Monthly Archives: September 2018

How to Have More Fun and Meaning in Retirement

A blank calendar filled with nothing but free time can be every bit as stressful as a packed work week.

That’s the surprising fact that many new retirees confront after a few days of hitting the snooze button and puttering around the house. This is usually when the reality of retirement sets in. This is your life now. What are you going to do with it?

Whatever you want!

The only thing better than sleeping in is jumping out of bed early because you’re energized and excited for the day ahead. This is the kind of active and fulfilling retirement that we love to help our clients prepare for.

Here are some ideas for creating a new retirement schedule that will keep you growing, learning, experiencing new things, and making meaningful connections with your community.

1. Travel.
Taking all those trips you couldn’t squeeze in around work meetings and kids’ football tournaments tops many retirements wish lists. And with good reason. After all that hard work, prudent planning, and disciplined saving, you deserve to treat yourself, do things you never had time for, see places you’ve always wanted to see.

Why not try to be your own travel agent? Planning a few big trips scattered throughout the year can be a fun activity for you and your spouse to do together. And in between those big destination holidays, you can sprinkle in some long weekends visiting the grandkids, and a few separate getaways to give each of you space to pursue your personal passions.

2. Work or volunteer part time.
No, “working in retirement” is not an oxymoron. More and more retirees who can afford to stop working are taking part-time jobs and volunteer positions. This can give your week some welcome structure and provide an outlet for things you’re passionate about.
That non-for-profit job you couldn’t afford when you were raising kids and paying a mortgage? Take it. Do some good in your community and make a little spending money on the side. Put your cultural expertise to work as a guide for an art gallery or museum, or maybe volunteer at a church or charitable organization that’s close to your heart.

3. Upgrade your living situation.
Whether you’re handy and enjoy doing the work or just like picking out new colours, patterns, and fixtures, take care of all those lingering household projects. Your comfort is important, especially as you age. Don’t let minor inconveniences like leaky pipes turn into major problems. Get rid of that lumpy mattress and hard couch you’ve been torturing yourself with for a decade. Map out the garden you’ve always wanted and turn it into a ‘go to’ meeting place for your family and friends.

Of course, that’s assuming you want to “retire in place” at your current residence. A permanent change of scenery can be invigorating as you enter this new phase in your life. Just make sure you talk to us if you see a holiday home in your future. We’ll make sure that we incorporate the move and all the necessary tax, and cost of living adjustments into your financial plan.

4. Get really good at something you love doing.
Been a frustrated weekend golfer your whole life? Sign up for lessons and get that handicap down for good. Or better yet, set up a weekly tee time with a group of retired friends.  No more rushing through meals on your way to and from work and school, so let your inner foodie have the run of the kitchen. Dust off your college French lessons before that dream trip to Paris with an online class. Clear out that back bedroom no one uses any more and make a study. Paint the pictures you’ve always wanted to paint. Finish the novel hiding in the bottom of your desk drawer.

The possibilities for an exciting and fulfilling life in retirement are bound only by your imagination and the financial resources you have available to you. Let us help you take care of the money part so you’re free to focus on the fun.

10 considerations before going into cash over Brexit

I know you are probably fed up with reading about Brexit, but I read an interesting article earlier this week written by Robin Powell¹ which mirrored my own views and I thought was worth sharing with you.

The article related to an approach taken by an investor who felt that the best strategy was to ‘sit out the Brexit negotiations on cash’ on the basis that “There is a significant chance of them going badly and markets taking a tumble. If, on the other hand, an agreement is reached, that will be a signal to invest. We should know which way things are pointing within a couple of months.”

This is what Robin had to say: –

I dare say there are many investors who are taking a similar approach, and their point of view is to be fully respected. Investing is a hugely personal matter. Nobody should take more risk than they’re comfortable taking, they can afford to take and need to take. If investors honestly feel that it’s time to reduce their exposure to stocks, then that is what they should do.

