Have the repercussions of the pandemic impacted your retirement plans? Like it or not, COVID-19 has affected us all, be it financially, socially, emotionally, and/or physically. For some, it’s been a financial boon and for others, a bust. Whether you’re saving more than before, considering early retirement, or your retirement confidence has been shaken—chances are, the pandemic has played a part.
This year, instead of New Year’s resolutions, how about some New Year’s reflections? A new year is the perfect time to reassess and consider any “pandemic pivots” you might need to make. And after the wild ride we’ve had in 2021, some adjustments might be in order.
When it comes to your retirement plans, here are six major areas of reflection for the new year, including some important questions to ask yourself.
How the Pandemic May Be Affecting Your Retirement Plans: Six Areas to Consider
As financial advisors focused on retirement planning, we want everyone to prioritize saving for the future. As humans, we understand that sometimes life intervenes and things don’t go as planned.
You could be saving more now due to going out and travelling less. Or, on the flipside, maybe you had to use retirement savings to cover an unexpected job loss or illness. Now is a good time to ask yourself, “Does my financial plan still reflect my cash flow needs?” It’s possible your current budget needs a revision based on your spending habits now, versus two years ago.
Another important question—are you financially prepared for the unexpected? We’ve all heard of having an emergency fund, and recent events are a perfect example of why it’s so important.
With economic uncertainty comes increased market volatility. After a swift drop in March 2020, the stock market rebounded quickly and even hit record highs late in the year. Between the wacky GameStop surge and an increasing mainstream interest in cryptocurrency, 2021 has been just as wild.
Ask yourself “How comfortable am I in taking market risks?” At Wealth Legacy Institute, we preach patience and a long-term approach to investing. Asset allocation is one of the most powerful tools we use to help you achieve your financial goals while managing investment risk. Rebalancing your asset allocation (i.e. periodically buying or selling certain assets) can help you realign with your original plan based on how things have changed.
Your environment has a big impact on your happiness, and not just in retirement. Increased isolation and new travel restrictions have caused us all to reassess what really matters.
Ask yourself “Am I happy in my current location?” For many of us, the pandemic has underscored the importance of being close to loved ones. If you’re thinking about moving closer to family or finally purchasing that dream home in a place you really love, remember that doing so could have tax implications for your retirement. Consider the tax-friendliness of the location, especially if you’re moving to another state.
Life is uncertain and each day is a gift—the past few years have proven that. Whether you’re restless from being at home more or feel a new urgency to cross items off your bucket list, you may be asking yourself “Should I take that dream trip sooner than later?”
Our answer is—maybe! Travel can certainly enrich your life in retirement, but don’t do it at the peril of your overall financial plan. Assess your budget or consult with a financial advisor to understand the impact a big trip might have on your personal retirement portfolio.
Are you part of the Great Reassessment? With the pandemic as a catalyst, millions have quit their jobs or changed careers in search of more meaning and fulfillment. If your income has changed, you may need to adjust your retirement savings budget to match.
If you were forced into early retirement or you realized you want to retire sooner than originally planned, what do you need to do to make that happen? Retiring early means a longer timeline for making your savings last—so you need to factor it into your retirement planning calculations.
Soberingly, the pandemic has brought us face to face with our own mortality. Seeing friends and loved ones sick or in the hospital is a reminder that things can change in an instant. This makes having an estate plan all the more important.
Ask yourself “In the event that I become hospitalized, incapacitated, or die, are my affairs in order?” Also, consider whether your wishes have changed when it comes to things like wills, beneficiaries, burial plans, and powers of attorney. End-of-life matters are not fun to think about, but doing so will save your loved ones stress, while ensuring that your final wishes are carried out.
Why an Investment Process is Key to Securing Your Financial Future
It’s natural to feel anxious about the future, especially when the near term seems so uncertain. Whatever changes, big or small, have arisen for you in different areas of your life, they do figure into your retirement plans.
However, a sound financial plan should be flexible enough to bend during life’s ebbs and flows, but solid enough not to break under pressure. Whether that pressure is from personal circumstances, news headlines, or a global health crisis, having a strategic investment process helps you keep your footing, rather than getting swept away with the changing tides.
At Wealth Legacy Institute, our Intelligent Investing™ process is built on time-tested principles that serve as a framework for making choices when it comes to your personal retirement plan. Those foundations are:
- Investing for the long-term
- Balancing risk
- Diversifying globally
- Utilizing the six factors of return (value, low size, low volatility, high yield, quality and momentum)
By combining Intelligent Investing with our Planning for LIFE Experience™ process, we’re able to build you a financial plan that brings your vision, values, and goals to fruition for the retirement you’ve dreamed of.