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Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down asset

Posted by joyfulguy (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 16, 09 at 5:05

There has been some discussion recently about the hurt that some retirees may suffer if they retire at a time of down markets and start drawing down their assets when their equity-based asset prices are at low levels, which requires selling more than the expected number of shares in order to produce the amount of money that one needs on which to live.

Many advisors have suggested that retirees should have a low level of equity-based assets, e.g. subtract your age from 100, if age 65, the difference is 35 ... such a person should have about 35% of one's asset in such assets, which havea tendency to fluctuating prices.

I disagree.

Most of you who are 65 expect to live for much more than another 10 years, and many advisors claim that people have a good possibility of producing substantial growth in quality equity-based assets that one expects to let run for over 10 years., even better if one expects to let it run for an extra 15 - 20 years or so.

If one expects to live to 100, a possibility - and one does not want to run out of money when one remains alive - that is seven blocks of 5 years each.

As the asset that one uses to live on is no longer present to continue to earn, and as the prices of goods that one needs to sustain life will most likely rise over the next 30 years, it's important to not use the whole amount of one of those seven blocks in the first five years ... probably best to make it stretch to ten years. That's even more true, in that one usually needs to expect an above average level of expense late in one's life to pay for increased illness, nursing home fees, etc.

That would mean that up to about 85% of one's asset would still be operating in 10 years time ... thus one could consider having most of it invested in equities.

When one has retired and needs to use invested assets to sustain life ... but stock markets are down, it's a good idea to use some of the assets that one has where the value of the invested dollars does not change.

If one does not have such constant-dollar assets at such a time, is it wise to liquidate stocks when price levels are heavily discounted?

If you evaluate the speed of rising prices of the stock market following earlier substantial drops, you'll find that the market seldom stays down for more than a couple of years. When it begins to recover, usually there is substantial gain which happens rather quickly, for two or three years or more.

If you use some stock and mutual fund certificates as collateral to set up fully-secured Line of Credit, in current circumstances you may well be able to borrow at a rate of 5 - 7% or so.

If you use the proceeds of the loan for investment, usually the interest cost is deductible, but if for consumption, usually that cost may not be deductible. If you have such a Line of Credit for investment now, likely best to keep the one for consumption entirely separate, if interest on one deductible, not on the other.

However, if you pay 6% annual rate on your loan for consumption and after a couple of years you can sell some stocks to pay off the loan that have gained 25 - 30%, (and sometimes even more) which has not been unusual in past recoveries, I doubt that you would be complaining.

Considering that there are some current difficulties that may result in recovery being somewhat delayed, and the rate of increase being slower than in earlier occasions, the value of holding the stocks through to substantial recovery may be lower than in earlier times, I think that it is none the less worthy of consideration in the current situation.

For those of you unfamiliar with my situation, I've been a personal financial advisor for about 25 years, am now at 80 years of age about 80% invested in equity-based assets. As I, living frugally from choice rather than necessity (I'm driving a 21-year old car, standard tranny, and turn off ignition when I see a traffic light go yellow a half block ahead) am living on somehat less than my three pensions plus small payout from tax-deferred retirement account, I have not been greatly distressed to see my asset base shrink by about 30% in the past couple of years, as I expect it to recover, given time.

A 42-year investment doubled 4.5 times till June '07, with proportionate increase in dividend rate ... and about 3.35 times at the low point of the market when (largely due to exposure to the stinky U.S. mortgage market) it sank by over 50% (but there has been no decrease in the dividend - so now it's paying 6.78%, which was over 10% at the low point of the market).

No GIC or bond has developed a long-term growth rate anywhere near that - and in Canada, both of these increases have been at a much lower tax rate than on interest income.

Just some ideas for your consideration as you plan retirement if it's to begin about now.

It's entirely up to you what you may choose to do about it.

Good wishes for a happy, healthy, interesting and useful retirement.

Now that you have some extra time available ... please consider that...

... learning how money works is an interesting hobby ... and **it pays well**!!

ole joyful


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

Learning how the tax system works may provide some substantial advantages, as well.

Not to be sneezed at!

Tax evasion can get you into a peck of trouble.

Tax avoidance, carefully practised, has no penalties ...