It is, however, a decision that should not be taken lightly, without serious thought or without seeking the opinion of a competent financial adviser.

Regardless of Brexit, there’s a very strong case for keeping your portfolio exactly as it is.  So, if you’re thinking of sitting in cash while events unfold in Brussels, here are ten things you need to bear in mind.

1. Timing the market is notoriously difficult. The evidence shows that it’s almost impossible to do it accurately with any long-term consistency, and the professionals are little better at it than the rest of us. And remember, you have to be right twice; you might get out at the “right” time and then spoil it all by mis-timing your re-entry.

2. All known information is incorporated into market prices. Current valuations reflect everything we know about Brexit and the likelihood of all the different outcomes. Do you honestly know something that the rest of the market doesn’t?

3. It’s new information that causes prices to rise or fall, and that by its nature, is unknowable. True, government ministers and officials involved in the negotiations may be privy to vital information, but they’re bound by insider trading regulations so can’t act on it anyway.

4. New information is incorporated into prices within seconds, even milliseconds. If there is a significant development over the coming months, it will be absorbed so quickly by the markets that by the time you get to act on it, prices will either have risen or fallen already.

5. Correctly predicting the outcome of the Brexit negotiations won’t, in itself, be of help — unless of course you bet on it. To profit on the financial markets, what you need to do is predict how those markets will respond to the outcome you’re expecting, which is extremely hard to do.

6. Markets often react to big political events in unexpected ways. When an event is widely considered to be negative, markets often wobble initially but then recover and resume the course that they were already on. That’s exactly what happened after the Brexit referendum in 2016 and Donald Trump’s election later that year.

7. Investors typically allow their own political views to influence their investment decisions. Because most of us are prone to confirmation bias and to negativity bias to some extent, our expectations of what will happen if things either go our way or don’t go our way tend to be exaggerated. (I myself have very strong views on Brexit and its likely implications!)

8. The idea that there will soon be clarity over Brexit and markets will “return to normal” is unrealistic. It may well be that a deal is reached soon that takes Britain out of the European Union. But, as everyone knows by now, the divorce will be hugely complicated, and it may take many years, decades even, before the lasting effects of Brexit are clear.

9. Important though it is, Brexit isn’t the only show in town. There’s uncertainty everywhere you look, whether it’s the future of President Trump, the prospect of a global trade war or rising tensions between Russia and the West. And those are just the obvious risks. Regardless of whether the UK strikes a win-win deal with the EU that pleases everyone, or there’s a painful, disorderly exit, markets could still fall or rise sharply for a completely different reason.

10. There will always be reasons to bail out of equities. Throughout the long bull run that began in 2009, there’ve been scores of plausible arguments for getting out while the going’s good. If you had heeded any of them, you would have missed out on gains. Will it be Brexit that finally brings the bull market crashing to a halt? The bottom line is that nobody knows.

Again, you have to do what you think is right, and only time will tell what the “right” decision proves to be.

Whatever you do, though, beware of acting on emotions. Assuming that you are comfortable with the risk you’re taking, and that your portfolio is thoroughly diversified and has relatively recently been rebalanced, the rational response is to sit tight and watch the political drama unfold. It’s certainly getting interesting.

 

¹  The Evidence Based Investor and an award-winning journalist, blogger and content marketing consultant, based in the UK, with specialist expertise in the investing industry.

‘Pretirement’

Half of pensioners plan to work past retirement age

The onwards march of ‘pretirement’ – where people scale back on work or slow their retirement plans down rather than giving up entirely – is continuing, according to new research [1].

A recent study found half (50%) of those retiring during 2018 are considering working past State Pension age. This is the sixth consecutive year where half of people retiring would be happy to keep working if it meant guaranteeing a higher retirement income.

Cost of day-to-day living concerns

More than a quarter (26%) of those planning to delay their retirement would like to reduce their hours and go part-time with their current employer, one in seven (14%) would like to continue full-time in their current role. An entrepreneurial fifth (19%) would try to earn a living from a hobby or start their own business.

