the accumulation phase. That makes sense because it used to be the bigger timeframe (and more lucrative for financial advisors). Now though, with longevity increasing, you may actually be in the distribution phase for a longer time. So, how do you most efficiently draw down your assets to deliver the comfortable, secure retirement you want?

Your Distribution Phase: Changing strategies to create lasting income.
The most important component of your distribution phase strategy is to generate enough income for as long as you need it. Without entering into the longevity risk discussion today we can focus on ways to optimize your retirement savings. This is an outstanding article based upon the Stanford Center on Longevity and Society of Actuaries work on the topic. Here’s an ‘income menu’ that could help retirees make their savings last
In a similar vein, while this seems like a sales pitch I think you can extract some value gratis. It may help you in the accumulation phase to adjust your saving strategy. It may help you in your distribution phase to optimize your withdrawal pattern. One online tool helps you turn many retirement factors into money magic
We speak often of dividend stocks (good ones) as a means of generating income and preserving principal. This article takes a look at the multi-generational potential for a solid dividend investing approach. Never Run Out of Money: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
To be fair we always temper our dividend discussions with the need to remain vigilant. Here the Motley Fool helps illustrate that point. 3 Most Wildly Overvalued Dividend Stocks

Your Distribution Phase: Remain vigilant, understand market conditions, and history.
Clearly there is some luck involved in retirement planning success. Far more is dependent upon hard work, by you or someone helping you. Whether it is the accumulation phase or your distribution phase you need to have a strategy. The 3 Characteristics of a Good Investing Framework
If you believe that a downturn is inevitable and coming soon, then understand what works. Here is an interesting look at Beta vs Volatility over time. Low Volatility and High Beta Stocks Prior to Last Downturn
Finally, in the vein of history as a guide, don’t be fooled by seemingly compelling charts. This author picks apart a classic chart to make you think hard about market timing. The World’s Most Deceptive Chart

Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, a day when the Luck of the Irish becomes topic for barroom discussion. One thing we all know is that a successful retirement has very little to do with luck. Beyond the possible sequence of return risk luck – good or bad – your retirement hinges far more on the effort you put into planning.

Luck of the Irish: Understand the environment in which you are investing.
Even the best plans need course correction, and understanding the environment is always a good place to start. Yes, retirement saving is long horizon, still there is room for prudence in where you invest new money. How is the economy doing? Do markets match up with macroeconomic reality? Is the Economy Doing Well?

Luck of the Irish: Leverage a combination of savings tools.
The foremost saving tool to leverage: compounding. That’s right, you do not need a government program to effectively save for retirement. You need to start early and be consistent in your saving habit. The power of compounding will repay you in spades. The Power of Compounding: A Patience Game (note that he points out the need to stay aware of the environment here)
While this comes at it from a different angle, the employer’s, it illustrates the power of the HSA. This tool is the Swiss Army Knife of saving, looking to become more powerful in Republican circles. What Clients Need to Tell Employees About HSAs

Luck of the Irish: Remain calm.
Understanding compounding, being diligent and consistent in investing you will accumulate a nice sum of money. Markets do have downturns and the key is not to panic. This article helps put this into better perspective for you. Early in the Accumulation Stage, Price Risk Can Look a Lot Different

Luck of the Irish: Focus on income in the distribution phase.
Once you retire the key is to transition your thinking to distribution of money from your savings. The distribution phase is largely about income, yet preserving principal is not a bad thing. You have the difficult balancing act of greater longevity and theoretically capped principal. That’s why we often highlight good dividend approaches and annuities as tools. Here’s an ‘income menu’ that could help retirees make their savings last Dividends Pile Up with This High-Yield Dividend ETF With Rising Rates Ahead, Stick with High-Quality Dividend Growers The right way to get the retirement income you need 4 Overlooked Tax Breaks for Retirees

Holiday Push

With Thanksgiving behind us we are into the Holiday Push. Hopefully you are closing deals at work. Holiday shopping is in full swing. You simply do not have time for this retirement stuff. Our regular readers know there is no time like the present to enhance your retirement. With the incoming Trump administration caution is likely the best watchword.

