Retirement Roundup: A
digest of news from publications around the nation about finance, investing,
Working baby boomer men contribute 10 percent to their
401(k) while baby boomer women contribute 7 percent. For millennial men and
women, the median rates are 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively. What gives?
Pew Research Center shows that more women than men take “significant” time off
from a career to care for children. Time out of the workplace can dampen
long-term salary. Even when women are in a position equal to a male
counterpart, women on average earn less.
About one in four adults age 65 and older still work, a number that experts expect to rise. Multiple factors are behind this trend. First, fewer private-sector jobs offer defined benefit pension plans. If a retiree relies solely on a 401(k), which is driven by market returns, a recession or down period near a person’s ideal retirement date could force them to work longer. Second, about half of older Americans use retirement savings to financially support grown children. Third, the median savings for baby boomers is about $150,000. Finally, nearly half of private sector employers don’t offer employees any type of retirement plan.
When planning for the future, we all must make educated
guesses. If you have a 401(k) or 457, a tough but crucial question to ask is
“how will my investments do in the next 10, 15, 20 years?” If the sum of all
your investments breaks down to about 60 percent stocks and about 40 percent
bonds, the average long-term return people often use often lands in the range
of 5 to 8 percent. Of course, in any single year, your returns might be
significantly above or below that range.
As people live longer and as pension systems adopt more conservative investment assumptions, unfunded liabilities have grown in more than 4,000 public sector pensions. This article suggests that while each pension system requires a unique plan to move forward, the best plans share some common traits: Using a “shared sacrifice” model is often most effective, rigorously stress testing the pension’s portfolio to see how it would perform, and phasing in changes over time.
Citing its large user base and advances in technology that make trading more efficient, Charles Schwab announced it will no longer charge to buy or sell stocks and exchange-traded funds online. Other companies have since followed suit. Lower costs are a win for consumers. However, for investors, commission-free trades might incentivize overtrading, adversely affecting long-term returns. While sophisticated traders have the time and tools to trade at a high frequency, many investors are better off buying and holding a diversified set of funds, or a single target-date retirement fund, for the long term.