... can provide some small ... and possibly some major reductions in tax that must be paid ...

... and should be practised by every taxpayer.

In fact ... carefully done ... it might remake some as *former* taxpayers!

How many happy songs would you feel like singing if you could make a legitimate plan to avoid paying income tax entirely??

Could I then enlist you in a movement to light fires under our legislators, bugging them about how unfair the income tax system is, favouring the wealthy as it does ... and the corporations?

Increasingly so, in recent years.

ole joyful


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

Greetings Stewart 33,

At 33 ... I'd think that you'd be aware that children, unruly or not, would have little interest in "folks at retirement age ....", the subject of this thread ...

... or in any aspect of retirement, the subject of this forum.

Heck - my kids are in their 40s ... and not hugely interested in various aspects of retirement (and if they want to be unruly - that's their problem to cope with in any way that they may see fit).

Neither of them have children, in case you might be interested in encouraging me to deal with their unruly offspring, by the uway.

ole joyful


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

Yes, it's probably a Murphy's Law or Peter Principle that by the time you're interested in planning for your old age...you're already in it!

One reason why I've come to believe in financial planning education, so maybe some of us won't have to re-invent the wheel every single time, LOL. I think the chaos of the last couple of years has shown that too many people still don't understand what they should be doing to plan for retirement, and why they should, or should not, do certain things when it comes to handling their personal finances.


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

Now, upwards of 3 years later, I still figure that what I wrote above works for me ...

... except that, as the over 100s is a rapidly growing age group ... maybe I should still figure to finance my life for 30 years - to 110!

Feel free to disagree - and if you have good reasons, I'll listen.

ole joyfuelled


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

According to a recent article in the WSJournal, some advisors are beginning to recommend a revision to the "subtract your age from 100" rule, by using an age 120 instead.

Still a lower portion of equities than you carry, ole joyful, but the majority of workers in the US no longer have defined benefit pensions to rely upon, and need to be more conservative about their allocations.


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

Greetings again, folks,

And when did you ever see a G I C ...

... produce any growth?

The only return that they'll produce ... is produced now ... and taxed now ... at top rate.

The stock that I bought 45 years ago for about $4.20 or so was paying about 10 - 12 cents annual dividend ... which was taxed then at low rate, plus for the latest six years at an even lower rate. In June of '07, when I could have sold it for $107.00, it was paying me $3.08 per year, at that even lower tax rate than earlier, and the annual payment increased to $3.48 later that year.

Their involvement with the U.S. financial fiasco resulted in the price of the stock sslliding tto $40.00 - but they maintained the dividend at $3.48.

The price has recovered to about $75.00 now ... and they recently increased the dividend to $3.60.

That current income is taxed at a much lower rate than interest that I might earn.

And I haven't had to talk to the income tax people about the increase in value of the asset, during all of those years.

I don't have to report to the income tax people until I either sell the stock ... or die ... neither of which I plan to do, this week or next.

When I sell the stock, I deduct the $4.20 that I paid from the, e.g. $74.20? proceeds of sale, to produce a capital gain of $70.00 ... and I pay tax at regular rate on half of that amount. But not until I sell, or die - nothing till then.

However - if I transfer the stock to a charity, I get a tax-deductible receipt for the full amount - and I pay no income tax on that increase.

And didn't pay about 2.5% of the value annually to a management company, as I'd have to with a mutual fund. You figure it: 45 years at 2.5% of the ongoing value of the fund ... comes out to about 112.5%, doesn't it?

No wonder few mutual funds grow faster than the segment of the market in which the manager operates!

Looks like a good deal, to me.

ole joyful


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RE: Folks at retirement age worried about starting to draw down a

That (well-regulated Canadian bank) stock price has now recovered to usually around $80.00 ... and the dividend, which increased 40 cents, almost 10% of the original price, from $3.08 in early '07 to $3.48 that fall, and stayed at that level for about three years during the financial troubles, mainly south of the border, then increased to $3.60, later to $3.76, recently grew to $3.84.

If I can manage to stay alive for a few more years (and the financial system in this part of the world stays reasonably stable, by no means certain) maybe the annual dividend will increase to the amount that the stock cost me in the first place.

Learn how money works - an interesting hobby ... that pays well!

ole joyful


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