In an interview with Barron’s, economist Laurence Kotlikoff doles out some practical advice for retirement planning. The focus should be on smoothing and protecting spending throughout a person’s lifetime and then saving toward a retirement-income goal, instead of concentrating solely on amassing wealth.
One key piece of advice he gives in the interview is to wait as long as possible to claim Social Security to get the biggest possible benefit. If a person lives to be 90, they’ll be happy they waited until 70 to claim Social Security, even if they spent down their savings.
Kotlikoff views the stock market as too risky; it’s overvalued and too dependent on the Fed’s support. He pulled out when Covid hit and escaped the market drop, though he missed out on the rebound. He’s waded back in with hedge funds that use arbitrage methods that aren’t reliant on how the market does.
Kotlikoff also advises downsizing your home in retirement, and to not retire too early, because “every year you delay retirement is a year less that you have to finance from savings.” The whole goal of life, Kotlikoff says in the interview, is to have the best lifestyle possible, no matter if the market crashes, or the house burns down, or you live to be 100.