The Realities of Retirement: 8 Steps To Retirement – Part III –Steps 7 and 8
What You Should Know: More Retirees Are Paying Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Our Planning – Saving – Investing For Retirement Workshops
Homework: Will You Make Mistakes?
A Step You Can Take: A Managed 401(k) Account
What’s Your Plan: First Time Investor? Put Your Toe In The Water
This Month’s Question: Is It Luck Or Is It Skill?
How Can I : Find Out The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Annuities
Building Your Nest Egg: What Can You Learn From Yale
Sandy The Smart Saver: Retire From Retirement?
Follow Up Report: The Immediate Annuity --- A Do-It-Yourself Pension
Quick Takes #1: The Proof Is In The Pudding
Homework: Will You Make Mistakes?
Stock Market – Wall Street --- Investment Humor
Your Retirement Welcome to Your Retirement, our monthly web-newsletter with information and education that can help you with your retirement planning efforts. We provide straight-forward, easy to understand, unbiased and candid information. Feel free to use this information and to also pass it along to your friends and associates. You will find previous issues of our newsletter on our website. If you are interested in additional information that can help you, be sure to check out our web site; retirementplanningconsultants.com or contact Robert R. Julian, at email@example.com ® RETIREMENT PLANNING CONSULTANTS A Guide To Your Retirement Planning - Volume II - Number 12 The Realities Of Retirement: 8 Steps To Retirement - Part III –Steps 7 and 8. Step #7 Don’t run out of dollars before you run out of days. One of the largest challenges in retirement is to manage your withdrawals from your nest egg so that your portfolio doesn’t run out of dollars before you run out of days. In fact, this may be even more challenging that building that nest egg. Setting a withdrawal rate that will give you the money you need to live and last a lifetime is a tricky business. For one thing, you’ve got to take inflation into account. Let’s say you’ve got $500,000 in a retirement portfolio and you figure you can get by withdrawing $40,000 a year. That may be fine for a few years, but, remember, that $40,000 won’t buy the same amount of goods and services in 10 or 20 years as it will today. In fact, even if inflation moves along at a low annual rate of 2 percent per year, your forty grand will lose about a third of its purchasing power in 20 years. So to be realistic, you should think in terms of adjusting your withdrawals for inflation each year. Many people overestimate how much they can draw from a portfolio each year, without facing the danger of their money running out in their lifetime. On the face of it, for example, you would probably think that you could easily withdraw $40,000 annually adjusted for inflation from a $500,000 portfolio for life without the portfolio running dry. After all, that’s only an 8 percent initial withdrawal rate, and who can’t earn 8 percent a year over the long term, right? No so fast. First of all, that $40,000 is being adjusted for inflation. Secondly, even if you manage to earn 8 percent or more on your portfolio, you’re not going to earn that amount year in and year out. There are going to be some years when your investments earn more and some when they earn less, including some years when you have a loss. When you’re withdrawing money from portfolio, those years with losses can cause serious problems. December 2005
-2- Call it the double-whammy effect: your portfolio value goes down because of the loss and because you’re pulling money out at the same time. That means you have less capital to recoup the loss. This means that a “safe” withdrawal rate -- that is, one that has high odds of lasting a lifetime, is much lower than people think. It’s more on the order of 4 to 6 percent per year --- probably 4% --- adjusted for inflation. And that means you probably need a bigger nest egg than you think. Step # 8 Lazy – Low Maintenance - Automatic Investing. There is no one single magical investment formula that will help you to be successful. As Burton Malkiel, Professor of Economics at Princeton, in his book, “Random Walk Guide To Investing,” tells us ---- “The secret to successful investing is that there is no secret.” If you will place your savings in the market as a whole, “you will over time do better than 90% of all investors, including the pros. No other investment strategy can make such a guarantee.” Owning index funds of the various classes is the ultimate risk reducer and diversifier. Why should you invest your retirement money in index funds? It is the ultimate lazy, low maintenance, automatic way to invest today for your retirement tomorrow. Index investing is a very, very simple strategy of buying a mutual fund that holds all or a representative sample of all the stocks in a broad stock market index. This lazy way to investing has outperformed all but a very small handful of equity mutual funds that are sold to the public. With index funds, you simplify your approach to investing. You don’t have to spend hours and hours sifting through thousands of funds that are available. And, they are predictable. Malkiel states, “You know beyond doubt that you will earn the rate of return provided by the stock market.” Malkiel, in many of his books and reports, tells us that critics of index investing will claim that indexing “relegates your results to mediocrity when in