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Baby Boomers and Retirement Savings

New survey of baby boomers shows mounting retirement challenges

Average retirement savings fall well short of recommendations

Millennials are normally the ones stressing out over their lack of retirement savings, but a new survey suggests baby boomers may have an even bigger reason to worry.

The 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey by Greenwald & Associates found that only six in ten American workers feel confident in their ability to live comfortably in retirement. Baby boomers, it seems, are feeling a lot of pressure.

A new independent survey by Clever.com found that most baby boomers think they’...

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    Four ways companies can help their employees retire

    Encouraging people to work longer and providing ways to save would help

    Retirement planning is a hot button issue, with survey after survey showing that more people worry they won't be able to do it.

    A constant refrain from people in their pre-retirement years is they are unable to sock money away because of pressing current expenses -- such as supporting adult children and aging parents, or meeting their current living expenses.

    The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) has just released its 2017 Retirement Survey, which quizzed employers about their views on their employees' retirement future. It found 69% believe their employees could work to age 65 and still not have enough money to retire comfortably.

    The survey also identified four ways employers can help their employees do a better job of saving for their post-career years.

    Aging friendly

    The first recommendation is for companies to become "aging-friendly" workplaces. They can do this by by adopting inclusive practices, programs and benefits that recognize age with other demographic factors, says TCRS President Catherine Collinson.

    "With Generation Z's coming of age, we will soon have five generations in the workforce, an exciting and extraordinary opportunity to foster innovation through inter-generational collaborations with exchanges of knowledge, experience, and ideas," Collinson said.

    Longer careers

    Since people are living longer, why shouldn't they work longer? Generations ago people generally retired at 65 and died at 66. That's no longer the case.

    Collinson says many people want to work past age 65 and that would help them be better prepared financially when they eventually stop working. She says companies that make it easier to stay in the workforce are helping with the retirement situation.

    The good news is, the TCRS survey shows four out of five employers are supportive of employees staying on the job past age 65.

    Flexible retirement program

    People in their late 60s may be ready to step back but not leave the job market altogether. TCRS says company policies that allow or encourage older employees to slowly transition to full retirement are helpful.

    "Flexible retirement can be a win-win solution for workers and employers," said Collinson. "Today's workers need the ability to transition into retirement and have the flexibility to continue earning income until they are ready to fully retire. These types of phased retirement programs can help employers optimize workforce management and succession planning - while also generating good will among employees."

    Seamless savings

    Employees need to be encouraged to save for retirement and have an easy way to do that. TCRS says enhanced employee retirement savings programs not only provide an excellent benefit, they are critical to individual retirement planning success.

    These plans, such as company-sponsored 401(k) plans, are widespread but TCRS believes they should be expanded to include part-time workers. After all, since the financial crisis there has been a large increase in part-time positions.

    Currently, only 21% of companies have automatic retirement plan enrollment, which could make retirement saving seamless and relatively painless. TCRS says companies could also help their employees by offering pre-retirees education and advice on managing their retirement savings in retirement.

    Retirement planning is a hot button issue, with survey after survey showing that more people worry they won't be able to do it.A constant refrain from...

    Is retirement an outdated concept?

    Surveys show increasing number of people aren't planning for it

    Here's yet another study underlining the problems facing retirees, and as a result, how retirement itself may be fundamentally changing.

    Changing as in, maybe we aren't going to retire anymore, or not until we are too weak and infirm to be productive.

    The study comes from Country Financial, which reports consumers are worried about being able to afford retirement. But despite that concern, it also finds over half the people in the survey said they aren't saving money for retirement.

    What that suggests is people really aren't that concerned, or they have so much trouble meeting day-to-day expenses they don't think they have any money to put away. Either way, the notion of 21st century retirement is probably changing.

    Constant leisure

    For some, retirement holds out the promise of constant leisure, or the freedom to do whatever they want, without having to earn a living. To do this, however, requires a pretty significant income stream. And other studies have clearly indicated that most people approaching retirement don't have the assets for that. So there is a wide swath of the population that isn't going to achieve this kind of retirement.

    The Country Financial survey suggests that more and more people now plan to keep working and not retire until the very end of their lifespan. Over half of those in the study -- 51% -- do not include retirement in their long-term financial goals.

    The Economic Policy Institute came up with similar findings; nearly half of families have no retirement savings.

    Finding people in the workforce at age 70 or more is no longer uncommon, and may in fact become more common. The Pew Research Center reports only about 13% of Americans 65 and older were still working in 2000. Last year, more than 18% were.

    Working retirement

    Some people, in fact, enjoy what they do and don't want to quit. Others might want to leave their current job but try something else, even if it is part-time.

    Financial advisors, of course, point out that someone transitioning to part-time employment in their later years had better have some financial resources to supplement their reduced income.

    "Many Americans are outliving their assets because they did not include retirement in their long-term financial goals," said Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at Country Financial. "We strongly encourage people to develop a long-term plan so they can eliminate the fear of never being able to retire. By taking some simple steps almost everyone can have a plan in place to secure their financial future."

    Because people are now routinely living well into their 80s and beyond, the notion of walking away from income-producing work at 65 may be a quaint notion. Still, even if you aren't saving for retirement, you should be saving for something. Chances are, you're going to need it.

    Here's yet another study underlining the problems facing retirees, and as a result, how retirement itself may be fundamentally changing.Changing as in,...

    Are you sure you're getting the best retirement advice?

    Two retirement planners say most plans aren't that tax-efficient

    If you are approaching retirement, or have already arrived, you may depend on a professional's advice for managing your savings.

    It's certainly not a bad idea. But a couple of retirement experts have published research that calls into question some of the industry's conventional wisdom.

    William Reichenstein and William Meyer, top executives at Retiree Income, have published a paper focusing on tax-efficient retirement withdrawals. They contend there is a better way to create income from retirement savings.

    "Through our research, we found there are better strategies for creating retirement income than the ones the industry is currently using," said Meyer. "These strategies provide greater tax efficiency, creating six or more years of income. As an industry, we can do better for clients."

    Prevailing view

    Meyer says the prevailing view in the industry is that investors should pull out retirement funds from one account at a time, only beginning withdrawals from another account when the first one is exhausted.

    The accepted way to proceed is to start with tax-deferred accounts, then move on to tax-exempt. Meyer and Reichenstein say that's not the most tax-efficient way to do it.

    What investors should do, they contend, is take progressive tax rates into consideration, taking money out of multiple accounts at the same time. They also suggest using Roth conversions – all while taking advantage of years when the investor has lower marginal tax rates.

    Meyer and Reichenstein say these might be unconventional strategies but believe they can make money stretch another six years.

    Important first step

    Personal finance experts say choosing the right financial advisor is the most important step in heading toward a financially-secure retirement. Two of the most important factors are independence and objectivity.

    Any financial advisor you select should be in a fiduciary role, meaning he or she has to put your interests ahead of any commissions or fees they might earn on your investments.

    Personal finance expert Suze Orman has compiled some helpful do's and don'ts as you begin that process.

    If you are approaching retirement, or have already arrived, you may depend on a professional's advice for managing your savings.It's certainly not a ba...