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  • Writer's pictureJeremiah Butout

Retirement Income Investing As Rates Stay High

Present economic conditions are ripe with opportunities to enhance income

Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of many years of labor; a season to reap the benefits of smart saving and investing. However, with the changing tides of the economy, particularly the rise in interest rates, a new set of opportunities has presented itself for retirees. The investment landscape for those in their golden years is sparkling with potential, albeit with a few caveats that require a keen eye and a prudent mind.

Capitalizing on Higher Interest Rates

Financial advisors are generally in agreement that the recent hikes in interest rates have opened a golden door for retirees. Previously, cash reserves were languishing in accounts with yields that were almost negligible. Now, that same cash can earn significantly more, with options such as a money market account offering returns upwards of 5.25%. This shift is substantial, especially considering the length of time many retirees may have their cash in reserve.

However, the observation that many retirees are yet to take advantage of these higher rates is a concern. Traditional bank money market accounts often yield less than 1%, a stark contrast to the 5% that could be garnered elsewhere. The difference may seem minute in the short term, but over time, especially early in retirement, this can equate to a considerable amount of forgone income.

Diversifying with Cash Equivalents

Exploring the market yields alternatives to traditional savings vehicles. Many firms offer products that are akin to parking your cash in a vault of security – these are typically cash equivalents backed by federal Treasuries packaged in an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) format. These options, which were not available a decade ago, offer minimal risk and are an excellent counterpart to money market accounts.

For those worried about the sustainability of their retirement portfolio, particularly the common concern of drawing down 4% annually, locking in a higher fixed income rate now becomes a viable solution to mitigate such fears.

A Balanced Approach

In terms of growth, a diversified portfolio remains the cornerstone of a sound retirement investment strategy. Such a portfolio usually encompasses a blend of equities, alternative investments, and bonds. This diversified mix aims to balance growth with risk management, allowing for both capital appreciation and income generation.

For the income component – often referred to as the "paycheck replacement" – savvy financial planners are veering away from annuities, with their hefty fees, in favor of cost-efficient, liquid, and flexible portfolios.

These are often composed of high-quality, short-term, investment-grade bonds, offering stability and steady income.

Navigating the Challenges

Despite the positive investment climate for income, retirees face challenges, particularly if relocation and home purchasing were part of the retirement plan. The surge in mortgage rates, now around 8%, can dampen such ambitions. Many retirees benefit from extremely low mortgage rates on their current homes and relocating would mean locking in much higher rates, significantly increasing their monthly expenses.

This obstacle underscores the importance of holistic financial planning that takes into account not just investment income but also life decisions that can impact financial health.

For retirees, the present economic conditions are ripe with opportunities to enhance their income through astute investing, but they come with the need for careful consideration and strategy. Embracing the higher interest rates and diversified investment options, while being mindful of the broader financial implications of life choices, can help you work toward retirement not just being a time of rest, but also a period of financial prosperity.


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

An investment in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), structured as a mutual fund or unit investment trust, involves the risk of losing money and should be considered as part of an overall program, not a complete investment program. An investment in ETFs involves additional risks such as not diversified, price volatility, competitive industry pressure, international political and economic developments, possible trading halts, and index tracking errors.

Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

This article was prepared by FMeX.

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