fact, you are virtually guaranteed to do better than average.” He equates index investing to going on the golf course and shooting every round at par. “How many golfers can do better than that?” Lazy – Low Maintenance – Automatic Investing with index funds will provide you with a simple low-cost way of building your retirement nest egg so that you can try to shoot par over every round of golf in retirement. "Most investors are pretty smart. Yet most investors also remain heavily invested in actively managed stock funds. This is puzzling. The temptation, of course, is to dismiss these folks as ignorant fools. But I suspect these folks know the odds are stacked against them, and yet they are more than happy to take their chances." Jonathan Clements. Wall Street Journal Columnist What You Should Know: More Retirees Are Paying Taxes On Social Security Benefits Scott Burns, a financial columnist for the Dallas Morning News, in his column, Taxing Problem For Benefits , details one of the realities of today's retirement that many workers entering into retirement are not prepared for. Since 1983, the U.S. government has had the power to tax Social Security benefits. Early on, very few people noticed this new form of taxation because so few retirees had to pay that tax. One half of your Social Security benefits plus all your other income had to exceed $32,000 for couples, $25,000 for singles --- and very few retirees exceeded the threshold because $32,000 went nearly twice as far in 1983 as it does today. And that's the problem. Every year, retirement benefits rise but the $32,000 and $25,000 thresholds remain. As a consequence, more and more retirees are paying taxes on Social Security benefits. Burns states that an average couple retiring in 2005 could have additional income of $17,167 before any of their Social Security income would be subject to taxation. However, average income couples who are now 30 and 40 years old, can expect that any income they have beyond their Social Security benefits will cause their benefits to be taxable. According to the 2004 Georgia State University/AON retirement income study, a newly retired two-earner, middle-income couple today needs about 75 percent of their combined pre-retirement income. The 75 percent figure reflects adjustments made for employment taxes, lower income taxes, savings and work-related expenses. Burns asks the question--- “How much more in taxes will today's 30- and 40-year-olds pay if they try to replace 75 percent of their earning power at retirement? --- a lot more. Today's average retiring couple can have other income of $17,167 before any Social Security benefits are subject to taxation. Only $5,980 of the $23,057 of additional income they need to replace 75 percent of their earning power will cause their benefits to be taxed. Only $2,945 of their benefits will be subject to taxation. As a result, the federal income tax will take only 1.6 percent of their $52,723 income, and their top tax bracket will be 10 percent. For a couple who are 40 today, there is no $17,167 running start. They will need $71,934 of income from other sources to replace 75 percent of their pre-retirement income of $185,877. As a result, virtually all of their benefits will be taxed, and their top tax bracket will be 15 percent. More important, income taxes will take 9.1 percent of their $139,400 income (in inflated dollars), nearly six times the burden on today's retirees.” Burns cities this example --- "A couple who are 30 today will have maximum Social Security benefits subject to taxation --- 85 percent. They'll also need $105,532 of income from other sources to replace 75 percent of their pre-retirement earning power. They will be in the 15 percent tax bracket. They will lose 9.7 percent of their income to income taxes, six times the burden on a 2005 retiree.” As things are today, tomorrow's retirees will have a significantly higher tax burden than those of today. Burns concludes that "All this has been in tax law since 1983. It's a sly inflation-based tax trap for the young. All efforts to end this generational tax mugging have been defeated. This happens because politicians of both parties continue to buy the votes of today's seniors with the income of the next generation." “ There is one difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist --- the taxidermist leaves the hide.” Mortimer Caplan, former IRS commissioner
-3- Our Planning – Saving – Investing For Retirement Workshops Should you buy stocks – mutual funds solely on the recommendations of the experts? There are a good number of experts who will give you a lot of information. The problem with all of them is that they are sharing opinions. And, many of their opinions will be wrong. Motley Fool tells– “We’ve yet to find anyone who can consistently predict the market’s short-term moves.” “Sometimes someone gets one or two big calls right and is hailed as a genius. But some (or many!) won’t come true. As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.” In our Planning – Saving – Investing For Retirement 301 Workshop, we spend time talking about the things you should consider when speaking with “an expert” about his/her recommendations. Your retirement may be years away but planning for it shouldn’t be. Talk to the people in your benefits – compensation office about our workshops and ask them to get in touch with us so that we can bring our sessions to your workplace. If you’d like to