Sometimes you have to take a risk. But not all risks are created equal. Some risks have rewards that greatly outweigh the potential downside. These risks can pay off big-time down the road, but its important to pick the right ones.
When it comes to personal finance there are lots of risks (and lots of rewards!). Taking a few strategic risks can do wonders for your long-term personal finances. But it’s important to understand the trade-offs.
Almost nothing in the world of personal finance is completely risk free (except maybe a guaranteed deposit with an insured bank) but there are four financial risks that can be worth taking.
If you understand the potential downsides, these financial risks can have a huge positive impact on your finances.
There are a number of personal and financial benefits when owning a home. There is the stability, the forced savings of mortgage payments, the potential for appreciation etc. etc. But there are two somewhat less obvious benefits of owning a home.
These benefits will help homeowners financially, both before retirement in the accumulation phase and also after retirement in the decumulation phase. These benefits will make it easier for homeowners to achieve their financial goals, decrease taxes, and minimize government benefit clawbacks.
In this post we’re going to explore two, perhaps hidden, benefits of owning a home.
There are a lot of risks that we face in retirement (including early retirement). When you enter retirement, there are lots of changes happening all at once. Along with big personal changes, and lifestyle changes, there are also big changes happening to your finances. After you enter retirement one of the biggest financial changes you’ll face is a shift from a regular income source (eg. employment) to an income source based entirely on your own savings and pension. Making this switch can create a few risks, one of those risks is the risk of running out of money.
One of the biggest risks facing retirees is something called sequence of returns risk. When a good portion of your retirement income comes from your own savings this is the biggest risk a retiree can face. But what does “sequence of returns risk” mean exactly?
Before we talk about sequence of returns risk it’s important to understand that most retirement plans are based on an assumed (and constant) investment return each year. This investment return is usually assumed to happen in a straight line with the same percentage return each year. An assumed return of return of 5% would be 5% per year starting on the day you retire, but in reality your investment return is going to fluctuate from year to year, and this is where the risk comes from.
Over the short-term you will probably see your investment return fluctuate greatly from year to year. Instead of seeing investment returns of +5%, +5%, +5%, +5%, +5%, you might see +20%, +2%, -10%, +15%, +1%. In this case the average return is still +5%, but there were some huge swings from year to year. “Sequence of returns risk” refers to this sequence, the actual investment returns you see year after year.
The big risk for retirees happens when the sequence is negative for a few years in a row. Even if average investment returns recover over the long-term, that short period of negative returns can have a devastating effect on a retiree’s portfolio.
Did you know that the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is getting bigger? Every year since 2019 CPP has been expanding and it will continue to expand for the next 40+ years until 2065. By the end, CPP will be HUGE!
CPP is an important retirement benefit. The old “basic” CPP aimed to replace 25% of pre-retirement employment income. The expanded CPP will increase this amount to 33.33% and will cover a larger amount of pre-retirement of income. The result is that CPP will be over 50% larger in the future.
If we follow the rule of thumb* that suggests that we need 70% of pre-retirement income in retirement, then for the average Canadian the new expanded CPP could provide nearly half of retirement income in the future. When combined with OAS this means that over half of retirement income could be covered by CPP and OAS combined.
*Rules of thumb are terrible, I hate them, find out why here.
In this post we’ll look at the current maximum CPP payment, the maximum CPP contribution, the current contribution rate, and how these will change in the future as CPP expands. We’ll also look at how the current “basic” CPP will grow by over 50% in the future…
No financial plan is immune from risk. No amount of planning is going to eliminate risk entirely. In fact, there are many common risks in a financial plan that may cause issues down the road. What we need to do is identify what types of risk a financial plan may face and find ways to reduce risk or mitigate it where possible.
When we talk about risk we naturally assume that means investment risk. While this is one common type of risk, there are also many other risks we need to watch out for.
A lot of these risks can be reduced or sometimes even eliminated with proper planning. For each major type of risk below, we’ve highlighted a few ways to help mitigate the impact it may cause. But even with these tips, its usually impossible to eliminate risk entirely.
A financial plan will typically cover 30-50+ years. Over this time span there are many unknowns that may occur. A good financial plan will be flexible enough to absorb these unknowns and still be able to reach the same goals with only minor tweaks.
This flexibility is important. It’s impossible to eliminate all risk. It’s very likely that even the best laid plans will experience some disruption along the way. Having some flexibility, and knowing where that flexibility exists, will help reduce the stress and impact if the unfortunate were to happen.
Retirement spending is one of the most important assumptions in a retirement plan. Making the right retirement spending assumption can make the rest of a retirement plan much easier. Making the right assumption can also make a retirement plan much more successful.
Making the wrong retirement spending assumption however could mean running out of money in retirement, or it could mean working longer than necessary, or it could mean accumulating millions of dollars late in retirement. All things we would prefer to avoid.
Of course, there are some simple “rules” for retirement spending like assuming 70% of pre-retirement income, but given how important retirement spending is in a retirement plan these generic rules can lead to issues in the future.
When creating a retirement plan it’s important to make the right retirement spending assumption. This means avoiding generic rules and instead understanding your unique spending needs today and how they might change in retirement. This also means understanding the impact of being wrong with your retirement spending assumption and how doing a “trial run” of retirement spending can help improve the level of confidence you have in your retirement plan.