The movie, “Sully,” demonstrates how knowledge and experience may be better than computer simulations when it comes to making the best decisions about where to safely land your jetliner in an emergency.
I think you can say the same thing about planning for retirement.
Many people default to the use of financial calculators because they don’t know how else to get the unbiased information they need. These calculators are designed to show how much money you need to save in order to have a certain income after you stop working – along with what the likelihood is that the savings will last longer than you do.
Calculators crunch numbers, not real life
You give the calculator various inputs — like your age, current income, amount of savings, etc. – and an algorithm spits out the numbers, usually spelling out the probability of success or failure.
What these calculators don’t factor are the emergencies that unexpectedly come up. They don’t anticipate that England will exit the European Union. They don’t know that sub-prime mortgages will ruin the economy for several years.
It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are. Emergencies like these are hard to anticipate. According to the experts, even very intelligent people often can’t make rational decisions when it comes to likelihoods and unexpected events. What it comes down to is needing the intimate experience to navigate emergencies when there isn’t enough time to take your time and logically think things through. It’s the human factor that no computer can simulate.
Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger saved 155 people by deciding to land his Airbus A320 jetliner in the Hudson River when the plane’s engines were knocked out by a flock of geese. His alternative was to try to return to La Guardia or another airport.
In fact, the first computer simulations done after the accident showed that he could have safely guided the plane back to land. The simulations were flawed, though, because they didn’t factor in the time that a pilot would need to consider all options – about 35 seconds in this case. When those seconds were added, new simulations showed the plane would have crashed had Sully tried to get to an airport.
The computers didn’t add the human factor to the equation. Sully had flown thousands of hours in an Airbus. He knew what it was capable of doing, and what it was not. As a result, he had the experience to make the plane do something that it is almost impossible to practice for.
Add experience and security to your plans
Instead of relying on heroic acts to compensate for unanticipated and harrowing financial disasters, I advise you to build the human factor – experience and judgment – into your retirement planning before takeoff.
Retirement should be a flight free of turbulence and certainly should avoid a crash landing. To smooth out the ups and downs, you want to create as much guaranteed lifetime income as possible. You know you can rely in part on Social Security. If you have a company pension, that’s great. The stocks and bonds in your mutual funds, rollover IRA or 401(k) are where you could suddenly lose power.
Income annuities can be your buffer. They give you a source of security so you don’t have to react instantaneously to what happens in the market.
In Stage One of retirement, when you want to replace as much of your employment income as possible, besides Social Security and any pension, an income annuity purchased from a rollover IRA or other savings will eliminate worry about stock market crashes.
In Stage Two of your retirement, when health or other issues might otherwise require you to deplete your savings, a deferred income annuity or QLAC can supply significant guaranteed income for the rest of your life.
Just like the simulations that falsely predicted Sully could have guided his plane back to dry land, computerized financial calculators don’t factor in the situations that make every individual’s retirement slightly different – not to mention real-world disasters that can’t be predicted.
You won’t have time to adjust for the 10% correction when it comes just before you are about to sell stocks to pay for your dream retirement vacation – or the home health care your spouse needs after an illness.
Jerry Golden, founder of Go2Income has more than 40 years of experience helping people find guaranteed income in retirement. As his biography demonstrates, Jerry is a nationally recognized advocate for retirees and a resource for those planning retirement.
Given his decades of experience with the available products on the market, like Sully, he knows what they are capable of doing, and what they are not. He may just offer the kind of Sully-like experience you need.