Whether you’re getting ready to retire or already have, the need for growth is gone, right? Wrong. You don’t just need investments to get you to retirement; you need them to get you through retirement.
By not taking some market risk, there may be a greater chance you'll run out of money because of another major risk: inflation. An easy way to think about inflation (and the importance of growth investments) is through the increasing cost of your grocery bill:
Impact of inflation on living expense
The largest grocery bag is labeled "21 days" to show that a bag of groceries lasted 21 days in 1982. The second, smaller bag of groceries is labeled "5 days" to show that same of bag of groceries will only last five days in 2012 because inflation caused the price of the groceries to go up. The third and smallest bag of groceries is labeled "2 days" to show that it's estimated this bag of groceries will only last two days in 2037 because of the impact of inflation on grocery prices. The calculations are based on the 4.8% historical inflation rates for groceries from 1982 to 2021 and assume a family of two with a moderate cost plan. They're estimated to the nearest whole day. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Wall Street Journal.
Growth investments, like stocks or stock mutual funds, should remain an important part of your portfolio. Even if you're already retired, your savings need to help pay for today’s expenses as well as those possibly 25 years from now.
Focus on what you can control
If you took a more balanced approach and invested roughly 50% in stocks and 50% in bonds/cash, we estimate the odds that this portfolio will last 25 years is about 90%.1
So what should you do? Remember that even though you can’t control the market, you can control your investment strategy decisions. We believe there are quite a few actions you can take.
Plan for a long life
For a 65-year-old couple, there's about a 60% chance that one spouse will live past age 90 and about a 30% chance one spouse will live past age 95.2 One of the best ways to ensure your money lasts as long as you need it is to plan on living longer than you think.
Maintain your balance
While growth is still important in retirement, short-term market declines – especially early on – can pose a serious risk to your retirement strategy. Having too much in stocks and growth investments can be just as risky as having too little. The key is achieving balance.
Use cash appropriately
In addition to paying for everyday expenses, having cash on hand can help provide a source of ready money during market declines. After factoring in outside income like Social Security, we recommend having cash to cover at least a year’s worth of current expenses, plus three to five years’ worth of expenses in investments like short-term bonds or certificates of deposit (CDs). That way, you aren’t selling long-term investments when they’re down in value. Instead, you are providing them opportunity to recover.
Don't reach for yield
It may be tempting to look for the investments offering the highest dividend or interest rate. But as the old saying goes, there's no free lunch – the higher the rate, often the higher the risk of the investment. Instead of chasing the highest-yielding investment, look for companies that have a track record of growing their dividends over time.
How we can help
The key is finding balance – not taking on too much investment risk, while ensuring you have enough growth potential to reach your long-term goals. Your Edward Jones financial advisor can help you strike the right balance for you.
1 Assuming an initial 4% withdrawal rate and a 3% increase in withdrawals each year for inflation. An all cash portfolio is composed of Cash/Short-term Investments (50% Cash/ 50%Short-term Fixed-income). A Balanced Growth & Income portfolio is composed of (50% Stocks/45% Bonds/5% Cash).
2 Milevsky, IFID: Society of Actuaries RP-2000 Table.