Holiday Push: Always keep doing the right things.
Doing the right things always start with watch your fees. How an extra 1pc investment fee will cost you 16 years of retirement income (don’t be fooled by the UK spin here, the math is the same!)
If you are a small business owner, a large business decision maker, or an employee interested in helping yourself and your fellow employees, consider this. Get Your 401(k) Fees Down Because Your Employees Deserve Better
In the spirit of the season, I’ll give you a contrarian position on fees, too … that is, sometimes active managers actually do earn their fees. Royce Special Equity Fund Earning It’s Fees
If you are in the income phase – retired already – then be sure you are generating income. You will find some interesting thoughts on that in these pieces: Despite Mistakes, a Dividend Growth Investor Retires Early, Part 1 Despite Mistakes, a Dividend Growth Investor Retires Early, Part 2 Good Grief, Don’t Jump Off This Dividend Machine High-Dividend Stock Yields 9%, Pays Monthly, 4 Dividend Hikes in 2016, More in 2017
This one is really interesting, if for no other reason than to understand how convoluted the oil and gas industry has become. Sunoco LP: a 15.2% Yield with Significant Upside

Holiday Push: In December we will ease off retirement focus and give you other valuable leads.
Stay alert, particularly during the holidays, to nefarious doings on your phone. What is spyware? How secret programs can see into your iPhone and record your calls
About that Taiwan phone call … what’s up? Donald Trump is aggressively provoking China. What is he thinking?
Do you realize that yesterday a milestone anniversary passed quietly by your door? Is it time to revisit the thinking behind the words? 20 Years Later, Greenspan’s “Irrational Exuberance” Has Become Even More Irrational

Retirement: How Long, How Much?

We often highlight the impacts of longevity on retirement. This week we look at Retirement: How Long, How Much? What are the practical implications of a longer life? What is a safe withdrawal rate? Save as much as you can when working, that is the first step. Knowing how much you can take and how long you need to take it is vital.

Retirement: How Long, How Much?
So, just how long will you live in retirement? No one knows for certain, but it is wise to know the odds and the outside shot.  Retirement Planning for a 115-Year Life Expectancy
Once you have a sense for how long you will be in retirement you can start on how much you need in retirement.  Use the FI Formula to Find Out How Much You Need to Be Financially Independent
That FI Formula still leaves the open question about the 4% rule. Just how much is a safe withdrawal rate? Look at the actual study to fill in some of the gaps in that story. Safe withdrawal rates
Not surprisingly Vanguard has an opinion on withdrawal rates. It makes sense, but is it right for you? Vanguard’s New Model for Retirement Spending in Low-Yield Market

Retirement: How Long, How Much? – Perhaps there are other ways to think about it.
Some of you may be thinking about running away from the US after November 8. We have covered the topic before, but here are some reminders on what to consider. How to Manage Your Finances When You Retire Overseas
If you don’t want to bite the bullet and move overseas, this option still gets you offshore? 6 Reasons a Cruise Ship is the Best Retirement Option
Keeping with the overseas perspective, are we doing everything right here? Australia and New Zealand certainly are better positioned and here’s why. Our legislators should take note. What U.S. Retirees Can Learn from New Zealand and Australia
Regardless your view of longevity and even safe withdrawal rate, generate as much income as you can. Dividends are one approach worth considering. There are always new options to consider. This Dividend ETF Does Your Investing For You
Is dividend investing right for you or as part of your investment strategy? This article might help you consider just that. Why do Some People Like Dividends So Much?

Retirement: How Long, How Much? – What comes after November 8.
So, will there be an implication on the economy? Here’s an interesting viewpoint. Could Hillary Clinton be the Next Herbert Hoover?
Maybe it will happen, maybe it is already priced in already. Is there a smart answer to hedge your bets? How to Hedge the S&P 500 with a Minimum Return of 7%
Maybe you are better off reading a book. Top 10 Books that Will Change Your Life in 2016

Optimized Retirement

This week we have a hard look at your optimized retirement. Make sure you are not missing something in your retirement planning. Plus, keep a keen eye on your retirement plan … what is your goal and what is your strategy?