see a brochure which details what we do in our three sessions, send us an email ---firstname.lastname@example.org Homework: Will You Make Mistakes? We all do --- with our planning, our saving, life style decisions, living arrangements, etc. On page 7 of this newsletter, we list four common mistakes. For your homework this month, take a look at them and think about your plans. Are you addressing any of these items as you make your plans? A Step You Can Take: A Managed 401(k) Account If you are like nine out of every ten 401(k) investors, you don’t want to invest on your own --- you want some help. That’s the conclusion of a survey performed by New York Life Investment Management Retirement Plan Services. Kathy Reisinger, an accounting manager at the American Insurance Administrators is one of them. “I’m not interested in that kind of stuff at all. I’d rather have someone who looks at that kind of stuff for a living take care of my money.” So, Kathy turned to Investmart, a retirement services firm that already was the 401(k) plans record keeper. She is a part of a growing number of workers who are choosing managed accounts and letting the professionals handle the important decisions like asset allocation and periodic rebalancing. The need for help became more apparent and acute during the three-year bear market that began in 2000. Before then, it seemed, every fund was a winner. Some experts say that managed accounts can help employees boost not only their savings rates but also improve their returns. "The largest financial asset most people own is their 401(k) plan, and they admit they're inadequately prepared to take responsibility for the management of that asset," says Robert Rossi, Invesmart's director of investment research. A growing number of major plan administrators --- the Vanguard Group, Fidelity Investments and the T. Rowe Price Group --- offer managed accounts services for 401(k)s. Not all companies do but when they do, between 10 – 15% of workers enroll. The fact that these accounts are personalized to the individual is a tremendous draw. Jeff Maggioncalda, President of Financial Engines, an investment advisory firm that collaborates with Vanguard and other 401(k) providers, states “We use the same tools that money managers use to run big pension funds.” Other companies offering managed accounts include Morningstar of Chicago, Ibbotson Associates of Chicago and PMFM Inc. of Bogart, Ga. Their program begins with an evaluation of each worker’s account and includes an assessment of his/her savings rate, tolerance for risk and diversification. Employees who want a managed account can sign up with a call to a call center or they can do it on the Web and Financial Engines will manage a portfolio for them. Maggioncalda states that participants obtain access to professional money management but at a much lower cost. The fees typically range from 0.1% to 0.8% of assets and with no minimum investment. Your funds are automatically rebalanced and they will be invested more conservatively as you get closer to retirement. Proponents of managed accounts say that results to date indicate a higher participation among employees and more appropriate savings rates. Many experts expect that between 15% - 25% of the work force will utilize these accounts. “ Wallowing in the past may be good literature. As wisdom, it's hopeless.” Aldous Huxley, 1894 – 1963, British writer of novels, short stories, poetry What’s Your Plan: First Time Investor? Put Your Toe In The Water. Harold and Susan are newly weds. They have been working for their same employer for about a year. They have a small savings account at the bank where they have their checking account. They keep hearing that they should be saving and investing for retirement and they want to do it but they admit they don't know a thing about investing. They get a lot of advice from their co-workers but after listening to so many of them, they say, "We more confused about investing today than a year ago when we started to work here. What should we do?." Some experts say that Harold and Susan should do the same thing that most people do when they approach a swimming pool ---- put your toe in the water. Bill Schultheis, author of the book and column "The Coffeehouse Investor," has some suggestions. Bill says that for new - young investors like Harold and Susan, a good place to start with their retirement investing is a Total Stock Market Index Fund (Wilshire 5000 - passive index fund). It contains over 6,500 stocks that trade in the U.S. It is the most diversified index in the world. It basically covers all the public companies that trade in the U.S. It has some disadvantages in that it only contains companies with headquarters in the U.S. How has it performed? 1 year: 12.62%, 3 years: 5.47%, 5 years: -1.42%, 10 years: 11.92% 12/31/2004
