In Nevada, how much do we need to retire without worry?
Getting older can be a blessing. You gain knowledge and hopefully wisdom; retirement can give people time to focus on things other than work — and some studies say people become better, more empathetic.
But many of those benefits fade or aren’t given a chance if people are in trouble financially. That can happen to those on fixed incomes; to people who haven’t much retirement income — even, as we’ve learned on this program, to those who’ve fallen victim to scams.
As part of our recurring series on aging, a central question: How much do we need today to retire without a lot of worry?
The rule of thumb is to save 20% of your income for retirement from the get-go, according to Hugh Anderson, the managing director of Hightower Las Vegas, but many people wait until later in life to start saving. Anderson also gives KNPR’s afternoon updates of Nevada companies listed in the stock market.
“I'm finding the younger generation is much more attuned to financial risks of not starting to save early.”
You should pay yourself first – cover utilities, rent, food, and put that money away, too. Have a dual approach to personal assets and retirement assets, he said. The personal asset should be geared toward long-term savings and financial security, but it should also be accessible for the near term. Though, you should tap your 401k to meet lifestyle needs.
“That’s a telltale sign that their lifestyle exceeds their financial resources or that their financial resources aren’t invested appropriately to keep some kind of maintenance of what they need,” he said.
On the biggest challenge for older adults
"One of the first things we're alert to is cognitive decline; many of us have had to take away the keys from mom or dad. And it's a very difficult conversation when people lose their independence, while people's finances are very personal. And as they become less able to manage the complexities of the financial affairs, we need to help them incorporate trusted family members to help them assist them going forward. The other issue, of course, is the nature of not having enough resources, financial resources for the life they want to have after they retire, or if they were retired. But we try to give them some nuance on how retirement goes. And there are three phases of early active retirement, those early years when hopefully, you have your health and you can do the things you postpone. And then there is the middle age of retirement, where it's been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the hat. And how many more things can I go look at? Or how many more miles can I put on the SUV? … And then the third phase, of course, is old age where health care issues are the big issue, and it's an expensive phase of retirement."
On raising the retirement age
"Normally when they adjust the retirement age, it's based on actuarial assumptions. And the reality is life expectancies have expanded dramatically since Social Security was first conceived. When they do adjust the retirement age, they do it with a pretty long lead time. And it's basically, they look back and cut it off and say, people born before this age will be on the old track. People born after this date will be on the new track. So the reality is we recommend that most people, if they can afford it, postpone collecting Social Security until age 70. Because that's your maximum payout."
Avoiding scams as you age
Also with us on Tuesday morning was Detective Marc Evans with the financial crimes division of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He said the majority of crimes they see targeting the older population are impersonator scams or romance scams.
“They’ve become popular across the world,” he said. “You can be anywhere in the world to do them. And to kind of take advantage of the elderly, trustworthiness. It's human nature that we just want to trust people in. And they do take advantage of that.”
His office takes thousands of fraud calls, and they have 20 detectives in their bureau to investigate the – about 20 to 40 cases at a time.
On catching those responsible
"It depends on the case and the information that was provided. So if a victim was really good at getting the information to us, as far as bank account information, where they sent the money, any contact information that they received from the scammer, it makes it a lot easier, but it isn't always. We don't always get the person. It's unfortunate because sometimes the person, they're not physically seeing the person, sometimes it's over the phone, sometimes it's over the internet. And that person can be anywhere in the world at any point. So when they give us information, we're able to track as much as we can to try to find this person. But unfortunately sometimes we can't."
On how to tell if something is fake online
"It's very hard. These cameras are really good. Once they do get a hold of your computer, they'll make the screen look exactly like your normal screen. But what you can't see is they'll have a kind of a cover screen that's going in the background. And they'll be doing all their work. They're scamming work in the background while you're looking at the image on the front. So if they do get a hold of your computer, whether it be from Microsoft or Apple, they'll usually say they're from Microsoft, or Apple, I've actually talked to some of these scammers on the phone, and kind of seen what they were doing and what they were telling me. And they'll say they're from this company, ‘Hey, your computer has a virus on it, I'm gonna send you a link or an email, click on the link,’ but when he clicked that link, it gives them complete access to that computer."
Guests: Marc Evans, financial crimes detective, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; Hugh Anderson, managing director, Hightower Las Vegas