June 11, 2013

A MILLIONAIRE? You still can’t afford to retire.

Efforts by the Fed and others to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low have produced cheaper mortgages, but they have also hit savers hard. As the report notes, benchmark Treasury yields have remained below four percent since the beginning of the financial crisis. If an ordinary American’s portfolio income is below four percent, withdrawing that much annually, combined with inflation, will bleed his portfolio over time.

Even millionaires in the top eight to ten percent of American households now need to be more careful with their retirement plans. The only safe retirement advice remains: save more than you think you should, and plan to work longer.

With people living well into their eighties and beyond, retirement at 65 is now out of the question for most Americans. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Work is natural to human beings and keeps us mentally and physically more healthy. And besides, the social goal of mass retirement in the mid-sixties is simply not possible anymore. All of us need to make the attitude adjustment that 70 or even 72 is the new 65.

Welcome to the Senior Squeeze. Related: Obama Recovery Going So Well That Two-Thirds Are Delaying Retirement.

UPDATE: Reader J. Johnson writes:

In re the squeeze on seniors (of which I am one), you might want to mention that Bernanke’s ‘Zero Interest Rate Policy’ ZIRP has decimated the savings of people like me because we now earn essentially no interest on the money we saved for a lifetime, so we must dip into principal to pay our bills. Meanwhile, the TBTF banks wallow like hogs at the Fed window to get no-interest money they can use to ramp up the stock market and give Obama talking points about how the economy is recovering because stock prices are up. I don’t think this is going to end well for anybody.

Probably right.