It's a fact that most individuals spend more time planning a summer vacation than they do on planning their retirement.
Have you thought about how much income you will need at retirement? If you are comfortable with defining your future retirement income needs, do you know how to produce the income needed? Do you know how much savings you will need to supplement Social Security and possibly a pension?
The truth is interest rates are at historic lows. The amount of savings that you will need is significantly higher than what most experts were thinking just a few years ago.
As a rule of thumb you should use approximately 4.5 percent as a projection on your retirement assets to determine a predictable income. In other words $500,000 will generate approximately $22,500 per year income. If the income that you calculate on your savings is not sufficient to cover your needs, your only real options are to work longer, save more and spend less.
Keep in mind that the professional managers of pension funds have one goal: To provide pensions and to provide those pensions with the lowest probability of failure. My contention is you should own the role as your own private pension fund manager. Manage your retirement assets with the lowest probability of failure.
Luck is not a factor in a well designed retirement plan strategy. The planning should not take place in a one-size-fits-all vacuum. Understand the risks involved with your investment choices and manage them accordingly.
I learned some time ago to be constructively paranoid and skeptical of investment decisions. I was taught never to make an investment in something I didn't understand and I strongly suggest you do the same.
If you need help in the process seek a qualified investment advisor that shares your philosophy and always review and measure your progress towards your retirement goals.
• William J. Hertzog, CIMA, is first vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, in Ahwatukee. Reach him at (602) 952-5133 or www.TheHertzogGroup.com. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Note: Investment and insurance products are not FDIC insured, not bank guaranteed and may lose value.