Optimized Retirement – never miss a trick.
If you are like most, you are behind the curve on saving. Here are some tips to beef it up as quickly as you can. 7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Take
We can’t say it enough, make the most of your tax advantaged retirement plans. Four 401(k) Benefits You Should Take Advantage Of
This is not what you may think … beware of concentration in one company’s stock … your company. Wells Fargo Is Your Last Warning: Check Your 401(k)
No surprise here, but the mistake is pretty simple, be more aggressive. Over 50% of Americans are Making This Colossal Mistake How to Get Over Your Worries and Invest Like You Should for Retirement
If you are close to retirement, read this now. 5 Things Near-Retirees Need to Do Before Calling it a Career

Optimized Retirement – do your planning and start early.
This one is not precise, but it is thought provoking, and that is what matters. How Do You Know How Much Income You Need In Retirement?
Planning is great, but you need to act, too. Here are some reminders on that front. Retirement Planning Moves to Make Right Now
Here is an interesting blog focused on retirement income planning. Fish around, you may find something that strikes a chord. The Retirement Cafe
This blog is a little more basic, explaining some fundamentals, but that does not mean it is not worth a look. The difference between a managed fund and an index fund, for example, may be a worthwhile read for some. AssetBuilder

Optimized Retirement – this crazy election threatens to tear us apart, don’t let it.
For one thing, this is not the first time. The Top 10 Ways 2016 Presidential Politics Are So 1840
Now I will say this again, for those who get this far down, I take no side in this and feel everyone should educate themselves about each candidate … since most agree there is no perfect solution this time. So, with that in mind, I give you some interesting background reading. Even critics underestimate how catastrophically bad the Hillary Clinton-led NATO bombing of Libya was The Daily Trump The Clinton Russia Fiction HSBC case blows lid off Clintons’ offshore empire

Retirement Income

We tend to focus mostly on longevity risk and optimizing savings, but generating retirement income is the ultimate trick. Once you transition from accumulation to distribution, the question becomes how best to generate income and preserve principal. You strike this balance to account for the longevity risk you hopefully face. This week we share some recent commentary on this vital piece of your retirement puzzle.

Retirement Income – maximizing income while preserving principal.
One simple, popular approach to maintaining this balance is ‘buckets of money.’ A side benefit here is some insulation from market corrections. How Do I Use the Bucket Approach for Retirement Income
If for no other reason, read this for the opening statistics. You will thank me for knowing this. Ways to Turn Retirement Savings Into Income for Life
In our last installment we talked about dividends in a Roth IRA. Take the leverage the government gives you. In a heated market like this, dividend investing gets trickier. Still, it is good to keep a keen eye on good investments. 10 High-Dividend Stocks for Safe Retirement Income

Retirement Income – understand the impact of the world economy.
One thing is certain, this does not happen in a vacuum. Stay abreast of economic happenings. Presenting: The most important charts in the world from the brightest minds on Wall Street
Everyone knows that low interest rates have a dramatic effect on markets. In light of the fact that retirement savers tend to be conservative, this is the most important consequence. The Fed Put a 50% Tax on Your Retirement Plan
At the risk of being a doomsayer, there’s an entirely different environment to consider. The actual environment, and what can you do about it? Will it have a bearing on your retirement? The younger you are, the more it will. The world reached three dangerous climate change milestones this summer The world passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently.

Retirement Income – it’s Friday, live a little.
Tonight is a rare occurrence, not unheard of, rare. The Black Moon, second new moon in a month. It’s a reason to go outside tonight. A ‘black moon’ is rising, but Earth will be just fine
Plus, NASA released this video of Jupiter’s clouds from a flyby, astonishing. NASA just released a haunting video of Jupiter’s clouds