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TOP 5 INVESTMENTS FOR BABY BOOMERS

TOP 5 INVESTMENTS FOR BABY BOOMERS

As of late 2007, Baby Boomers began collecting their Social Security payments, marking the beginning of an interesting time when there will be a long list of them in the retirement age. Due to their size alone, they form a demographic category that has more total spending power than anyone else on the globe, which in turn makes their investing and spending power very impactful on the U.S. investment landscape and the economy overall.

Those approaching retirement must keep in mind that the choices they you make today will affect what their financial status will be 20 years (or more) down the line. This is the minimum one can expect, given that the average life expectancy for the baby boomer has been calculated as 83 years.

Here are 5 best investment strategies that you must consider:

Variable Annuity (VA)

Believe it or not, the value of insurance become more important as you approach your retirement age. While traditional whole life policies still remain, there now exist some newer, more updated theories and products which have garnered enough attention to make their own place. One such product is the variable annuity, which permits investors to sign up for what is very much like an insurance policy, the only difference being that the balances can be invested into bonds and stock holdings.

Variable Annuities allow holder to gain on cash balances above inflation, which is a key factor in keeping your insurance’s value. That being said, it is always better to be safe, and select a variable annuity with restraint, given that fees for each type tends to be very different. Also make sure that you understand every fee that you are paying, from annual fees and underlying investment fees to front- and back-end sales fees.

U.S. Treasuries

U.S. Treasuries actually make up for the sole investment for many retirement-aged individuals. With yields that are regarded as a benchmark of safety (the risk-free rate of return), treasuries make for a very safe and reliable investment, especially when the odds are risky. All treasury bonds are controlled by the U.S. government, which has so far not defaulted on a single Treasury bond. No matter how you access exposure to Treasuries, from individual bonds and mutual funds to exchange-traded funds, and others, they lend a lot of weight to your overall portfolio.

For those above 60 years of age, capital preservation is much more essential than capital appreciation. Not only do treasuries offer this, they also offer a steady stream of income and a chance for you to preserve your assets during inflation. While municipal and corporate bonds are sold in the same manner, they tend to have higher default rates and require more research to be done by the investor for evaluation of merits.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CDs stand only second to Treasuries thanks to their high yield (which often goes higher than that of Treasuries of the same maturity), as well as the feel-good factor of giving your hard-earned money to an established financial institution like a bank. Plus, there is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance. The only thing there is to remember here is that there is a threshold of $250,000 per bank, since the FDIC insures a specific limit to individual account holders. If your amount is greater than this, you will have to spread your money over several different banks.

Real Estate

As with any demographic, real estate is an investment that pays well if done wisely. As someone approaching retirement, there are many avenues you can explore: from buying a second property and/or rental property, to converting from a paid-off mortgage to a smaller but more efficient home. Many people actually enjoy moving to a smaller home and/or a new location. These options will help provide asset diversification and help you save on taxes, as well a offer you a place where you can spend that much-deserved extended vacation-time.

You must keep in mind to not take such decisions lightly though, and must consider consulting a certified advisor before you actually decide to embark on a decision. After all, there is a lot that needs to be considered here, from your net-worth diversification and liquidity needs to your finances and personal tax situation. Plus, if you opt to keep a rental property, you will yourself have to put some work and effort behind it.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

It is virtually impossible to make a best investment strategies list that does not have this option, and for good reason. In fact, if you’re one of those who has been investing for years, you probably have a well-funded IRA already. Once you retire, your 401(k) assets will roll over to either a Roth or a Traditional IRA. And in case you’ve crossed the age of 50, you can add more than your standard annual contribution limits to your account. IRAs make a particularly good strategy, since they have the ability eliminate capital gains taxes and reduce your future tax bills significantly.

Both the Roth and the traditional IRA have their own advantages. While asset transfers to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible (meaning you still have to pay income taxes), the income that you will go on to receive will be completely tax-free. Furthermore, the assets in your IRA must reflect your overall asset allocation.

Special Mention: The Wild Card

Yes, we mentioned five investment strategies. But we decided to include this spot for those who apprehensive of spending 20+ years sitting around having nothing to do. While good investment ideas do involve careful financial planning, they also sometimes (if not always) involve (being creative and following your passion). In fact, any one of your hobbies can function well as an investment opportunity. This includes several activities such as:

  • Starting your own business
  • Classic cars
  • Paintings and fine arts
  • Coins and collectibles
  • Sports memorabilia

That being said, you must be well aware that these too have their boundaries. After all, there is no point in starting a business which will keep you so busy that you finally get in way over your head. However, if there is something you are truly interested in – and preferably have good knowledge about it, you must not hesitate to take it further, now that you will enter a phase in your life when you actually will get the time to do so. We do live in a world that is brimming with possibilities and age is really just a number. So long as you stick to putting a fixed percentage of your net worth (a maximum of 10%), you will be completely fine.

To Conclude:

Now that you are approaching retirement, the choices you make can and will affect how you will be leading your lifestyle for decades to come. You must, therefore, make sure to properly think about what you need, set your goals, and then set about selecting the best strategy (with the help of a professional) to achieve said goals.