The research shows that many people expect their retirement to last an average of 20 years. Around one in 12 (8%) of those scheduled to retire this year have postponed their plans because they cannot afford to retire. Nearly half (47%) of those who cannot afford to retire put this down to the cost of day-to-day living which means their retirement income won’t be sufficient.

Keeping mind and body active and healthy

The research also found that the decision to put of retirement isn’t always a financial one. Over half (54%) of those surveyed who are already,

Averting a later-life financial crisis

More retirees drawing pensions without LPA’s

People are generally living longer these days. Increasingly, more people are living well into their 80s and 90s – and some even longer. This may mean you have a long time to budget for. That’s why it is very important to consider all your options carefully and think about what will matter to you in retirement.

As you will probably be aware from our previous blogs, the Government introduced ‘Pension Freedoms’ in April 2015, which means that you can now access your pension in more ways than ever before. Therefore, it’s important that you take time to think carefully before you decide what to do with your money.

Later-life financial crisis

According to a recently published report [1], nearly 80% of retirees who take advantage of the new pension rules to manage their retirement savings will face a potential ‘later-life financial crisis’ as they have not set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

There are two types of LPA. These are the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, and the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.

The same research found that 345,265 pensioners accessing their pension pots in this way have not yet given a family member or friend the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf if they were no longer able to do so.

Responsibility of managing income

The analysis highlights the scale of an issue that has emerged since the 2015 changes when the British government abandoned the requirement to buy an annuity at retirement. It has come to light that twice as many people are now opting for pension drawdown over annuities. In effect, this puts the responsibility of managing income in retirement onto the individual.

Therefore, registering an LPA has become even more important since the pension reforms. Thousands of people are now making complex decisions on their pension into old age, when the risk of developing a sudden illness or condition such as dementia increases. Despite this, many are unprepared for a sudden health shock or a decline in their mental abilities, hence, the time to set up an LPA is well before you need it.

Potentially creating problems

With more and more people moving into drawdown, this is potentially creating problems that could leave thousands of people facing a possible later-life financial crisis. It is vital to plan for a time when managing your pension might become hard, or even impossible, and obtaining professional financial advice is one of the best ways to do this.

The Alzheimer’s Society has discovered that there are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this could increase to over 1 million by 2025. Yet the report revealed that only 21% of retirees who have accessed funds under the new freedoms have registered an LPA.

Discussions with your family or others

A LPA can be a very important part of planning for a time when a person will not be able to make certain decisions for themselves. It allows you to choose someone you trust to make those decisions in your best interests. This can be reassuring and making an LPA can start discussions with your family or others about what you want to happen in the future.

The stigma around the LPA, as with dementia, is compounded by its links to mental capacity. Some people are reluctant to consider a future where they may not be able to make their own decisions due to the connotations they associate with this. In cases where LPAs are not in place, assets and equity may be lost, or those in a vulnerable position may be forced to make decisions they are no longer able to make.

Do you need help? Give us a call

Whatever your plans for the future, we are here to help you take the next step and if you don’t have your own Solicitor, we are happy to introduce you to a Solicitor who can help you with these requirements.

 

Source data:

[1] The study for Zurich UK is based on a YouGov survey of a UK sample of 742 people who have moved into drawdown since the pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015. The survey was carried out between 14 December 2017 and 24 January 2018.

FCA Data Bulletin (issue 12) shows 345,265 pots moved into income drawdown between October 2015 and October 2017. Assuming the number of people moving into drawdown continued at a similar rate from November 2017 to April 2018, this would equate to a further 86,316 people in drawdown. 345,265 + 86,316 = 431,581 people.

345,265 / 2 years of drawdown data = 172,632 x 10 years = 1,726,325 people.

Warning:

The information noted above is for general information only and is not intended as personal advice. Carpenter Rees does not accept any liability for your reliance upon, or any errors or omissions.