Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes Cracks in 401(k) Plans

I’ve written extensively about why more and more experts are warning that the 401(k) is an experiment that’s failed, and why the man considered to be the “father” of the 401(k) says it’s a monster that should be destroyed.

But the pandemic, shutdown and resulting economic downturn have exposed dangerous cracks in the 401(k) system. I’ll explain three of them here and show you how to protect yourself…

New 401(k) Problem #1: Companies are Suspending Matching Contributions

Tens of millions of workers have already been affected, and more companies have announced their plans to suspend the 401(k) match.

That’s a real blow for employees who’ve come to think of the match as “free money” and assumed it’s a perk that won’t be yanked with little warning.

But the reality is that the employer match isn’t really “free money” at all. According to a study by the Center for Retirement Research, for every dollar an employer contributes to your 401(k) match, they pay 90 cents less in salary to men and 99 cents less to women!

Translation: For every matching dollar you’re given, you really only receive 10 cents or less in total compensation. [Read more…] “Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes Cracks in 401(k) Plans”

How Much Money Do You Need to Save for Retirement?

People need to save between 10% and 17% of their income if they plan to retire at 65 but are putting away only 6-8% of their income, according to a new study by the Stanford Center on Longevity. That’s only half of what they should be saving.

What percent of your household income are you saving? It’s important to be brutally honest with yourself because a shortfall of the magnitude most Americans will experience means more than just not being able to live the retirement lifestyle you dreamed of. It may mean…

  • Having to choose between putting food on the table and the medical care you need
  • Not being able to afford to pay for heating and air conditioning
  • Having to rely on the charity of your children
  • Foregoing travel and even life’s little luxuries

I doubt you worked hard all your life so that you can scrimp and sacrifice just to get by in retirement.

Fully 60% of U.S. households are at risk of not having enough money to make ends meet in retirementeven if they cut back to spending just 75% of pre-retirement levels – according to a 2018 study from the Center for Retirement Research.

The Rule of 25 for Determining How Much You’ll Need to Have Saved

[Read more…] “How Much Money Do You Need to Save for Retirement?”

Why You’ll Need $500,000+ in Retirement for Medical Expenses Alone

Retirees spend more than a third of their Social Security benefits on out-of-pocket medical costs, on average, according to a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Even after factoring in other sources of income, medical spending still took a huge bite – 18% – of seniors’ total retirement income.

A 65-year-old couple retiring now will need $275,000 to cover out-of-pocket health care costs during retirement, according to a study by Fidelity.

The news gets even worse, however, because these numbers do not include the cost of nursing home or home health care.

That can range from $40,000 a year for home health aides… to over $85,000 a year for a semi-private room in a nursing home, according to the Genworth 2017 Annual Cost of Care Survey: Costs Continue to Rise Across All Care Settings. And if you prefer a private nursing care room, you’ll have to cough up almost $100,000 a year.

Ignore the likelihood of needing long-term care services at your own peril: At least 70% of people over age 65 will require long-term care services, and more than 40% will need nursing home care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Based on the average cost of a nursing home room and the average length of stay – which is 2.8 years – you would need over $250,000 to cover a single stay. [Read more…] “Why You’ll Need $500,000+ in Retirement for Medical Expenses Alone”

Federal Reserve Survey: Your 401(k) and IRA Won't Give You a Decent Retirement

If you’re counting on your 401(k) or IRA for retirement income, I have some bad news for you…

A new analysis of the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances by the Center for Retirement Research demonstrates that 401(k) plans are destined to fail millions of Americans.

The Federal Reserve survey is updated every three years, and the latest one reveals that, in spite of the long-running bull market and an improving economy … the typical couple nearing retirement will only receive $600 per month from their 401(k)s and IRAs combined.

That $600 a month is not indexed for inflation, so its purchasing power will decline over time.

And that $600 a month is likely to be the only source of income people will have to supplement Social Security because the typical household has virtually no other savings outside of its 401(k) and IRAs.

The Retirement Savings Shortfall News is Even Worse for Younger Workers with 401(k)s

[Read more…] “Federal Reserve Survey: Your 401(k) and IRA Won't Give You a Decent Retirement”

52% of Americans Will Have to Reduce Their Lifestyle in Retirement

52% of American households are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement – even when factoring in potential proceeds of a reverse mortgage.

That’s according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Let’s take a look at three critical reasons for that… and what you must do now to protect yourself…

Problem #1: People continue to live longer, but aren’t working longer

According to the Social Security Administration, 25% of people turning 65 today will live past 90, and one out of ten will live past 95, yet most financial planners base their projections of how much money you’ll need on your living to age 85 or so.

What if you’re one of the lucky ones who hangs on until 100 or longer? And just how “lucky” will you feel if you can’t provide for yourself during those final years?

Solution: Assume you’ll live to at last age 100 when determining how long your money will need to last you.

Problem #2: Underestimating health-care and long-term care costs in retirement

The numbers are shocking, and almost no one is accurately accounting for this: A 65-year-old couple retiring now will need $245,000 just to cover out-of-pocket health-care costs during retirement, PLUS another $255,000 to cover one average stay for one person in a nursing home.

Whoa! That’s half a million dollars you’ll need just for medical care… but most people close to retirement don’t even have that much in total retirement savings. [Read more…] “52% of Americans Will Have to Reduce Their Lifestyle in Retirement”