This is the second part in a series on Retirement and COVID-19. Read Part 1 here.
In our previous post, we began to look at the questions that may be on the minds of individuals either nearing or entering retirement in this current state of disruption caused by the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As mentioned, I recently had the opportunity to address many of these questions during a TV interview with local station KMAX and I wanted to provide some insights from that interview here, by highlighting the questions and my recommendations.
Q: FOR THOSE STILL WORKING, WHAT SHOULD THEY DO WITH THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS RIGHT NOW?
What an important and poignant question! As we know there are as many as 40 million workers who have either lost their jobs or been sidelined by the shutdown of our economy. So, for those still working, I am sure you are very thankful and empathetic to those who are not working. I believe there are four important areas of your financial plan that you should consider right now:
1. Rebalance Your Portfolio
- Your investments should be diversified and have appropriate risk for your age and how close you are to retirement.
- Spreading out your money into different types of investments can help you steer clear of the extreme highs and lows of the market and help you stay the course.
- A financial professional can work with you to help you rebalance your portfolio and hold you accountable to your plan when your emotions might take over.
- You might want to consider guaranteed income sources, which are not as impacted by market volatility. These are product solutions like annuities and life insurance.
- If you are fortunate enough to have a pension, that can also provide a steady source of income in retirement and should be worked into your comprehensive retirement plan.
- Consider accumulating a cash reserve in a high-yield savings account to cover a couple years’ worth of expenses.
- Now might be a great time to convert your traditional IRA or 401(k) to a Roth IRA; your account balances might be down, and we are currently in a historically low tax environment.
- You will pay taxes on the money you convert, but you might be investing in the stock market at an opportune time.
- Money in a Roth IRA grows tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement.
- Another benefit of a Roth IRA account: There are no required minimum distributions in retirement.
4. Evaluate Your Plan
- One of the most important things a pre-retiree can do is learn what it takes to build a comprehensive financial plan.
- A retirement plan is not a budget; it is a written income plan that includes Social Security strategies, healthcare, income planning, and tax planning.
- A financial professional can help guide you through the process if you are not sure where to start.
Q: ONE FINAL QUESTION. HOW CONCERNED SHOULD YOUNG INVESTORS BE?
- The roller coaster on Wall Street and record unemployment numbers have many of us worried about the fate of our retirement savings.
- But this is not the time to let our emotions get the best of us. Keeping your money invested in the markets is often better in the long-term than panicking and selling.
- Keep putting money in your employer-sponsored 401(k) or another type of retirement account like an IRA.
- I recommend my clients save 10-15% of their salary in their retirement accounts.