-4- Of course, you could probably invest in some of the actively managed mutual funds in your 401(k). Let's do some comparison shopping. Scenario: Harold and Susan invest $500 a month in the Total Stock Market Index Fund and Joe and Jane invest the same amount in an actively managed fund. At the end of five years Joe and Jane's fund trailed the index fund by $3,320. At the end of ten years, it trailed the index fund by $18,175. At the end of fifteen years, it trailed the index by $56,916 and at the end of twenty years, it trailed the index by $142, 549. And once Harold and Susan are comfortable with their toe in the water at the "Investing Pool," they can them venture into higher waters. They can utilize a portfolio of seven no-load Vanguard Index Funds (The Coffeehouse Portfolio). They will put 40 percent in the Total Bond Index (VBMFX) and 10 percent in each of six stock funds: The S&P 500 Index Fund VFINX); Large-Cap Value VIVAX); Small-Cap (NAESX); Small-Cap Value (VISVX); Total International Stock Index (VGTSX); and the REIT Index (VGSIX). What are the Coffeehouse Portfolio returns? 1991 : 23.55%, 1992 : 9.57%, 1993 : 15.64%, 1994 : -0.58%, 1995 : 22.89%, 1996 : 14.53%, 1997 : 17.95%, 1998 : 6.88%, 1999 : 8.30%, 2000 : 7.25% 2001 : 1.88%, 2002 : -5.55%, 2003 : 23.56%, 2004 : 14.18% Annualized: 14 years: 11.08% (through 12/31/2004) Want to know more about Coffeehouse Portfolios? Visit www.coffeehouseinvestor.com/Returns for other examples of how to put your investment toe in the water. “ Investment planning is about structuring exposure to risk factors.”Professor Gene Fama Jr., President of Dimensional Fund Advisors This Month’s Question: Is It Luck Or Is It Skill? You cannot confuse luck with skill. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. You are at a conference where a number of experts are flipping coins and you are one of the experts. You flip 5 heads in a row on your first chance and a crowd starts to gather. You flip 10 heads in a row on your second chance and the crowd grows larger. You flip 15 heads in a row on your third chance and the crowd starts to cheer. Does that mean you are exceptionally skilled in terms of flipping coins? Do you have special skills that allow you to flip 10 – 15 heads in a row? Or does that mean that you just happen to be lucky on that specific day ? On the PBS Nova Special, The Trillion Dollar Bet , Boston University Professor of Economics, Zvi Bodie stated, "In flipping a coin, if you flip it long enough, there may be a long run of heads, which doesn't at all imply that the person flipping it had the ability to make it come up heads. It could just be the luck of the toss.” “ Narrator: This strange view arose from an unexpected discovery. After the stock market crash of 1929, economists decided to find out whether traders really could predict how prices moved by looking at past patterns. They decided to run a series of experiments. In one of them they simply picked stocks at random. They threw darts at the Wall Street Journal while blindfolded. At the end of the year, this random choice outperformed the predictions of top traders. This was a revelation: prices must be moving totally at random, and although patterns came and went, they were there by chance alone and had no predictive value. The economists arrived at a devastating conclusion: it seemed just as plausible to attribute the success of top traders to sheer luck rather than skill. Prof. Bodie: When some individual made a fortune in the stock market, we have a tendency to assume that that was because he knew something, and of course the individual himself is happy to reinforce that belief - yes, I was a genius, or I was very clever, or I always said Microsoft was going to make me rich. But what you don't see are the thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people who are going, I always said that ABC company was going to make me rich, and ABC company went bust." Know someone who made a bundle buying Google stock? But, was he/she smart or just plain lucky? Can a seasoned professional investor consistently beat the market? Many studies show that over time, they cannot consistently beat the broad market’s performance. If Google was such an obvious money maker, why didn’t the professional mutual fund managers buy enough shares for their fund? Would all of their bets – buys end up as large gainers? Maybe they are not stock picking geniuses after all. Will the guy who left the roulette table at the casino a winner last night, leave that roulette table tonight as a winner – or tomorrow – or next week? Will last year’s outstanding mutual fund be one of the top funds this year or next year? You can almost guarantee that there will be a new hot mutual fund at the top of the list on January 1, 2006. It happens every year. “ Wall Street’s favorite scam is pretending luck is skill.” Ron Ross How Can I : Find Out The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Annuities There are a lot of people who are confused about annuities. Perhaps that is the reason why the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, the insurance industry’s watchdog, is offering a brochure that explains the benefits and the pitfalls of these long-term investments. Download a free copy by visiting www.imsaethics.com . Building Your Nest Egg: What Can You Learn From Yale In the October issue of this newsletter, my friend Sandy --- The Smart Saver --- wrote a column on what you can learn about investing by paying attention to what the guy from Harvard is saying. This month I’m going to reveal what you can learn by listening what the guy from Yale--- David Swenson --- is saying. Swenson is the very successful manager of Yale University’s endowment fund --- a return of 16% a year over 20 years. He notes that portfolio managers like him have many advantages that will never be available to the vast majority of America's 95 million Main Street investors --- sophisticated analytical tools, timing, leveraging and trading strategies, hedge funds, foreign markets, commodities, tax advantages, etc.
