Friday, August 6, 2021

Protecting Your Retirement Savings During a Recession

As you know, the year 2020 was difficult. During a turbulent economy, you might have questioned whether you were doing everything possible to keep your retirement savings safe. Perhaps that sparked something inside of you about how you would protect your money during a bona fide recession.

Fortunately, you can do five specific things to stay on track with your financial or retirement plan even when economic times are tough.

Don’t Leave the Market

During a recession, you might feel prompted to avoid the stock market. After all, there are always risks involved, especially during an economic downturn. However, a recession isn’t going to last forever. So, by staying in the market, you are very likely to reap the rewards later on when the market recovers.

Considering that people live longer today, that means they need income longer. To overcome inflation and benefit from financial growth, you want to keep investing your assets. As long as you have a solid financial plan in place, you’ll come out ahead.

A younger person might just ride out a recession while waiting for their portfolio to recover. In comparison, an older person who withdraws money regularly from savings will need a mix of assets and investments to stay untethered from the market.

Be Sure to Rebalance

While working, you can benefit from financial growth and safer assets that provide stability by having a mix of riskier assets in your portfolio. However, as you get closer to retiring, you’ll need to go with less risky options.

Not only do you want to set your asset allocation, but as you get closer to retiring, make sure to also regularly rebalance your investment portfolio. This is important since a long period of stock market returns can put you at greater risk.

For example, if your asset allocation is 80 percent stocks and 20 percent safe assets, years of growing in the stock market could turn that into a 90/10 scenario. In other words, if you have stocks that outgrow bonds, this would likely happen. 

By rebalancing, you can maintain the healthier 80/20 asset allocation. It’s simply not wise to take more risk than you need to when it comes to your financial plan.

Run Recession Scenarios On Your Plan

Everybody should understand the risk that their retirement portfolio contains. How will your portfolio do if we have another recession that is like the recession in 2008? 

What about the 2001 recession? Fortunately, there is a really comprehensive retirement tool made for consumers that allows you to do just that. The WealthTrace Planner is a retirement and financial planning application that allows you to choose which recession you want to mimic. 

You can run your entire retirement plan using a recession scenario to see how much you are impacted. It’s a great way to flesh out the risks you might be taking and if you are diversified enough.

Guarantee Some Retirement Income

Here’s another great way to come out of a recession unscathed. Utilize guaranteed income sources not affected by stock market volatility and accumulate a cash reserve. 

While you might experience a slight loss, it wouldn’t be anything near what you could lose by not taking the appropriate steps.

Stable sources of retirement income include things like pensions, Social Security benefits, and annuities. If you’re close to retiring, keep enough cash in a safe place like in a savings account at a reputable bank. 

You might also consider the cash value associated with a life insurance policy. If necessary, you could use that money as a reserve.

Don’t Forget to Diversify

An excellent way to reduce the risk of your portfolio caused by a recession is to diversify. That way, you can keep your investment portfolio from crashing no matter what’s going on with the economy. Now, if the market fluctuates, a portion of your portfolio could respond in a way that offsets any negative impacts. 

For example, bonds usually do well during recessions while stocks do not. This is what investment professionals call negative correlation and it is key to diversification.

You always want to have checks and balances built into your portfolio, especially during a recession. The key is to have a mix of investments, including stocks, bonds, and cash, as well as a mix within different sectors.

Potentially Rely on a Financial Advisor

When it comes to protecting your money, there’s no room for pride. Instead of assuming you have all the right answers, it might be better to talk to a financial advisor. 

Again, during a recession, you need expert advice and guidance. Based on your specific goals, an advisor will provide you with innovative strategies to achieve them.

The Bottom Line

Last year was a huge eye-opener for millions of people as to the importance of protecting their money and other assets. Although the pandemic was devastating and continues to cause problems, you can use it to understand why it’s so important to get help from your own retirement planning software or a financial advisor. 

With the right information, you’ll make sound decisions regardless of where you are in life or when you want to retire.

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