AARP - Finance
(Money Magazine) -- Alicia Munnell is a Harvard-trained economist. She served as an assistant secretary of the Treasury and is regarded as one of America's foremost experts on 401(k)s. You'd think she'd be terrific at managing her own retirement, but even she has to confess up to some mistakes. "When my son got married, I took some money out of my plan to help," says Munnell, who heads Boston College's Enter for Retirement Research (CRR). "And I ended up paying a 10% penalty and taxes."
In the jargon of the retirement business, that's called leakage. It's a common problem: About 60% of job switchers with a 401(k) plan cash it out.
That's just one of the many pitfalls. Lots of people start saving too late, save too little or make missteps with their portfolio. And all of us are vulnerable to risks that we can't control. Your employer might not offer a plan or might choose one with second-rate investments. Or you may hit a market storm at precisely the wrong moment: the year you stop working.
That last problem is especially obvious now. Over the past 12 months, a 64-year-old investor and AARP member in an age-tailored "target date" mutual fund has lost 26%. Savers with high balances can recover from that. But many lost more, and the typical near-retiree with a 401(k) has less than $50,000 stashed away in it. That will spend down quickly, and once the money's gone, it doesn't matter if the market roars back.
A recent CRR study shows that a bear market retiree could easily end up with just half the income from a 401(k) as someone retiring during a bull market. "Any system that delivers such wild swings in retirement income is just not working," says Munnell.
She isn't the only one who's worried. A growing number of policy experts who study 401(k)s think they fall short..... Some 78 million baby boomers are hurtling toward retirement many of them members of AARP. Their poverty, if it comes to that, will be a burden to their children and lead to calls for taxpayers to support them.
These are worrying times and many people including AARP members are looking for other methods to boost retirement income. Economist Dr Raymond Jewell is presenting a retirement plan tonight at http://tomorrowshomebusiness.org at 6PM PAC he will demonstrate a plan he has developed and is using provide income in 10,20-30 years. Join him live login with your real name and password success.
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