Despite arguments that retirees should be exposed to equities in order to bring enough growth in their portfolios to last throughout their retirement, Morningstar’s president of the investment management division, Peng Chen, argues in a new article that retirement portfolios must include a conservative bent that includes longevity-insurance products.

In “Confronting Retirement Risks,” Chen notes that many investors do not estimate how long they will live and end up shorthanded on retirement funds. Conversely, people who are overly optimistic about how long they will live may have a too-frugal existence in retirement.

Chen outlines key risks and five factors to consider, underlining longevity risk and financial market risk and pivotal issues.

Chen says that roughly half of retirees live longer than their life expectancy. He also notes that financial markets are far more volatile than many financial planners account for, and that a retiree’s exposure to stocks and bonds can put their retirement savings at risk.

“Fortunately, investors and advisers have access to effective tools to combat these risks,” Chen said. “Investors can mitigate both longevity and investment performance risk with a carefully constructed combination of longevity insurance products, which offer investors a guaranteed income stream, and traditional assets, such as ETFs and mutual funds.”

The five factors Chen asks investors to consider when saving for retirement are their age, financial market risk tolerance, retirement expenses, longevity and bequest goals.

“As millions of Baby Boomers prepare to enter retirement, they are increasingly concerned about whether they will have enough financial resources to last throughout their retirement,” said Insured Retirement Institute President and CEO Cathy Weatherford. “With life expectancies continuing to increase, and coupled with the uncertainty in the markets over the past few years, longevity and financial market risk clearly are two of the most imminent concerns Boomers have regarding the security and stability of their retirement savings.”

Lee Barney writes for Money Management Executive, a Source Media publication.

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