Baby Boomers and their Unique Challenges

Baby Boomers and their Unique Challenges

Simply put, baby boomers are those who were born between the 1940s and early 1960s. With about 78 million of these today, they have a considerable impact on U.S. retirement social structures. The biggest concern for most baby boomers is whether they can afford to retire and live how they want, followed by the concern of running out of assets or income during their lifetime as a retiree?”

Here are the common challenges faced by the Boomers, which their earlier generations did not have to deal with:

Longevity:

With advancement in medical science and healthy lifestyle trends, boomers have much better odds of living longer than their parents. According to a study, a healthy 65-year-old spouse held a 75% probability of living up to the age of 95.

There is another reason for this, though. Most boomers spend their 30 years of work sitting behind a desk, as opposed to their parents, who held jobs that were more physically demanding. For most boomers, the most demanding work that required their physical prowess was the weekend golf game.

Investment Horizon:

With an increased life expectancy, baby boomers have almost 30 years of post-retirement life to live off their savings. Even with the largest and most stable of savings, one cannot say that it will be enough, given the fact that anything and everything can happen in a span of 30 years. Things like war, recessions, inflation and deflation, stock market crashes, and other events can have a profound effect on the boomers’ financial well-being.

Low Savings:

Over 60% of baby boomers don’t have enough assets to allow them to retire when they would like to, live how they would want to, yet be financially secure till they pass away. This makes them much more dependent on performance to accumulate their assets.

The frenzy of financial advisors:

To see a feeding frenzy, all you need to do is let a Wall Street advisor know that you’ve retired from your company with a $1 million IRA rollover. You won’t even need to wait till you actually retire to see the frenzy going! With news like this, advisors get interested, and make their best efforts to provide their offers, advice and products. This includes meeting the soon-to-be retirees to offer free retirement seminars. For the baby boomers themselves, this can get pretty tiresome.

Performance:

With limited savings and requirement for more assets, you need better performance to help produce the assets. And this need does not end with your retirement. Even after you retire, you might have to collect more assets or garner a rate of return which can counter all forms of erosion from your retirement assets.

Risk:

With low saving and high asset and performance requirements, baby boomers will have to take an investment risk that is significantly higher than what their parents took. This will help them accumulate assets and make sure that they last for the entirety of their post retirement life. It is not profitable to invest in a low or zero investment risk strategy unless the investor is completely certain that they will not run out of assets or income post-retirement.

Investment Expense:

In order to get the best performance, baby boomers will need to take a higher degree of risk. To that end, they will need sound advice from the best financial advice. Getting this sound advice will surely cost them, and add to the growing list of baby boomers’ expenses.

THE BABY BOOMERS’ WAY TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT

THE BABY BOOMERS’ WAY TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT

Life for the baby boomers hasn’t been easy, at least as far as saving for retirements is concerned. They have indeed experienced quite a few hard knocks. However, they now have a sound retirement saving strategy in place – one that can actually be beneficial for the younger generations as well.

A lot has happened in the last 40 years which has pretty much spelt doom for common investment strategies – from sudden busts and booms, periods of deflation and inflation, to sharp rise and fall of interest rates and speculative ventures gone bad. bubbles that ended badly. To top it over, the S&P 500 in this period has stood at an average of 12% a year (a figure that includes both price range and dividends.

While one cannot say that boomers have been stable through all this time, one can definitely say that they have learnt well from their failures. And they are now keen to find ways that will help them save for the rest of their saving years.

According to an American Funds study, 65% boomers reported that they felt smart as investors when they stuck with their investment strategy. In the same study, 6 out of 10 reported that they remain quiet when the market gets volatile. Only a mere 2% say that they feel smart when they make a move that’s bold and risky but well-rewarding if it works.

The younger generations, however, don’t seem to share this sentiment. For instance, only 43% of millennials feel smart when sticking with their strategy, while the rest only feel smart when they attempt to pick a hot stock. The latter’s percentage, here, is almost 6 times more than the boomers.

Baby boomers, however, thanks to their experience, have learnt an entirely different lesson. They’ve understood that good times don’t last long – let alone forever. Thanks to the huge market upheavals following the financial crisis, a mere 16% of boomers believe that they will continue to get their benefits either at the same rate or at a better rate. This is of course a lesser figure that the 31% who believe the same.

All said and done, there is a perfect explanation why millennials are more optimistic. Given that they understood the importance of saving much before their boomers counterparts did, they have a bigger edge over them. According to the American Funds study, almost 60% of the millennials began to save for retirement before the age of 25, as compared to only 28% of boomers. That being said, they also tend to have a more pessimistic view of their later lives, thanks to the debt that most of them face, especially in the form of student loans. As opposed to the baby boomers, who believe that they will be happy throughout retirement, millennials do not believe that they will be that lucky.

The study also shows that despite their wise savings habits, baby boomers do tend to have their blind spots. While they do remain committed to low-cost index funds (which are known to produce good results in the long-term), they also leave them vulnerable to sharp short-term downward market moves, which, according to 81% of boomers, is a great matter of concern.

If your portfolio mainly consists of investments and bonds, with stock index funds forming a very low percentage, it is better to stick to index funds. However, half of all generations still fail to understand the problems short-term risk of an index fund – the fact that things can turn real ugly real fast in case the market turns sharply lower, especially during the initial period of retirement.

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