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Make an Early Retirement Work for Your Clients

Do you have clients that were forced into early retirement because of the pandemic? Many of seniors lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Although the stock market is rebounding, retirement investment accounts may not coincide with expected results at this point.

From January to May, Americans age 55 and older had an unemployment rate jump from 2.6% to 11.8%. Even worse for women, the current unemployment rate is 13.6%.

 

Jennifer Schramm, the senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, expressed concern over seniors in the job market in her recent blog with the headline, “Devastating Job Losses May Be Pushing Older Workers into Retirement.” She backed her claim with data showing that the total number of workers ages 55+ in the U.S. economy shrank from 37.8 million in February, before the COVID-19-related layoffs began to take effect, to 32.7 million in May, she wrote.

 

A similar situation happened during the Great Recession of 2008-09. After the Great Recession, workers ages 62 and older were about half as likely to become reemployed as their counterparts ages 25 to 34.

 

Current job market

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported this month that following a record 128 months of expansion, the U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February.

 

Today, we see that seniors’ labor-force participation rate is dropping – it went from 40.3% to 38.5% in the last few months. This decline suggests that a large number of people are dropping out of the labor market. 

 

This means that the job losses associated with the pandemic may lead to a substantial increase in people that are forced into early retirement. Starting a new job in this current market can be a daunting task, and many older workers are opting out instead.

 

The decision to retire early, however, can have lifelong economic costs. Working longer typically bolsters financial security because you keep earning and saving and don’t need to dip into your retirement accounts prematurely. That, in turn, allows those funds to continue to grow and rebound when markets wobble. And that income can also defray the cost of health insurance until Medicare kicks in at 65. Importantly, you can stave off turning on Social Security benefits.

Every year you wait past your full retirement age (FRA), you get an 8% increase in your benefit. Suppose you start taking Social Security at age 62. In that case, when you’re eligible to, rather than waiting until your full retirement age, you can anticipate up to a 30% reduction in monthly benefits with lesser reductions as you approach FRA, which now ranges from 66 to 67, depending on the date of your client’s birth.

 

Avoid spending savings during market downturns

Your clients may consider using their home equity to delay social security benefits and add longevity to their retirement financing plan. In the past, people used reverse mortgages as a last resort when they became cash-strapped in retirement. However, with the stock market and U.S. economy struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, retirees and investors look at the reverse mortgage as a financially savvy tool.

 

“If you are trying to meet a spending goal and assets are losing value, you have to withdraw a higher percentage from your portfolio,” said Wade Pfau, retirement income researcher and professor of retirement income at The American College for Financial Services.

 

“By incorporating partial annuity use, having access to a buffer asset [such as a reverse mortgage or cash-value life insurance] and having some capacity to reduce spending, a reasonable withdrawal rate can still be possible and can provide some relief to those approaching retirement age at this unprecedented time,” Pfau said.

 

Financially savvy investors are using reverse mortgages to protect their investment portfolios, delay social security benefits, purchase new homes, build an emergency line-or-credit (LOC), and more.

 

Like all financial decisions, it is important to research. We are here to inform you on how best to use reverse mortgages for your clients.

 

DISCLOSURES:

Oregon Only:·When the loan is due and payable, some or all of the equity in the property that is the subject of the reverse mortgage no longer belongs to borrowers, who may need to sell the home or otherwise repay the loan with interest from other proceeds. FAR may charge an origination fee, mortgage insurance premium, closing costs and servicing fees (added to the balance of the loan).·The balance of the loan grows over time and FAR charges interest on the balance.· Borrowers are responsible for paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance, and related taxes (which may be substantial). We do not establish an escrow account for disbursements of these payments. A set-aside account can be set up to pay taxes and insurance and may be required in some cases. Borrowers must occupy home as their primary residence and pay for ongoing maintenance; otherwise the loan becomes due and payable. The loan also becomes due and payable (and the property may be subject to a tax lien, other encumbrance, or foreclosure) when the last borrower, or eligible non-borrowing surviving spouse, dies, sells the home, permanently moves out, defaults on taxes, insurance payments, or maintenance, or does not otherwise comply with the loan terms. Interest is not tax-deductible until the loan is partially or fully repaid.

 

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