One of the important challenges in retirement planning is deciding what values to use for the expected returns of stocks and bonds. Everyone likes to talk about investment returns, so these numbers are likely going to capture the interest of clients. That means you’d better ensure your numbers are reasonable.
As investors approach retirement, many will ask their advisors whether it’s time to change strategies to focus on dividends and other income-generating investments. It’s easy to see why they feel compelled to switch gears once they are no longer in the accumulation stage. But problems can arise when retirees base their investment decisions primarily on yield rather than looking at the big picture. Here are three reasons to focus on a retiree’s total return rather than current income.
No one would consider a defined-benefit pension to be a retirement problem. But when a significant slice of an investor’s retirement income will come from a DB plan, it can be a challenge to decide on the right asset allocation for the client’s personal portfolio.
In late January, the loonie flirted with $0.90 USD, its lowest level since the summer of 2009. For retirees who spend time in the US and abroad, a falling loonie makes travel much more expensive. It also underscores the importance of currency diversification in an investment portfolio: a declining Canadian dollar boosts the returns for foreign stocks. But getting that exposure without taking undue risk requires some thoughtful planning.
Warren Buffett famously advised investors to be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy. Of course, the reason this strategy is so effective is that most of us are greedy when others are greedy. And as advisors conduct their annual reviews, they may be seeing some of that greed in their clients.
What a remarkable year 2013 has been for investors. As of late November, the global equity markets (as measured by the MSCI World Index) were up more than 30% in Canadian dollars, while the DEX Universe Bond Index was headed toward its first negative year since 1997.
Among all the principles of retirement planning, perhaps none is more fundamental than the idea that a portfolio should become less risky as the client gets older. Indeed, the whole industry of target-date retirement funds is built upon the idea that equity allocations should gradually decrease as the investor gets older. But a pair of prominent researchers recently flipped that idea on its head.
Retirees in Canada benefit from a number of tax breaks, one of which is the pension income tax credit. Eligible taxpayers can claim up to $2,000 of qualifying income, which can include employer pensions, RRIF withdrawals and annuity income.
It might help to get some inspiration from pension funds—after all, a client’s retirement portfolio is just a type of personal pension plan designed to provide a lifetime of income.
Few situations are more difficult for an advisor than when a client loses a cherished partner.