The world as we know it is changing faster than ever as technology and innovation increase exponentially. Such changes profoundly impact subsequent generations and play a substantial role in financial planning.
What we knew about retirement planning even a few years ago is no longer applicable to today's workers. We'll explore how the retirement process is evolving and alternative ways to help you prepare for your golden years without worry.
A Job Is No Longer a Life-long Endeavor
Boomers often embraced their jobs, working 30 or 40 years in a single position. The modern workforce tends to follow new employment opportunities more often, boasting better pay and benefits.
In today's job market, employers need to dangle 401k's or other perks to bring people in but also understand employees may not remain loyal for very long. More often, incentives hinge on loyalty, proved by time on the job before taking effect. Additionally, those actively switching jobs may have to deal with investment rollovers or several financial retirement buckets.
Life Keeps Getting Longer
We live longer lives than previous generations, a happy sentiment that leads to more financial challenges as money has to stretch farther than ever before. Unfortunately, common retirement planning strategies lean on outdated lifespan projections, leaving gaps in future financial needs.
The Retirement Age Is Moving
How well each generation prepares for the future remains to be seen. Younger demographics wish to retire earlier than ever before. Meanwhile, the average retirement age is shifting later as individuals discover they've underestimated how much to save. With so much economic uncertainty, financial security may be harder to reach.
Over 9.1 million Americans over 65 were taking on either full or part-time work as of January 2018. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this is up 60% from just a decade prior.
The Dangers of Inflation
We are in the midst of an out-of-control rise in the inflation rate, jumping over 9% from 2021 to 2022. As dollar value depreciates, the amount needed for future financial needs increases. Without any way to predict a dollar's worth even a few years down the line, individuals are rethinking retirement income goals and generating more savings than previously planned.
New technologies bring along new investment opportunities, often placing control of one's retirement portfolio firmly in the hands of the individual. Removing the reliance on an employer's 401k or pension, employees can plug funds into self-directed IRAs or look to blockchain and cryptocurrency instead. A multitude of options is a good thing but can also lead to complexity and confusion.
Lack of Knowledge
Retirement planning is no longer cut and dried. What was standard in the past isn't always still true, requiring individuals to seek answers about their future wealth management.
There's a need to start saving sooner than ever, and many lack an understanding of the first step toward having enough retirement income. Without a grasp on how to reach ideal retirement outcomes or even how much they'll need, many Americans are beginning their savings journey later than they should.
Alternative Ways To Invest for Retirement
All hope is not lost. Changing times call for alternate measures. Here are just a few innovative solutions that may boost your financial situation now and in years to come:
Buying real estate can be an effective method of generating retirement income. Rental properties are surprisingly inflation-resistant, as rising costs translate to increasing rent. Homes rarely depreciate over time, presenting the opportunity to sell down the road and recoup your entire investment. If you purchase a multi-family residence, living in one area of the home is possible while renting out the other.
If buying a home outright isn't in the budget, you can invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs) instead. REITs represent companies owning or financing residential or commercial properties across various sectors. Being liquid, there's no requirement to stay with a REIT for any minimum length of time. Nearly all REITs pay out healthy dividends monthly or quarterly, making these assets an excellent source of passive income.
While not always the case, stocks paying out dividends typically have a firm foundation and healthy cash flow. In turn, these companies give investors a yield based on income generated during a particular cycle.
In an ideal world, these assets will see growth and an increase in stock value over time. However, there is always a risk when investing in the stock market. When share prices fall, dividend stocks offer the chance to earn money regardless.
Invest in Small Businesses
Retirement income can come from an investment into a small business, either as an owner or silent partner. With thorough research, building or locating a company with limitless profit potential is possible. Of course, not all ventures pan out, but the return on investment could be substantial over time.
Commodities cover several industries, from energy to precious metals and even foodstuffs. Most of these items play a crucial role in our daily lives and should continue to be prevalent for the foreseeable future. Even when inflation sets in, companies dealing with particular products typically see share price increases as base costs rise.
The best way to involve oneself in commodities is through investments in organizations representing a product of interest. When looking for a less-risky retirement portfolio, consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs) following an index containing several stocks for a particular asset class.
While gold and silver see technological uses, these commodities have natural value, often seeing growth with time. According to Gil-Alana et al. (2015), these types of investments are cyclical and, therefore, can be a great source of portfolio diversification. Investors may buy these precious metals directly instead of relying on a depreciating currency.
Cryptocurrency is still primarily in its infancy, but many investors turn to digital coins during retirement planning. Many previously established currencies have already seen their day in the sun and may no longer be viable for investment. However, new coins on the horizon could eclipse the growth seen by the most popular coins of recent years.
We are squarely in the center of a shift in the retirement mindset. Those working can no longer rely on Social Security or old solutions to secure a safe financial situation for the future. Fortunately, changing times come with alternative means for financial stability that anyone can pursue in lieu of what employers or the government can provide.
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Noah Zelvis is an American copywriter on a mission to help clarify the nuances of the financial world. He is on staff with The Stock Dork (https://www.thestockdork.com/), where you'll frequently see him making stock picks and evaluating services. When he's not working, you'll likely find him running or traveling.