WrapManager's Wealth Management Blog
When life changes, we can help you thoughtfully respond.

The Shaky State of Social Security

Posted by Gabriel Burczyk | Founder & CEO

July 4, 2018

If there’s a good word to describe the state of Social Security in America, it might be something like “uncertain.” And that’s a far cry from the reliable, dependable safety net that many retirees and future retirees have come to expect of the program.

Many readers probably know where this is going – the familiar narrative that Social Security is underfunded, may run out of money soon, and may not be there for future generations. Even still, as the checks continue rolling in, the idea that Social Security is in trouble has a feeling of being far-fetched. For many, it feels like an issue that may indeed be true but doesn’t necessarily apply to you specifically.

First signed into effect by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers over the age of 65 continuing income after retirement. Since then, tens of millions of people have received benefits through the Social Security Act. Yet, the program was wrought with challenges from the start, and experienced financial peril as early as 1977.¹

And, despite attempts to keep it solvent, the Social Security program faces a major long-term shortfall. Surprisingly though, a large number of Americans seem unaware of this looming failure.

[+] Read More

Retirement Planning Social Security Benefits Retirement Income Strategy

The Pros and Cons of Target Date Funds in Retirement Planning

February 28, 2018
Target date funds have been around for over 20 years, but over the last several years they have seemingly become a mainstay of 401(k) plans. For novice investors and those just starting out, the ‘target date’ feature of choosing a retirement date and “setting and forgetting” an investment strategy has understandable appeal. But for investors with larger amounts of assets under management and more complex financial situations and retirement needs, target date funds may not do the trick. Below we’ll explore some of the positive features and drawbacks of target date funds. [+] Read More

Do You Have a Retirement Income Plan? Most Retirees Don’t

October 11, 2017
The key word in the title of this article is “income.” Many retirees believe they may have a retirement plan (at least generally speaking), but when it comes to having a retirement income plan, the numbers don’t look so good. According to new research from LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, “only 35% of retired clients and 38% of pre-retirees who work with an adviser have a formal written retirement income plan (emphasis ours).”1 Do you have one? Not having a formal, written retirement plan and retirement income plan may decrease the confidence many retirees feel about having enough money in retirement. Unfortunately, with decades of retirement education and growth in the advisor business, retirees are not getting much more confident about retirement security. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, in 1993, only 18% of workers felt “very confident” about being able to afford a comfortable retirement. Fast forward to 2016, and there are still only 18% of workers who feel “very confident.”2 When considering that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen more than 500% over the period from January 1993 to December 2016, one would think that retirement confidence would be higher. But something is clearly amiss. [+] Read More

What If You Have to Retire Earlier Than Expected?

August 23, 2017
Life is full of detours and unknowns, and in many cases retirement planning is too. Sometimes people are forced to change jobs, to give financial help to family members in need, or to buckle down and save less during an economic downturn. But other times the detours are welcomed ones: a person relocates for a better paying job, gets the opportunity to do contract work during retirement for extra income, or maintains good enough health to work later into life. The bottom line is that retirement planning is different for everyone. The path to retirement we ultimately take may not be the one we originally planned. [+] Read More

Millennial Investors and Investing Psychology

August 3, 2017
Most investors would readily admit that past experiences in the markets tend to influence their decision-making over time. At best, our mistakes can inform us what to avoid in the future. At worst, we allow certain experiences to create unproductive biases in our mindset. A good example of such a bias could be the tendency of Depression-era investors to avoid stocks altogether following that time period, given the scars left behind from such a difficult experience. The problem with such a bias, can be the creation of an even bigger opportunity cost in its wake—the opportunity cost of not participating in the gains that followed. [+] Read More

Retiring in America: 3 Practical Tips to Help Set Your Course

March 13, 2017
Retirement planning in America is no simple task. Whether it’s navigating the ever-shifting tax code, factoring-in the rising cost of healthcare, or devising income strategies from various sources like Social Security and retirement investment accounts, investors have many decisions to make and potential strategies to pursue. So, amidst the many complexities involved with retirement planning, it’s useful to take a step back and think about retirement planning in simpler terms. In other words, start with a basic framework first, and then grind down into the details from there. Here are 3 practical tips for setting a solid course for your retirement. [+] Read More

Common Retirement Planning Problems – And How to Overcome Them

January 4, 2017
With retirement planning, there is always the need to plan for the “unexpected”: emergency needs, potential home repairs, major medical situations, and so on. But there are also several expected—and fairly predictable—expenses that many investors may not fully take into account. This is not necessarily because of lack of planning, but more so because these expenses can be somewhat academic and less easily understood. [+] Read More

BlackRock Commentary Midyear 2016

July 12, 2016
With half the year over, BlackRock's commentary delivers an overview for the rest of the year. Read the excerpt here, or download the full BlackRock Midyear 2016 Golobal Investment Outlook report. Markets are torn between anxiety over the fallout from the UK’s vote to exit the European Union and the prospect of a strengthening U.S. economy. Downside risks to global growth point to a U.S. Federal Reserve on hold — and reinforce our view of low global interest rates for long. Our key views: Outlook Forum: At a mid-June gathering of some 90 BlackRock portfolio managers and executives, we had vigorous debates on the outlook for a rebound in U.S. inflation, the prospect of a turnaround in beaten-down emerging markets (EMs) and the woes afflicting the global financial sector. Themes: We updated our three themes for this year: 1) We are living in a low-return world; 2) Monetary policy has been a key driver of asset prices — but its effectiveness looks to be waning; 3) We see more volatility ahead as Brexit-related anxiety weighs on Europe’s economy and the business cycle matures. Risks: We see geopolitical uncertainties and a renewed rise in the U.S. dollar as near-term risks, and populism as a medium-term challenge for trade, growth and markets. A potential surprise: a rally in risk assets prompted by investors shifting out of cash and low-yielding assets in search of higher returns. Markets: We have turned more positive on most fixed income due to elevated geopolitical risks and easy monetary policy in a low-growth world. We like income, including investment-grade credit and EM debt. We are cautious on equities, particularly in Europe, given the turn in risk sentiment and poor profit growth. We prefer dividend growers and quality companies. We like gold as a portfolio diversifier. To learn more about BlackRock and other Money Managers, give us a call at 1-800-541-7774 or contact us here to speak with one of WrapManager's Wealth Managers. Download Full Commmentary Here Get Free Research Reports about Blackrock Inc [+] Read More

Can You Improve Returns by Checking Your Investment Portfolio Less?

July 6, 2016
Maybe! Recent research from Columbia Business School suggests that it’s possible. Researchers found that checking an investment or retirement portfolio too frequently could result in lower returns.* That’s because investors who are overly driven by day-to-day fluctuations will often feel more emotionally compelled to make changes, which may ultimately veer them off course. The study cited that investors making decisions too often may “rebalance their holdings to get out of stocks that are dropping and miss out when they go back up.” [+] Read More

4 Things You May Not Know About Your 401(k)

June 22, 2016
Allow us ‘cut to the chase’ on one thing when it comes to 401(k)s: they are almost always valuable tools for retirement planning, for those who can access them. 401(k)s have been bedrocks of retirement planning for a long time and could remain so for years to come.(Click here to get the ebook, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Retirement Planning Strategy). If you’re working and have access to one, do everything you can to max it out and invest it according to your risk tolerance and long-term objectives. It’s hard to imagine regretting that type of planning. [+] Read More