CONSUMER DIALOGUE FOCUSED ON A SHIFTING RETIREMENT LANDSCAPE FOR AMERICANS

Jon Ostrin, a 55-year-old sound engineer out of Ventura, California, was in the middle of retirement preparations when the pandemic hit. Now he’s in a “retirement reset” that’s causing him to rethink his retirement plans, including delaying his retirement by a few years.

“I’ve taken this time to almost look at this like retirement in training,” he told viewers of the Alliance’s 2020 Retirement Income Consumer Dialogue webcast on Sept. 23. Ostrin – a member of John Legend’s touring team who has traveled extensively around the world for the past 30-plus years – said he’s “seeing what it’s like to be home, what it’s like to not have a date on the calendar when I have to leave again.”

The pandemic has also allowed Ostrin and his wife to experience the financial realities of retirement. Although Ostrin feels extremely fortunate that the singer is paying him a retainer through the pandemic, which is covering about 85% of his monthly living expenses, “we’ve had to dip into our retirement savings a bit.”

More and more people today are beginning to scratch their heads and say, ‘Wow, I might be living 20 or 30 more years after I stop working.

During the Consumer Dialogue, pre-retirees and retirees detailed the many challenges and uncertainties they face in planning for retirement, including their income needs in retirement and their hopes and plans for the coming years. This was the second event in the Alliance’s innovative series bringing real-world consumers and retirement experts together to discuss the retirement income crisis and how protected income from annuities can help provide a solution, especially during volatile and uncertain times that Americans everywhere are currently going through.

Facilitated by nationally known personal finance journalist Jean Chatzky, a senior education advisor of the Alliance and CEO of HerMoney, and AgeWave CEO Dr. Ken Dychtwald, a leading aging and retirement expert, the interactive event gave both pre-retirees and retirees an opportunity to speak candidly about their fears and needs in retirement. They in turn benefited from the perspectives and advice from some of the country’s foremost retirement authorities, including executives at Alliance member companies, financial advisors, academic and policy leaders, and the media.

Jean Chatzky, Kelly and Kent Dellinger, Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Peter Enge, Steve Gresham, Linda Rivera

Among other highlights of the day:

  • Linda Rivera, a former NYPD detective, talked about how the pandemic led her to question her financial plan but that she remains confident in retirement because she has an annuity that provides steady income she can count on. “The pandemic made me second-guess everything,” she said. “But I’ve had gratitude on many occasions because I have an annuity, which is protected income.”
  • Kelly and Kent Dellinger, both retired employees of automakers, emphasized the importance of planning early and investing for the long term. “The key for us,” Kent said, “was that we adjusted our risk over time. As we got closer to retirement, our portfolio risk level was reduced. We worked hard to cover our bases and ensure we wouldn’t have to stay up at night worrying about money.”
  • Steve Gresham, Alliance senior education advisor and veteran retirement industry executive, noted the importance of having a strong relationship with a financial professional you trust not only during the retirement planning years but also throughout retirement. Chatzky added, “If you’re with the right financial advisor for you, you can talk to them as openly and honestly as your gynecologist.”
  • Peter Enge, a warehouse inventory analyst at Prairie State Engineering Co., explained how a financial professional helped him develop a financial plan for living to 100. The advisor detailed the value of protecting part of his income with an annuity “so we won’t have to worry about times like these,” he said.
  • In his discussion of current retirement research, Dr. Dychtwald touched on people’s growing recognition that they’re living longer and having to plan for a longer retirement than past generations. “More and more people today are beginning to scratch their head and say, ‘Wow, I might be living 20 or 30 more years after I stop working,’ ” he said.

These first-person accounts from consumers, as well as perspectives from the various experts, showed that in unpredictable times like these, having protected income from an annuity can provide security and greater confidence during retirement.


Visit the Alliance’s Tools and Resources sections to assess your retirement readiness, learn more about the benefits of protected income, and how you can find a financial professional who’s right for you.

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