Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Silver Bull Market Update - 7th Aug 20
This Inflation-Adjusted Silver Chart Tells An Interesting Story - 7th Aug 20
The Great American Housing Boom Has Begun - 7th Aug 20
NATURAL GAS BEGINS UPSIDE BREAKOUT MOVE - 7th Aug 20
Know About Lotteries With The Best Odds Of Winning - 7th Aug 20
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

A Million Dollars Isn’t What It Used to Be

Personal_Finance / Money Making Oct 23, 2013 - 09:58 AM GMT

By: Don_Miller

Personal_Finance

We all share a common goal: to grow our nest eggs and make sure they last over the long haul. Our generation was taught to live off the interest and never touch the principal, but interest rates for CDs and Treasuries no longer allow for that. Frankly, they don’t even keep up with inflation, so we have to invest our money elsewhere if we want it to last.


It is a challenge to keep up with inflation and earn enough income to supplement our Social Security. Also, when our respective parents died, my wife and I each inherited a bit of money to add to our retirement fund, and we hope to do the same for our children. Many of you likely have a similar goal.

In 2007, an investor with $1 million could earn $60,000 annually on a certificate of deposit. Today, that same CD would earn $12,000, which makes things a lot more difficult. We will use $1 million in our examples simply because it’s an easy number to follow and do math with in our heads. However, the principles we’ll discuss apply no matter what size your retirement portfolio happens to be.

The Old Rule of Thumb

Back in the good old days, there were four estimates that worked well for conservative retirement planning:

  1. Return on your portfolio: 6%
  2. Inflation rate: 2%
  3. Age your money needs to last to: 120 years old
  4. Percentage of your portfolio to invest outside of CDs and high-quality bonds: 100 minus your age at retirement

Will 100 Minus Your Age Work Today?

A retiree who invests 65% or more of his or her nest egg in Treasuries or CDs will not earn enough to keep up with inflation, let alone pay the bills. Furthermore, while fixed-income investments were once considered safe, they carry significant risk, as rising inflation rates could destroy their value. So, retirees are under a two-sided attack.

How Should We Factor in Inflation?

This is really a twofold question: what is the inflation rate; and how does it affect our personal buying power?

Regardless of what the inflation rate is, to maintain the buying power of our nest egg, our principal must be adjusted every year. If we have $1 million and plan for 4% inflation to leave a little room for error (that’s a little over twice the official September 2013 annual rate), we need to earn $40,000 at the end of the year to cover inflation. Anything above that is supplemental income, or we can keep it in our portfolio.

There has been a lot of discussion about what the real rate of inflation actually is. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ (BLS) formula is quite complicated, and takes into consideration housing costs, food, and health care, etc. However, the BLS inflation rate can seem irrelevant when your costs are increasing much faster than it suggests they should.

In our reader poll, folks estimated their personal inflation rate at 8.1%, on average. Using that number, you would need to earn $81,000 on $1 million dollars just to stay even. Depending on your personal expenses, inflation will affect you differently. So, take a good look at your expenses and find a reasonable rate that suits the rising costs in your life.

Inflation varies from year to year. Most folks think the increase to our 2013 Social Security checks did not even come close to covering the true inflation rate for 2012. While inflation over the last 30 years may have been 2-3%, it is much better to err on the side of caution. I’d rather overshoot the number than not. So, set a reasonable inflation target that’s somewhere above the official 2.0% rate.

Personally, I believe there is a commonsense rule that applies. A few years ago my wife Jo and I had a terrific year, with overall returns in excess of 25%. When that sort of windfall occurs, a retiree who wants to stay retired will use some common sense and not go on a spending binge. They will take out only what they need to meet regular expenses and leave the balance in their portfolio to grow. When a lean year comes along, we may fall a percent or two short. Life is much less stressful if during most years we bank a little extra to build a cushion.

What About 4% to Supplement Your Income?

Unlike inflation and CD rates, there are some variables over which we do have control. Income and 4% are great examples.

Many baby boomers and retirees are choosing to exercise caution here. I recently heard of a baby boomer who sat down with his analyst and saw that while he had enough money to retire, it would be close. He enjoyed his job and wanted to enjoy retirement without worry, so he decided to keep working for a couple of years to build up a cushion.

In addition, a lot of retirees are now back in the work force. While some may have to work in order to put food on the table, others have simply taken part-time employment doing something they enjoy. A friend of mine who needed a new car decided to go back to work to pay for it instead of taking the money out of his nest egg. He didn’t have to, but thought it better to err on the side of caution.

During the first few years of our retirement, taking out 4% to cover living expenses was no problem at all. Now I see lots of folks, Jo and myself included, who are looking at expenses much more critically. They are cutting back on a lot of things that really don’t affect their lifestyle. Maybe we don’t need to pull out 4% anymore.

As an illustration, we used to have XM radio. It was cool because we could listen to ‘50s and ‘60s music without a bunch of CDs falling all over the place. When we bought it, it was $9.95/month – no big deal. Now it is close to $15/month per vehicle. My son pointed out I could download all of our music onto our cellphones, and it can play through the Bluetooth on the radio. Now we sing along to the same music without the monthly cost.

Controlling Financial Risk

If you feel extremely behind in your retirement, you may have made some mistakes in the past. However, remember there’s only one thing worse than making one big mistake – it’s making two big mistakes.

We cannot put more of our life savings in high-risk investments to try to pick up the slack. That is like a gambler doubling his bet to make up for his losses – and we all know how that story ends. We are at a point in life where a do-over is unlikely. The consequences of losing a major portion of our nest egg are too catastrophic to justify foolhardy risks.

So, while it’s tempting to play catch up by taking on more risk, we recommend staying safe instead of possibly getting yourself in even deeper trouble. You may have to adjust your lifestyle a bit, but that is much better than losing a major portion of your life savings to a poor investment decision.

Some of my Money Forever regular readers are already retired and some are a few years out. Either way, they have all committed the time and resources necessary to become their own money managers—to continually learn more about handling their money. Remember: no one has more of a vested interest in you getting this right than you do.

From the very first issue of Money Forever our goal—my mission­­—has been to help those who truly want to take control of their retirement finances. I want our subscribers to have more wealth, a better understanding of how to create an income-producing portfolio, and confidence their money will last throughout retirement.

With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to give Money Forever a try. The current the subscription rate is affordable – less than that of your daily senior vitamin supplements. The best part is you can take advantage of our 90-day, no-risk offer. You can cancel for any reason or even no reason at all, no questions asked, within the first 90 days and receive a full, immediate refund. As you might expect, our cancellation rates are very low, and we aim to keep it that way. Click here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules