One of the challenges retirees face today is low interest rates. To help manage, try these three plans.
Years ago, retirees could live off the interest from bonds and CDs. But a lot has changed. Now interest rates are at record lows, and retirees are not getting the income they need.
But don’t fear. Retirement is not out of reach. You just need to plan smarter. And here are three examples of just how to do that. With the end result being to boost your retirement income.
1. Begin by lowering your expenses.
My clients write down all their expenses. Each item is then thought about. I ask them, can we reduce this expense in anyway? Can you go without it or live with it on a smaller level? Cellphone bills, cable bills, subscriptions, these all add up fast.
Other expenses are harder to find. Cash gifts to adult children are very common. Retirees need to have a discussion with their adult children on how that money could harm Mom and Dad’s ability to retire safely.
In addition to this, go over your insurance and request proposals for home, health and auto. I can normally find better deals for my clients. Or, another idea that sometimes works, try increasing your deductible. Doing this will save you cash on premiums. This assumes of course that can meet the higher deductible when you file a claim.
For life insurance, does it still make sense? If your mortgage is paid and your kids out of college, maybe redirecting your dollars to long-term care insurance could be better.
2. Reduce your taxes smartly
Search through your tax returns for leaks. Are you canceling income with losses? If any of your stocks or funds lost money, you can take up to a $3,000 loss against your income. Are you giving to charity in the most tax favorable way? Giving a stock could be much better than giving cash. Giving stock lets you “sell” without paying taxes on that selling. This lets you preserve your cash for living expenses.
And if you have self-employment or consulting income, are you putting money into a retirement account? Self-employed (SEP) IRA are tax-deductible. You should use them to reduce your taxable income and build your savings for future needs.
3. Let your portfolio do the work.
Many retired people set up dividends and interest to be reinvested back into their portfolios. Instead, have all portfolio income paid to you. My retired clients get a weekly check or a wire to their bank account from their interest and dividends. The advantage? You won’t touch your principal. The downside is of course that growth might be limited. That is just a trade-off. And for retirees, it might be a good trade-off to make.
The key is to understand that the old-fashioned “living off interest” way of retiring is not a possibility any longer. These days, retirees must be smarter.
If you are feeling uneasy about retirement, you should go see an experienced financial adviser.