How to Sleep Better in Retirement

As people near retirement, most ask some version of this question: “What financial risks should I watch out for in this next chapter of my life?”

The answer is not that complicated: Many of the same risks you face now—plus a couple more.

Here’s why that’s interesting: If you are about to voluntarily retire, you probably have more money than you’ve ever had in your life. You’d think that would equal security, right? 

But it doesn’t because retirement is accompanied by the reality that you may never earn another dollar in your life. Your working days are over. You know…retirement.

So, most retirees discover they’re facing more financial risks than they did when they were working and had time to make up for any mis-steps. 

What are the risks retirees face? Here are eight:

  • Longevity risk. I might outlive my money. Women experience this more often since they are the ones (on average) that last longer.
  • Market volatility risk. I might lose (a lot of) my money. I probably don’t need to elaborate on this possibility.
  • Interest rate risk. I might earn too little income off of my money. 
  • Tax increase risk. I might be able to keep less of my money. No one knows the future, but with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in financial trouble, higher taxes are certainly a possibility.
  • Inflation risk. I might be able to buy less with my money. 
  • Liability risk. I could lose (some of) my money in a lawsuit.
  • Healthcare risk. I might have to spend (too) much of my money on healthcare, including long-term care. 
  • Human nature risk. I might experience any one of the above risks and do something really stupid (like panic or get greedy).

There are two common reactions to a daunting list like this one: denial or defeat. Some choose to blithely ignore these very real possibilities. Others get so overwhelmed, they give up. Neither of these responses leads to a good outcome.

I’d like to suggest a third option: make a plan. (And if you don’t know how to go about that, seek the help of a trusted financial advisor.) Your plan won’t be perfect, but in the same way that bad breath is better than no breath, a flawed plan is almost always preferable to a non-existent one. 

You want to create a comprehensive, synergistic plan that combines cash flows, spending, insurance, savings, tax planning, and investment management. 

In a risky world, here’s the truth I see again and again: The better you plan before you retire, the better you’ll sleep after you retire.

And if you want to get a good start on your retirement planning, take the RISA (“Retirement Income Style Awareness”) inventory. Email me ( for the link. It’s quick and free, and it’s a great first step in figuring out what sort of retirement income plan is best suited for your personality.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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