-5- In his book, “Unconventional Success --- A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment," Swension says “The mutual fund industry fails America's individual investors. Certain disappointment awaits the mutual-fund shareholder who hopes to generate market-beating returns. The root of the problem lies in the competition between a mutual-fund management company's fiduciary responsibility and its profit motive. The contest almost inevitably resolves in favor of the bottom line. Individual investors lose.” Swensen says that the only way us little guys can win is to avoid the actively managed funds that make up 92% of America's $8 trillion fund industry. He specifically mentions not-for-profit companies like Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. Swensen originally set out to write a book to show investors how all that he learned making a ton of money for Yale University could be used by America's 95 million Main Street investors. He discovered just the opposite: That will never, never happen if you invest in actively managed funds. Bottom line: The only way to win is with a portfolio like the new "Yale Lazy Portfolio." CBS Marketwatch.com columnist Paul Farrell supplies us with an analysis of the "Yale Lazy Portfolio" that Swensen says is the only kind that America's investors should "engage" if they want decent returns and not just "line the pockets of mutual-fund managers at the expense of individual investors." Here's the portfolio's asset allocation, index funds and one-year, three-year, and five-year returns. Notice that it beat the broad market quite handily through both bull and bear markets the past five years. Care to engage yourself in an interesting exercise? Check on the funds that you own in 401(k), 403(b) or 457 investment plan and measure their performance against the “Yale Lazy Portfolio.” Did your funds perform ---better than --- just as well --- or not as well as the “Yale” portfolio? “Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” Groucho Marx 1890 – 1977, comedian Source: Lipper/data as of Sept. 16, 2005 Sandy The Smart Saver: Hi, I’m Sandy The Smart Saver and I am here once again to give you some tips on planning-Saving- Investing For Retirement and I am still taking a light- hearted approach and still trying to make the whole saving-investing for retirement process a “fun” event. And of course, I am still not your average squirrel. Camille (wife) and I enjoyed a visit with Uncle Guthrie and Aunt Sara, from Iowa, last week. A couple of years ago, during a previous visit, Uncle G. said he was thinking about early retirement. I can recall him saying, “Why not? My nest egg is in the nice six figures and it just keeps going up and up. I just can’t wait to tell the guys down at the shop “Sayanara”. Like a few others in the extended family, Uncle G. has a way with words. So, at the dinner table last night, I asked, “Uncle G., when are you going to retire?” He replied, “I’m waiting for the market to rebound.” Aunt Sara said, “He’s going to keep on trucking.” Uncle G added, “I can’t afford to retire. My nest egg is 40% of what it was in 1999. I then asked, “How about those early tee times every morning on the golf course, café latte and reading the free newspapers at Starbucks until noon, two hour lunch’s.” I have a great memory. Uncle G said, “Harumph!!!.” Uncle G. is like a lot of people in their 50s. The experts are telling us that Uncle G, like other investors counted too heavily on the exceptional double-digit returns of the late 1990s. According to the fourth annual Quicken Fiscal Literacy Survey, current economic conditions will force 2.3 million Americans to delay retirement. A survey by the AARP found that nearly 80% of Americans’ (50 – 70 years of age) reported portfolio losses which will force one in five to either postpone retirement or cut down on spending. Some retired seniors are going back to work. They are looking at the classified ads, networking with friends and sprucing up the resume. What we do know is that the number of older workers has increased gradually in recent years as baby boomers age and more people delay their retirement. But within the past year, there has been an increase that is attributable to retirees having to work again. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of older workers 55 and older jumped from 18 million in July, 2001 to 19.4 million in July 2002. This contrasts with a drop in the number of younger people in the job market. The B.L.S. says that the “labor force participation rate” for older workers increased by two percent from March of last year to August of this year, while the participation rate for younger workers fell 0.7%. Planning - Saving - Investing For Retirement Sandy Says: Retire From Retirement?
