2014 and beyond has much to behold for retirees and soon-to-be-retirees—now is the time to re-evaluate your retirement plan needs by completing an updated retirement planning questionnaire for 2014 that is fresh and customized for the times. What times? WHAT TIMES? Times of QE, better known as the Federal Reserve’s “Quantatative Easing” program by which the Federal Government is buying some $80M in Treasuries each month, just to name one. QE=future inflation=challenges for those who are retired or are nearing retirement. Times of analysts predicting lower future stock and bond returns. Times of uncertain, yet rising, healthcare costs for retirees.

Retirement age is typically synonymous with an investment allocation heavy in bonds or fixed income, which are typically associated with low risk. THESE times may hold something different. A portfolio loaded with long-term bonds is certain to disrupt the soon-to-be-retiree’s peaceful retirement agenda. Liberated Investors know a better way.

These times demand more than the proverbial Wall Street “Pie Chart.” You’ve seen the “Pie Chart”—the one that tells you how you should be allocated based on your risk and age—there’s just one problem with the Pie Chart: It doesn’t incorporate what is happening in the market and world economies. Another problem; the Pie Chart touts outdated, and what I consider lazy buy and hold “Nobel Prize Winning” strategy, dating back to 1959. We don’t need to ask the retirees who held 50% bonds in their accounts how that Nobel Prize Winning Pie Chart worked out for them in 2008, because they lost, on average 38% in 2008 on their diversified stock mutual funds, according a USNEWS and World Report article and a over 12% on their long-term bond holdings, in just the August-October 2008 3 month period, alone.

Fortunately, there is a new model. There is a third model that Liberated Investors leverage to great effect. This model is new but in many ways, it’s as old as the Dow.

The Liberated Investor Model borrows the discipline of “Buy and Hold” or Pie Chart Model, but not the passivity. It borrows the responsiveness of the “Market Timer Model”, but instead of emotion driving the choices, our model looks at facts and logic. So in essence, we take the best of both models and combine them into a fact-based, disciplined approach that we call The Liberated Investor Model. The Liberated Investor Model is really just common sense without all the fluff. The most aggressive Liberated Investor Model lost a mere -7.15% in 2008 and the most conservative LI model, -2.46%, compared to the 50/50 blend (S&P & Lehman Agg Gov/Corp indices, according to Morningstar research) losses of -15.88%.

So, ready now to take get a fresh, updated perspective on your retirement planning needs? A Liberated Investor perspective (not a Pie Chart, 1959 perspective)? CNNMoney.com helped us compile this “New Retirement” 2014 Updated Retirement Planning Questionnaire with some tools to assist:

  1. Are you flexible with your anticipated retirement date(s)? Retiring in the “right market” is critical. BE FLEXIBLE to retiring later, and incorporate 2 years of losses in your investment returns when forecasting your retirement road map. Research shows that 1971 retirees (who had to endure a market much like 2008) who withdrew “generally acceptable financial planning standards” of 5% were out of funds in 24 years. Contrast that to the same set of returns, yet reverse the order (good years first) and Voile! In 24 years there was 50% more money than in year 1 of the first, ill timed example.
  2. Have you FULLY evaluated your Social Security options? You could receive up to 76% more by waiting until age 70, but still, there are complex ways for married couples to max-out their preferred Social Security strategy. It’s not as simple as both waiting until you’re 70. Click here for your Customized SS Strategy report. (hyperlink)
  3. Are you or your planner using a benchmark of 4-5% “generally acceptable financial planning standards” for retirement savings withdrawals? Decereasing this to 3-3.5% will increase your odds of not running out of retirement funds.
  4. What funds will you need to live off each year, in retirement? Don’t simply estimate 70-80% of current spending, this may cause you to overestimate, YES, overestimate, whatyou may truly need. Remember to adjust for mortgage payoff, or reduced medical premiums in lieu of medicare. David Blanchette, Director of Research, Morningstar Investment Management, found that actual spending declined, after adjusting for inflation through most of retirement.
  5. What investment management strategy do you have in place? Buy and Hold, one that times the market or a LI strategy? Talk to your advisor, or evaluate your own strategy and assess what rules and indicators guide your portfolio’s allocation. Don’t be victim to the 1959 Pie Chart. Take the Alphavest Challenge to see how your portfolio would’ve performed in our Liberated Models.
  6. Are you healthy? HUH? That’s right—hit the gym, because healthier retirees can pay as much as $56,000 less in retirement healthcare costs—per person! Now, are you financially healthy? Max out your retirement plan at work and take advantage of IRAs Roth IRAs—max them out every year to set yourself up for success.
  7. What are your total investment management fees on your investments? Research shows that paying .8% too much can reduce your wealth by 21% over your retirement. Click here for a free tool to help you analyze your fees or here for a customized Morningstar Fee Analysis.