Saturday, October 29, 2011

Media reports about "Getting on Track for a Sustainable Retirement" (October 2011 JFP)


I've published an article, "Getting on Track for a Sustainable Retirement: A Reality Check on Savings and Work" in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning. I'd like to think that with some further development, the methodology outlined in this article can provide a useful contribution to the field of retirement planning. I finished writing the article at the end of June, and I discussed it here then. That discussion also includes tables for 35, 45, 50, and 60 year olds.

The article is slowly garnering some interest, and as various people are writing about it, they are often adding some good points and interpretations of their own.  I will start collecting such reports together here, along with some interesting new points.

Barbara Whelehan, "Retirement planning to age 100" Bankrate.com blog.

I liked how she noted that I am providing advice which is at odds with the ING "Find your number" commercials. The reason is, I argue that people should be focusing on how much they are saving, investing this in a simple balanced portfolio, and then not worry so much about the progress of their actual wealth accumulations.

CanadianInvestor, "What is a Viable Mix for Retirement Savings Success?"  How to Invest Online blog.

He provides an excellent summary while also highlighting some key assumptions which may not apply for everyone and which do have a strong bearing on the results.

Peter Benedik, "Am I on track for retirement?" RetirementAction.com

Peter makes several good additional points. First, he observes from the tables that there is a relatively clear tendency that each 1 percentage point increase in your savings rate can allow you to retire about 0.6 or 0.7 years earlier. He suggests, too, that higher savings rates could help by getting you more used to a lower spending level, which in turn could allow you to retire earlier with a lower replacement rate. He also notes that each year of delayed retirement gets you an addition 5% of so replacement rate of income. Also, he notes that a case can be made for more aggressive stock allocations based on the table, as the worst-case scenarios are not all that different, but more stocks would bring more upside potential. Also, I especially like his point, "This type of analysis is especially critical and is typically a key missing feedback element from DC plans and their regular accompanying reports to participants. An annual indicator of expected and/or worst case retirement year(s) for some desired level of retirement income, given one’s current assets, savings rates and asset allocation, is a necessary feedback loop to allow each individuals to better understand the answer to the question: “Am I on track for planned retirement?”

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