- 6 - Andrew Eschtruth of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, states, “Maybe people have seen these large losses in the stock market and concluded that it was either better to stay in the labor force if they were considering retirement or it influenced some people’s decision to get back in.” As Uncle Guthrie and Aunt Sara left the dinner table last week, I asked Uncle G. whether he was “Waiting for the market to rebound or revising his resume.” As you might suspect, his response was “Harumph!!!.” “ If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin, 1706 – 1790, American statesman, scientist, philosopher, writer, inventor Follow Up Report : The Immediate Annuity --- A Do It Yourself Pension You have been saving and investing for many years and at some point in time, you will want to use income from that nest egg to finance your retirement. One of the questions that many have difficulty answering is ----how long will I live. The problem? Without knowing how long your nest egg will need to last, you could end up making huge miscalculations. You may need to have that money last for many years. Today, a 65-year-old couple have a 50% percent chance that one of them will live past 90 years. With a defined benefit pension plan, your employer guaranteed those retirement checks and with Social Security, Uncle Sam took on the guarantee. But with a 401(k), guess who takes on that obligation ---- you. And the investment option that can promise a steady stream of income in retirement is the immediate annuity. But, first, let’s try to sort out the differences in annuities. It is easy to become confused about annuities; so many of us have some difficulty in understanding them. Basically, there are two types ---- deferred or immediate. A typical deferred annuity helps you to accumulate money while a typical immediate annuity provides you with a steady stream of retirement income in return for your purchase. Although you put money into both types of annuities, the difference is when you start receiving money from them. You get your money soon from an immediate annuity. You delay getting your money from a deferred annuity. Sandy Cartoon: Wife Camille: I have a question that has been bothering me for a long, long time. Sandy: What is it? Wife Camille: If George Washington was such an honest man, why do they close the banks on this birthday? Sandy: I’ll have to ask my friendly neighborhood banker . An immediate annuity is an annuity which is purchased with a single payment and which begins to pay out right away. With an immediate annuity, a regular income stream purchased with a lump sum investment, where the income stream starts immediately after the purchase. They are usually provided by a life insurance company for the purposes of retirement income. They are designed for the draw - down phase of your retirement. If you do not have a traditional pension (defined benefit), investing a portion of your retirement savings can provide you with a guaranteed source of lifetime income --- and that does provide a tremendous sense of security for nervous investors. Knowing that this income is coming in can also give you some confidence so that you can invest the rest of your retirement nest egg more aggressively. And when you include an annuity in your portfolio, you may be able to increase your monthly pay outs above the safe 4% annual withdrawal level that a good number of financial advisers recommend. Let's look at an example. Larry, a 65 year old man is investing $100,000 into an immediate annuity and in return, he will receive more than $8,000 a year in annuity payments. That ends up being more than 8% and he is guaranteed that he will not run out of dollars before he runs out of days --- not to outlive his money. Insurance companies can afford to pay out this money because their risk is pooled. You will get bigger payments but your checks will stop when you die --- even if that happens on the day after you invest. You --- with this scenario --- the people who die early, subsidize those who will live longer than expected. You can buy an annuity that will continue to pay for as long as you or your spouse lives, but your payouts will drop to about $7,000 (in our example) assuming that your wife is also 65 years old. But, don't run out right now and sign on the bottom line. Annuities can be down right complicated and you are about to make a set of financial decisions that will affect how comfortably, or uncomfortably, you'll live out the rest of your life. And that is why so many experts recommend that you spend at least one session with a qualified certified financial planner, who is trained to help you assess your needs and your risk tolerance and make recommendations on how best to allocate your wealth. “ The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867 – 1959, American architect and writer
