Lists of retirement “myths” – erroneous beliefs about planning for retirement – pop up fairly regularly in financial news. Though each list offers a different number of myths to worry about – five, seven or even ten or more – the goal is the same: to increase awareness about the pitfalls of poor– or nonexistent – retirement planning because of assumptions that just may not turn out to be true: faith in pension and retirement plans, home equity and personal circumstances.
Many people nearing retirement age responding to the surveys on which the myth lists are based said they expected to work well beyond retirement. Although the majority of these individuals were working in fields where retirement isn’t mandated – as business owners, academics and lawyers, among others – unforeseen circumstances can derail that plan. An unexpected health problem or family situation, changes in economic conditions, or a change of heart about the whole thing can mean a need to fall back on retirement income.
Others, nearing retirement with limited savings, think it’s just to late to try to create a better income stream. These folks may be relying on an employer’s pension plan or Social Security to fill in the gaps. Some may have a retirement savings account without much in it. But financial experts say it’s never too late to start planning. And for those who can manage it, investing in real estate or becoming an entrepreneur may provide a solution to creating income in retirement.
A third group tends to rely on home equity as a backup source of retirement money. But, as the ups and downs of the housing market over the last few years have shown, that’s an income source that may not be reliable. If housing values fall, or sales go flat in the local market, homeowners needing to sell quickly may not end up with as much as they’d hoped on the deal.
There are other myths about retirement savings, too. People put faith in family members to help out, or they may simply miscalculate the amount needed for a comfortable and prosperous retirement. Anticipating personal needs, as well as the volatile nature of the economy, may be difficult. But in today’s world, people can expect to live a third of their lives – or maybe more – post-retirement. That’s a long time – longer than many realize.
Of course, these myths about retirement are not really myths. There’s truth in them all – and for many people, these scenarios work out fine. Pension plans are generous, homes sell for he right amount, and jobs last well beyond retirement. But the one certainty is change. . For first responders and heroic investors of all kinds who are contemplating retirement – at whatever age — the key is to take active steps to ensure a secure income stream. Investing in income property, as Jason Hartman advises, can lay the foundation for that kind of income stream, allowing retirees to enjoy life without financial constraints.