Why relying on averages is dangerous given our fate is often determined by extreme events and how we react as financial markets, the economy and our own lives evolve.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How times ensures only the best ideas survive.
- Why we should focus on tail risk.
- Why are reaction to actual events as time passes is more important than the average expected outcome of multiple scenarios.
As people age, one of the most common questions asked is “how can I survive financially?” The world is filled with unpredictable markets, unforeseen circumstances, and lifestyle events that may impact your ability to be financially secure. On this episode of Money For the Rest of Us, David explains some key concepts for fiscal survival long into old age. You don’t want to miss his insights, so be sure to give this episode your full attention.
How you can survive financially even throughout a long lifespan
David begins this episode by describing a man he met that is in his 101st year of life. This man has survived long past the median lifespan prediction for the United States and he is still living independently while being financially secure. In order to live happily into old age, you must first survive. You cannot begin to plan for retirement without first having your basic necessities taken care of. After you have secured the main pillars of survival, there are ways to have an investment portfolio last 40 to 50 years of retirement. David explains that “time removes the fragile and keeps the robust.” The longer your portfolio survives, the likelier it is to continue surviving.
What truly matters is how you react to the unpredictable risks that enter your life
Even the best financial consultants and investment specialists cannot predict the minutiae of life. Markets will rise and fall, family dynamics will shift, and your personal circumstances will always be ebbing and flowing as you age. Long-term financial success comes from understanding how much risk you are willing to take with your investments, evaluating the potential returns, and understanding that “the world cannot be solved, it must be lived.” David encourages his listeners on this episode to be self-aware and understand how to handle dramatic shifts in circumstances. Learning how to properly mitigate negative changes to ensure your financial security is also critically important.
So how can you combat these unforeseen variables?
In addition to being self-aware and knowing your own decision-making strengths and weaknesses, David explains that there are multiple ways to protect your financial future. You can mitigate the tail risks of stocks by investing in the following different areas: public securities, public entities, gold, land, and single premium immediate annuities. The added layer of Social Security is also a good thing to keep in mind, however, it should not be solely relied upon.
The 4% spending rule and the importance of having multiple streams of income
Perhaps the biggest idea to take away from this episode of Money For the Rest of Us is the 4% spending rule, as explained by David after he read the article “Does The 4% Rule Work Around The World?” by Wade Pfau. Pfau explains that historically with a US-based portfolio, one could live comfortably financially by spending 4% of your portfolio for the first year of retirement and then adjusting that percentage for inflation in every subsequent year. However, given the high valuations for stocks and the low yields for bonds, a spending rule of less than 4% would be more appropriate, especially considering the possibility of a 50 year retirement. By combining the a conservative spending rule, multiple streams of income, and a high level of self-awareness regarding your tendencies, you can protect your financial future and survive well into retirement.