Summer Thinking List for Investors

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Welcome to The Summer Thinking List for Investors

Last summer, rather than offering the world another reading list*, I thought it would be more helpful to offer a list of things to think about to be prepared for the back-end of the year. It was one of my most popular posts of the year.

This year’s theme: Am I prepared for retirement?

The Summer Thinking List is not a test! Highlight the 4 or 5 questions that feel most relevant to you right now and that you want to work on in the second half of the year. Do any of these questions trigger other ideas that are not on the list? Write those down too. Finally, I suggest that you call your advisor right now to make an appointment to meet after Labor Day.

Most retirees lose their earned income earlier than they expected:

“Sixty percent of retirees retired sooner than planned. Retirees in their fifties (79 percent) are far more likely to have retired sooner than planned, when compared to older retirees. Two-thirds (67 percent) of retirees in their sixties and 53 percent of age 70-plus retirees retired sooner than planned. Across age ranges, fewer than 10 percent retired later than planned.”

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, April 2016

  1. How would an unplanned retirement affect my financial plans? What if it happened next year? Or 5 years early? Or 10 years early?
  2. What can I do now to prepare for alternate employment in case of an unplanned retirement?
  3. How much will health insurance cost me until I am eligible for Medicare?
  4. If I had to retire early, would I be able to maintain my life insurance?
  5. Does my financial plan include provisions to amortize or pay off my debts? Are my children counting on me to help with their student loans?
  6. Is my investment portfolio ready to shift from all growth to income and growth? If not, when do I need to make the shift? How do I make that shift?
  7. What percentage of my earned income will I be able to replace with my investment income? Is that enough? At what rate can I safely spend principal from my portfolio? How confident am I that I will not outlive my savings?
  8. How well do I understand the risks of investing in bonds? Do I understand what Duration means?
  9. How well do I understand the risks of not investing in bonds?
  10. Do I know how to prudently invest for dividend income? (Or do I just buy the highest dividend stocks?)
  11. Have I been guilty of trying to time the markets?
  12. When I retire, how involved do I want to be in the day-to-day management of my portfolio? (Am I qualified to serve as my own portfolio manager? Do I have the expertise, discipline and time required?) Suggested reading.
  13. Is my spouse, partner or heir up to speed in case I become incapacitated? What do I need to do to make sure that they are prepared?
  14. Have I prepared the resources for someone else to act on my behalf:
  • Have I completed a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances?
  • Have I complied a complete list of online accounts (investment, banking, credit, shopping, music, e-mail, etc.) with user names and passwords? Do I have a complete list of vendors with recurring charges to my accounts?
  • Who do I want to be making my healthcare decisions? Have I completed a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare? Have I provided my healthcare providers with permission to speak with my spouse or designees about my care?

Make an appointment now to meet with your Advisor after Labor Day to review this list.

Click here to open the PDF version. (The PDF does not include the hyperlinked resources found in the online version, above.)

* Investing classics that are truly classics need to be read–and not just left for summer. So I do have reading list, but it doesn’t change very much from one year or season to the next unless there is something truly worthy of being added. And anyway, I don’t know about you, but summer reading to me is Dirk Pitt, Ken Follett or Robert Ludlum. Maybe with a little Richard Feynman or George Weigel thrown in.


The Summer Thinking List 2016
The opinions expressed and the information contained herein is based on sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy or appropriateness is not guaranteed. Past performance is interesting but is not a guarantee of future results. The author does not provide investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Nothing in here should be construed as an investment recommendation. Investors should consult with their own advisor and fully understand their own situation when considering changes to their strategy, tactics or individual investments. Investments in bonds are subject to gains/losses based on the level of interest rates, market conditions and credit quality of the issuer. Additional information available upon request.
©2016 Patrick F. Luby
All Rights Reserved.