Rethinking retirement can make your money last

Shifts in economy shift future plans

AVENTURA, Fla. - A recent Gallup poll found that the number one concern facing Americans today is not having enough money for retirement.

"The greatest fear is running out of money and that's being expressed by all of our clients," said financial planner Austin Frye.

Frye has a simple saying for his clients: budget or bust.

"If you don't start setting aside money today, early and often in your life, you're not going to be able to retire, that's a simple fact," he said.

Assuming you've been planning and saving, Frye said there are ways to make your money go further.

"One thing you can do well in advance of retirement is down-size your debt," he said.

To that end, consider moving to a smaller, less expensive house while you're still working.

"If you continue to carry a mortgage as you age, the key is to make that payment as small as possible," said Frye.

If work permits, consider moving to a less expensive area.

"You don't want to leave a good paying job to do this but if you've stopped working and live in a high-priced area, you could definitely protect your retirement savings by moving to a place where the cost of living is considerable lower," Frye said.

For financial planning purposes, Frye looks for investments that provide sources of guaranteed income for his clients.

"This can include an annuity, which is essentially a sum of money given to an insurance company and they're going to pay you out with some level of guarantee, hopefully for the the rest of your life and your spouses life," said Frye.

Frye also recommends investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITS.

"By law, REITS have to return to investors 90% of the lease payments, so you could capture a 5% to 7% return," said Frye.

He also likes top-rated corporate bonds and tax-free municipal bonds.

"If you've got a bond with a solid ranked company, you can collect steady income from that.  Tax-free bonds protect you from what most certainly will be tax hikes down the road," he said. 

Another consideration: working longer.

"I actually retired many years ago and went back to work part-time three days a week," said Arnold Manheim.

Terry Berden and his wife look at retirement as a bonus, not a guaranteed benefit, to a life well lived.

"Until 60 years ago, people worked until they died and there's nothing wrong with that. Work is an important part of life. There's nothing that says we have a right to just sit around and do nothing all day so people may just have to accept that they're ultimately responsible for taking care of themselves," Berden said.

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