Quick Takes #1: The Proof Is In The Pudding Why has index investing with mutual funds been so successful? Because it delivers what the market will deliver. The proof is in the pudding. Over the past 20 years, for example, the S&P 500 stock index fund has outpaced the average equity fund by 2.8% per year. A total bond market (Lehman Aggregate) index fund would have outpaced the average bond fund by 1.7% per year. And a balanced (60/40 in the respective indexes) index fund would have outpaced the average balanced fund by 1.7% as well. An investor who placed --- $10,000 in a low-cost index fund in each category twenty years ago would have increased his or her wealth by some $43,500, $15,400, and $24,500, respectively. And on an after-tax basis, given the remarkable tax inefficiency of actively-managed equity funds, the advantage would be even larger: Originally, the proverb was “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Proof in the full version of this proverb is used in the older historical sense of “test.” It originally referred to a type of sausage, then to any food in a casing or crust. The proverb means something like “don’t judge something superficially but judge it by the ‘true result’.” The first known use of this proverb is around 1300; it was attested in America in the late 18th century and it is considered one of the most common English proverbs. As you can see, the proof of this pudding is in its results. And you thought the only reason for this newsletter was to learn about retirement????? “ The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.” Virgil, 70BC – 19BC, Ancient Roman, Latin Poet and author of the epic, Aneid - 7 - Homework: Will You Make Mistakes? 1. Too many savers do not make adequate plans for retirement. Let’s look at someone who retired in 1969. Back then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the year at 800. A reasonable middle class salary was $15,000 a year. A new car would cost $2,000. The rate of inflation was 1.9 %. Who would have anticipated that inflation would gallop into double figures within a couple of years or that medical advances would make 85 years a reasonable life expectancy? 2. You cannot save too much money. Why? There will always be some surprises…inflation will go up, you may want to change your life style - you may want to do more things, your family situation may change (aging parents, children come back, higher than expected medical expenses, etc,). The roof will have to be replaced. 3. Today we are seeing a good number of people who have misguided or impossible expectations on the returns from their investments. Because a good number of us had been receiving a 20 to 25 percent return in the market a few years ago, some of us will expect that to continue in the future. 4. However, many investors today let safety dominate their investment strategies not only as they prepare for retirement but also in retirement as they seek to avoid the risk of the volatile market. Stock Market – Investment Humor Investor: I’d like to open a joint investment account. Broker: Who would you like to open it with? Investor: With someone who has money, of course. Quotable Quotes All things deteriorate in time. Virgil, 70 BC – 19BC, Ancient Roman Latin Poet and Author of the epic, Aeneid. Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others. John Maynard Keynes, 1883 – 1946, English economist and financier You cannot force anyone to love you or to lend you money. Proverb In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable. Robert Arnott, Investment Manager No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. Heraclitus, 544BC – 482BC, Greek philosopher Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone. Sigmund Freud, 1856 – 1939, Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis
- 8 - For additional information or if you have any questions, contact, Robert R. Julian, Retirement Planning Consultants, 313 Blackstone Avenue, Ithaca, New York 14850, (607) 255-4405, email: rrj1cornell.edu. Visit our website at retirementplanningconsultants.com Retirement Planning Consultants provides a number of resources designed to help individuals make informed decisions on planning – saving – investing for retirement. We offer unbiased and easy-to-understand information from an impartial outside source. We’ve been doing that for almost 30 years. Our “Planning – Saving – Investing For Retirement” workshops have helped thousands of individuals. This newsletter intends to present factual up-to-date, researched information on the topics presented. We cannot make any representation regarding the accuracy of the content or its applicability to your situation. Before any action is taken based upon this information, it is essential that you obtain competent, individual advice from an attorney, accountant, tax adviser or other professional adviser. Information throughout this newsletter, whether stock quotes, charts, articles, or any other statements regarding market or other financial information, is obtained from sources which we, and our suppliers believe reliable, but we do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of this information. No party assumes liability for any loss or damage resulting from errors or omissions based on or use of this material.