As if economic news wasn’t depressing enough, this week Hewitt Associates, “a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company,” got some press with a report that is sure to fuel money worries in all but the most financially secure Boomers-and-beyond. Quote: When factoring in inflation and increases in medical costs, Hewitt predicts that employees will need to replace, on average, 126 percent of their final pay at retirementâ€”significantly more than the traditional targets of 70 to 90 percent pay replacement. Yikes!
But all is not lost, the report goes on to say. Small changes in behavior, e.g. increasing one’s savings, smarter investing, lower fees, and delaying retirement, can “enable more people to achieve a more comfortable standard of living once they retire.” The Motley Fool does the math differently, factoring out the ‘costs that evaporate once you leave the workforce’ — Retire Well for Less That You Think — to show that you need to replace much less income than is commonly supposed.
Both miss these points: 1. You can choose to reduce your standard living in any one of a number of ways, of which clipping coupons is the least creative and downsizing your living space perhaps the most disruptive, and 2. Opting to retire in the traditional sense will almost guarantee that you’ll be increasing your medical costs, so the choice to keep working in some capacity (pro bono, if you can and wish), actually positively impacts your bottom line.
For other fresh thinking and great tips you won’t find anywhere else, get yourself a copy of the new edition of Retire on Less Than You Think by Fred Brock, former Seniority columnist of The New York Times. Accessible as a Dummies book, it includes right-on personal anecdotes like how Brock cashed in a house in Montclair, NJ for a much less expensive one in Manhattan (Kansas, that is), and not only reduced his expenses but pocketed the difference.Â By the way, he also ‘retired’ from Times job to become a journalism professor.Â Read this review.