Inflation, recession fears scare retirement-age Americans

Inflation, recession fears scare retirement-age Americans

We are panicking.

A bear market, a decline in 401(k) plans, and rising inflation have rightly scared Americans — especially those in or near retirement.

“When you hear doom and gloom, you feel doom and gloom,” Joe Saul-Sehi, a former financial advisor and co-host of “The Stacking Benjamin Podcast,” told The Post. “You go to the gas station, you go to the grocery store, and you can see that things are getting worse quickly.”

According to an April study by Global Atlantic Financial Outlook, three out of five investors of retirement age believe that the current situation will sabotage their nest egg.

But Saul-Sehi warns Americans not to hit the panic button — even if they are in the older demographic.

Saul-Sehi said, “Understand that this is money you’re going to spend the rest of your life with.” “You don’t have to worry about your entire nest egg, just what you’ll be spending the next few years on.”

Financial advisor Joe Saul-Sehi, pictured leaning against a wall and smiling.
Even if you’re feeling “doom and gloom,” don’t hit the panic button, said Saul-Sehi, a former financial advisor and co-host of “The Stacking Benjamin Podcast.”
Natalie Jennings

His advice in the short term: Look for ways to tighten your belt, reevaluate your portfolio, and work part-time to temporarily supplement your income.

“We’re probably in a recession, but getting a job is easier than ever,” said Saul-Sehi, adding that history repeats itself: Look, he noted, how the economy rebounded from previous recessions in 2002 and 2007.

“I can control my budget, I can control the things I value, the things I’m saving and what steps I’m going to take financially. I focus on that stuff I do, my nervousness subsides,” he said.

The Post talked to three people about how they are rearranging their post-career plans.

A $100 bill is being filled in the gas tank of a car to illustrate the current economic pressures facing Americans.
The skyrocketing cost of fuel is just one of many pressures on the pocketbooks and purses of Americans approaching retirement age.

go back to work

Just before the pandemic, Virginia resident Terri Tychan, 58, retired from her job as the school’s administrative secretary to help care for her aging father. Her teacher husband plans to follow her into retirement this or next year, and the pair will move to Florida.

“We had plans. All of a sudden, they’re not working,” Tychan told The Post. Instead, her husband is indefinitely holding off on submitting her papers, and she’s going back to work.

“I’m preparing to start looking for another job again,” said Tychan, who has been hunting within the school system in hopes of increasing his pension and health benefits.

“If things were as they were two years ago, it would have been fine without me working. We thought we were doing everything right,” she continued.

Tychan – whose son, daughter-in-law and three granddaughters are living with her and her husband – cites rising gas costs, inflation and high housing prices as obstacles.

“I’m really nervous,” she said.

But, with new uncertainty as his golden years approach, Tychan’s grandchildren have been a silver lining: “Kids really do brighten your day. It’s been a blessing. ,

Donna Jackson of Syracuse and her son at their graduation.  Jackson retired from the Air Force and his job as a court reporter;  The economy has reconsidered its plans for the future.
Retired court reporter Donna Jackson, 56, had tutored her son in college and was ready for the next chapter in life—but now she has to re-enter the workforce.

delay in retirement gratification

Last week, 56-year-old Donna Jackson retired from her job as a court reporter. The Syracuse, New York-based mom, who also has an Air Force pension, had recently overcome a chronic health condition and wanted to enjoy her life.

“I was a single mom since 2000. I raised my son and raised him in college. I have two health care plans. I’m doing everything right. But things feel different than they did two years ago,” said Jackson, who also has a contracted gig with the Air Force.

He had rented in a few different warm-weather locations before deciding to settle where he had planned to become a snowbird. She was also considering selling her primary home in Washington, D.C. to be near her son; instead, she had to live upstairs while accelerating her contract work.

“I’ll see where I am in six months, and see if I’m making good money from contract work. If I think I’ll be able to keep it up, I’ll pull the pin [and go south],” He said.

To make up for inflation, she’s gearing up — giving up expensive facials, budgeting on her groceries, and looking to sell one of her two cars.

“The average bear market lasts about nine to 10 months, so I keep telling myself it will be okay,” she said.

Donna Jackson, retired Air Force, in uniform.
Donna Jackson’s Air Force pension doesn’t shield her from concerns about the current economic climate.
Photo provided by Donna Jackson

push retirement

This month, New York City band teacher Daniels, who withheld his last name for professional reasons, was ready to give up his career after 20 years in the public school system.

“I had to postpone. I fear my pension will not be enough with the cost of living going up,” he told The Post.

Daniels and his 59-year-old wife have three adult children, who live in Brooklyn, have a second home in Pennsylvania and were expected to visit.

“Now my wife’s 401(k) has lost so much money,” said Daniel, a native of Ukraine. “We don’t know how long it will take to recover.”

Among his concerns: rising medical costs, food and gas bills.

“Every day I’m thinking [finances], Part of the American dream is to be able to come and work in this country,” Daniel continued. “You get the benefits of what you made or earned. That dream is no longer safe.”

After consulting with his financial advisor Vlad Shafir, Daniel has decided to work for at least one more year.

“I started working when I was 17. You will eventually want to live your life,” he said.

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