Retirement Readiness in a World of Pandemic

2020 is presenting one challenge after the next for aspiring retirees. The global pandemic has prompted continued business closures and unprecedented spikes in unemployment; geopolitical headwinds are yielding volatile days on Wall Street; and most Americans have undergone a significant lifestyle shift, spending more time at home to protect themselves and others. 

The rapidly-changing environment is prompting nearly everyone to reassess their lifestyle, spending habits, career plans and future goals. But for those nearing retirement, it might mean grappling with a very significant financial and emotional decision, leaving some to wonder if they have achieved or are close enough to their goal of retirement readiness.

Retirement readiness takes years of careful planning and customized strategies.  The desire, or in some cases need, to retire early lays the foundation for a new conversation. While it may feel tempting to retire early, there are important factors to consider when it comes to retirement readiness. 

Revisiting retirement goals 

It’s impossible to adequately plan for retirement without specific goals in mind and determining retirement readiness means assessing how close you are to achieving those goals. For most, this means envisioning the lifestyle you want in retirement and using that as a guide in your accumulation years.

Take time to consider what you want your retirement lifestyle to look like. Does it involve travel? Spending time with family? Staying in your family home or downsizing? Helping address financial needs for your grandchildren?

Retirement Checklist (2)

The answers to these questions are important to financial advisors and will greatly impact your retirement savings plans, timeline and strategy.

Financial aspects of retirement readiness

The ability to retire early ultimately comes down to whether or not you have enough money saved to meet your lifestyle needs and goals, while accounting for unexpected events and changes. Financial retirement readiness is about the sufficiency and sustainability of your resources.

Properly managing retirement income is a significant concern for aspiring retirees and there are several risks retirees commonly face in retirement:

Common Retirement Risks (2)

Addressing retirement risk with a customized plan

Universally, though, all aspiring retirees want peace of mind – knowing they have achieved retirement readiness with enough money to retire, cover their expenses and meet their goals. That’s why we researched and developed a personalized retirement income solution that directly address each of the primary retirement risks.

The Unified IncomePlan® invests in three portfolios, each designed to mitigate a specific retirement risk:

1. The Safe Income Portfolio protects retirement income and holds at least two years of retirement income in liquid and traditionally safer investments, like money market and fixed income. This portfolio distributes income much like the paycheck you’re accustomed to, with direct deposits into a checking account. The portfolio holds its balance over time and any funds withdrawn are replenished annually to ensure a steady stream of available and safe income, which helps protect from sequence risk.

2. The Balanced Growth Portfolio facilitates growth over time, using a mix of stocks and bonds that are specifically structured to grow over time, protecting purchasing power. As your retirement timeline extends, these investments become more conservative, allowing for even greater security. This protects from inflation risk.

3. The Longevity Portfolio is designed to grow steadily and provide guaranteed income for future needs. This portfolio is designed to mitigate the risk of outliving savings and can be used to purchase variable annuities with guaranteed benefits to provide secure income.

The Unified IncomePlan is personalized to your goals and where you are in your retirement journey.  For instance, many in early retirement see this period as the opportunity to see their retirement dreams become a reality.  That usually means spending may be higher during that period, but as you enter mid to late retirement, you may find yourself slowing down with you spending doing the same.  That’s why it’s important to have a retirement readiness plan that accounts for lifestyle changes throughout your retirement years. 

Finding the right partner

Success in retirement isn’t a solo venture. Working with the right team of professionals is vital keeping the plan on track while navigating the retirement years. Engaging a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and a fiduciary can make all the difference in your retirement readiness journey. These experts can accumulate the data, make reasonable assumptions and crunch numbers to design financial scenarios that give a clear perspective on retirement readiness.

Video chat with advisors

At Unified Trust, our advisors have dedicated their entire careers to helping clients achieve a successful retirement and they have the resources needed to design a plan that meets every retirement goal. Unified Trust acts as a fiduciary – meaning we always act in your best interest – and we take this role very seriously when it comes to meeting retirement goals and aspirations. We understand your retirement is just that – your retirement, and as a fiduciary, we act in your best interest at all times.

We understand there is more to a successful retirement than just dollars and cents. It’s also about the emotional aspect of transitioning away from a career and into a retirement lifestyle, all while being able to achieve your retirement goals.

The ability to achieve the ultimate retirement goal comes down to having the right plan in place – one that is designed for you and your needs and keeps your goals at the forefront. At Unified Trust, our clients’ best interest is our guide and the investment plan is customized to bring these dreams to life.

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