MONEY: Financial planning with old memes

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-coming-retiree-crisis-2012-10

Take Action Now To Prepare For The Great Retiree Crisis

Jeff Voudrie, See It Market | Oct. 10, 2012, 8:30 AM

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The financial planning community has largely relied on assumptions regarding equity, debt and inflation percentages that have been experienced over the last 30 years.

There are 3 problems with these assumptions:

Equity returns the last 30 years have been extraordinarily high as a result of the longest and greatest Bull market in the history of U.S. stock markets. Accordingly, many financial plans used projections that assumed equity returns of 8-10% a year.

Debt returns over the same period are equally skewed. Remember the double-digit interest rates of the 1980’s? In 1989, as a young broker, I was selling 30-year TVA bonds yielding 10%! Financial plans the last 5-10 years have used interest rate assumptions around 5-6% a year.

The scenarios that led to the historic markets the last 30 years are very unlikely to EVER be repeated in today’s retiree’s lifetime. And those who are taking distributions based on these outdated assumptions may soon run out of money.

For instance, let’s assume that someone retired 5 years ago at age 60 with a $500,000 investment portfolio. Based on financial plans popular at that time, the retiree is taking $2500 a month in distributions—money they need to maintain their current standard of living. Since the plan anticipated the ability to average a 7% return on a portfolio with close to 50% in equities, the retiree expects to be able to take those distributions and never run out of money.

Adjusting those assumptions based on what many believe resembles more reasonable assumptions going forward requires decreasing the rate of return assumption for a similar-risk portfolio to around 4% and increasing the inflation assumption from 1-2% a year to 3-4% a year (which may still be too conservative). Suddenly, the portfolio that should last forever is now projected to be exhausted in only 16.8 years! That means that the entire nest egg and what it earns cannot sustain the current withdrawal rate. Since the retiree started the withdrawals five years ago, now they are down to 11.8 years—running out of money around age 76!

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Clearly, the political class has screwed up the American economy.

Pity the poor, the elderly, the middle class, those on fixed income.

Inflation is grossly understated by the “official” stats.

Are we headed to be like Europe or pre-WW2 Germany?

Clearly, everyone needs to update their financial plans.

I’ve recommended to my turkeys that they adjust their “money reserve requirements”.

Everyone better plan to work for a longer time.

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