4 Risks That Will Hamper Your Retirement


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. Oxstones.com also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Dividend Growth Investor, Invest Place.com,

Investors who plan on living off their assets in retirement face several risks. The risks include inflation, longevity risks, extreme market conditions and liquidity. By creating a diversified dividend portfolio, investors can not only address these risks, but they can have very good odds of achieving a rising stream of dividend income, which means that they might never have to dip into principalto finance their retirement.


The first risk includes inflation. Over the past century, inflation has averaged 3% per year. While the effects of inflation are not visible over a period of five years or less, over the long run its eroding effect is significant. Even at 3%, the purchasing power of the dollar decreases by 50% in 24 years. That means a bottle of Coca-Cola that costs $1.25 would likely cost $2.50 in 2034.

nvestors should realize that this is just an average, however. Some costs will increase much faster than the average, while others likely will decrease over time. As a result, investors should be able to invest in assets that not only generate an inflation adjusted stream of income, but also protect the purchasing power of their principal.

Companies such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) have the pricing power to pass cost increases over to their consumers. As a result, their earnings should be able to increase if there is any inflationary pressure.

Longevity Risk

The second risk is longevity risk. Investors typically depend on the 4% rule, which requires that a set percentage of one’s portfolio is sold each year, no matter what. In an event of an extended flat market — or if the retiree happens to have started retirement during a significant stock market top like the one in 1929 or 2000 — they likely would deplete their assets in less than two decades. A male that was born in 1946 is expected to live 19 more years, according to this SSI Life Expectancy Calculator.

The problem is that this is just an estimate — a significant portion of those who have chosen to retire at 65 likely will live longer than the average. Running out of money in retirement should never be an option, since it is impossible to predict the life expectancy of an individual with any precision.

Dividend Growth Investors do not have to worry about longevity risks as long as they hold a properly diversified dividend portfolio. This portfolio should include at least 30 individual securities representative of many sectors in the economy as well as a variety of geographic areas. This portfolio also should include certain non-correlated assets such as fixed income. For an example dividend growth portfolio for the long term, check out this portfolio. The process of building a bulletproof portfolio should take some time, as not all great dividend stocks are attractively valued at all times.

Extreme Market Conditions

The third risk includes extreme market conditions. This could include bear markets, recessions and depressions. The beauty of most quality dividend stocks is that while their prices fluctuate with the market, their dividend payments are stable and even rising. As a result, investors essentially are paid for holding onto their investments.

As long as the carefully selected dividend stocks maintain their profitability and can afford to pay the distributions, investors should do exactly that — hold on to their positions. Selling your stocks just because the market is down 20% to 30% and because all the doom-and-gloomers are predicting the end of the world is not a good idea if the dividend is maintained or increased — of course, it’s a different story if the dividend is cut or eliminated.

To withstand market corrections caused by recessions, investors should have a properly diversified dividend portfolio that has proper representation from the 10 sectors in the S&P 500. Adding some international stocks also can reduce volatility in dividend, as well as stock price returns.

During the financial crisis of 2008-09, most of the dividend cuts were concentrated in the financial sector as some dividend aristocrats like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) cut distributions. At the same time, however, companies like PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) and McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) kept raising dividend stocks. This means that if dividend investors were properly diversified using the aforementioned principles, the effect on the financial crisis on their dividend income would have been insignificant at worst.


The fourth risk is liquidity. Investors who purchase annuities typically are able to generate a stable stream of income in exchange for handing over their nest egg to an insurance company. They pay a fee for this service and have their money locked up. The annuity payment typically does not grow over time, which decreases the purchasing power of the income stream. If the retiree tries to sell the annuity, he would be hit with a large number of steep fees. In addition, most annuities stop paying income once the original participant is deceased. They could be extended to provide a payment to the participant’s spouse, but this would result in a lower current payment. This means the next generation would not be able to benefit from the wealth accumulated by the retiree.

Investors who depend on dividend stocks for income in retirements do not face any liquidity risks. Most of the best dividend stocks are actively traded blue chips, which can be sold every day the market is open. Investors living off dividends should not dip into principal unless there are extreme circumstances that require this to happen. For example, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) trades an average of 12 million shares per day. This means that unless the size for your trade is in the tens of thousands of shares, liquidity should not be an issue.

That being said, most dividend investors focus on the long-term dividend potential of their income stocks. However, knowing your portfolio also is quietly appreciating because of the higher earnings generation capacity of the business is always appreciated.

Full disclosure: Long JNJ, PG, MCD, PEP, KO.

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