Perennial Life: Living Your Today and Tomorrows

Accidental IconI was recently introduced to a new category: Perennials. According to Gina Pell’s article on Medium titled Meet the Perennials, this group of individuals can be described as: “Ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages.” In other words, your interests, perspectives, and mindset dictate how you view yourself and the world.

So as a Perennial, how do you manage your savings and investments?

Review Your Portfolio

First and foremost it means that the old formulas that financial advisors once used no longer apply. For example, when I began my career as a financial advisor in the 1980’s we used this formula: 100-Age=Stock allocation. This meant that if you were 60-years-old, 40 percent of your portfolio should be in stocks. With interest rates on fixed income investments having declined below 2 percent in the past decade, how can your savings possibly keep up with inflation?

Modernize Your Approach

Next, you can’t predict the future so you must live in the present. Living like a Perennial means keeping your perspective, staying relevant and leveraging technological advances. We are in a new financial normal that rewards those of us who acquire the ability to cope with the velocity of change that occurs almost daily. Technological advances now allow you to manage your finances and have lower cost investment management accounts—increasing your overall return and investment performance. Have you considered using investment management services that use artificial intelligence or Robo-advisors? Considering that 90 percent of Index Funds outperform their professionally managed counterparts, using a supercomputer like IBM’s Watson doesn’t seem like a farfetched idea.

Finally, when was the last time you ventured out to explore what other people are doing to adapt to this pace of economic change? Attend seminars at your local library or enroll in a personal financial or investment course at a university or community college to gain additional insight and exposure to evolving financial solutions. Best of all, these courses are usually free to senior citizens.

Tips to Help You Manage Your Finances like a Perennial

1. Are you a baby boomer and/or recent empty nester impacted by college and/or wedding expenses that limited your ability to fully fund your retirement? Your retirement savings target should be to save 10 times your annual salary, according to Fidelity’s savings factor chart. Take advantage of retirement catch-up provisions that allow you to contribute an additional $5,000 to your employer-sponsored retirement plan and an additional $1,000 annually in a Traditional or Roth IRA.

2. Will you have a variety of retirement income options? Tax deferred retirement savings plans are great until your withdrawals become taxable income. Employers have introduced Roth 401k’s where contributions are not tax-deductible but withdrawals are tax-free. To determine which retirement account option gives you the greatest advantage, use Bankrate.com’s 401k Roth calculator. 

3. Will your retirement savings withstand all economic climates? The greatest risk during retirement is longevity risk or outliving your savings. Your asset allocation model will determine your ability to weather the ups and downs of the financial markets. The aforementioned artificial intelligence-driven investment services like Betterment.com or Wealthfront are designed to handle asset allocation choices and lower overall portfolio volatility.

4. Live for today, but plan for the future. You may not be ready to retire, but you should have a plan and a full understanding of your options. Have you explored potential tax savings and deductions? Do you have a financial plan for the possibility of long-term care? How will you continue to protect your nest egg? What will your monthly expenses look like? Acts Retirement can help answer your retirement financial security questions.

Perennial flowers come in all types and varieties, but my personal favorite are Hostas. They are resilient, multiply year after year and can be used for borders or as a ground cover in a garden’s design. These attributes of versatility and adaptation exhibited by the Hosta plant and most perennials can be emulated to flourish in our lives and financial portfolios.

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