Astaro / Shutterstock.com
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.
If you thought that with a million dollars in the bank you were on an easy road towards retirement, think again.
According to a study by Natixis Investment Managers, more than 35% of millionaires say it takes a miracle to retire safely.
In fact, millionaires are almost as likely to think retirement is out of reach as investors are overall. We hear it all the time from NewRetirement users. “I’ve got a million dollars, but I’m worried my money won’t last.” is a common refrain.
And while it may seem far-fetched and make you want to roll your eyes, it’s a very real problem.
It turns out that millionaires’ economic problems are very similar to those of more average savers. Only the scale is different.
It’s not that millionaires can’t retire, but that they can’t maintain their quality of life
insta_photos / Shutterstock.com
Many of North America’s approximately 7 million millionaires earn and spend more than the average household. And their savings (as a percentage of their income and expenses) are about the same as everyone else’s.
This means that, like most other people, they just aren’t saving enough to maintain their quality of life for the 20-30 years they will live in retirement.
Almost anyone can retire at a reasonable age, the question is how much you have to or want to spend on it.
The problem? Millionaires save about the same percentage of their income as less affluent households
Elnur / Shutterstock.com
(And that’s not enough.)
In the survey, high net worth individuals report average retirement savings of $625,000, which is good but only 2.5 times the average retirement savings of $250,000 for the entire survey population.
While an average retirement savings ratio of 19.4% is impressive, it’s still nearly 3 percent higher than the overall average of 16.6%.
As a result, it appears that while the numbers look good, the difference isn’t big enough to warrant a material difference in sentiment about their retirement prospects.
Everyone, millionaires and non-millionaires, needs to save at a rate that is reasonable for future withdrawals.
Also, a million just ain’t what it used to be, especially in this economy
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com
The problems are not just that millionaires spend more than average savers, but that big economic problems can have a more noticeable impact when you have lots of money.
A million dollars today is literally not what it used to be. Inflation has recently taken away a large chunk of what money can buy.
And losses in the stock market become five- or six-figure problems when you have a lot of money invested.
So what if you’re a millionaire (or anyone) and worried about retirement?
Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock.com
Believe it or not, millionaires really are like everyone else. And the solutions to their retirement savings problems aren’t that different either.
Work a little longer
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock.com
Although millionaires plan to retire relatively early at 63, the majority (58%) believe they may have to work longer hours.
Your retirement date is a powerful lever for a secure retirement. But your time is a big trade-off for the extra money you get by working longer hours.
Use the NewRetirement Planner to determine your retirement date and explore opportunities to retire earlier.
Create a budget and think about how you can reduce your retirement expenses
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com
Reducing your future expenses can greatly improve your financial security in retirement. And it doesn’t always have to be at the expense of what’s important to you.
Creating a detailed budget for retirement can help you better understand where you might want to save. Creating detailed spending forecasts can help you prioritize.
You may not be able to afford everything, but you can probably spend on what really matters to you.
Think of your home equity as a retirement savings
Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com
For many people, including millionaires, their most valuable asset is their home.
Depending on your estate planning ambitions, using your home equity judiciously to fund retirement can be a good strategy.
You can downsize domestically or internationally, get a reverse mortgage, look at shared apartments, and consider home equity loans to tide you over Social Security or stock market downturns.
These strategies can improve your cash flow, give you a wealth of savings to spend in retirement, and have other benefits.
However, remember that maintaining your home equity is a good backup plan in case you encounter a major unexpected financial need, a medical event occurs, or you require long-term care in the future.
Turn savings into lifetime income
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
If you’re worried about running out of money in retirement, consider ways to turn your savings into lifetime income.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement income, but here are 18 different retirement income strategies you can mix and match to your advantage.
Work with a consultant (but don’t give them all your money)
fizkes / Shutterstock.com
You worked hard to save. A million dollars is still a great achievement, and if used effectively, it can likely make for a worthwhile retirement.
It’s a great idea to get help with your investments and advice about your plan (particularly on retirement income, insurance options, and taxes).
However, be careful when paying someone to manage your assets, especially if they charge you based on Assets Under Management (AUM). If they manage $1 million at a 1.5% AUM fee, that’s $15,000 per year that could otherwise be used by you.
You might want to work with a paid consultant instead. A fee consultant charges a fixed fee in return for the advice.
The cost of a fee-based consultation is typically a fraction of the AUM and there is usually no conflict of interest between what is in the consultant’s best interest and yours, as can sometimes be the case with AUM.
will you ever have enough
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com
There’s a lot that can and will go wrong in the future, and that can make planning your retirement seem pointless and frustrating, no matter how much money you have saved.
It’s important to anticipate potential risks to your finances: inflation, stock market crashes, longevity, long-term care, and more. However, instead of letting them get in the way of your goal, plan efficient ways to deal with these stressors.