On Tuesday, June 14, 25 members of the Singles Club enjoyed a presentation by two esteemed financial professionals on “How Not To Outlive Your Money”—a timely subject, given rising inflation rates and a jittery market that had just entered bear territory. In addition to being a financial adviser, the first presenter, Bill Bengen, has conducted research seeking to identify the optimum percentage retirees could withdraw annually over an estimated 30-year period without exhausting their nest egg. This effort resulted in his being called “the father of the four percent rule,” a term he took exception to because market conditions dictate adjustments. For example, he calculated 4.2 percent as the highest successful initial withdrawal rate in 1994, 4.4 percent in 2006, and 4.7 percent in 2021.

He analogized the process to a balloon comprised of money rather than air with two holes, increases to resources through dividends, interest and appreciation, and decreases due to withdrawals adjusted for inflation. Navigating these variables determines success or failure. High inflation coupled with a bear market is a worst-case scenario in early retirement as individuals are required to take larger amounts of depreciating assets in order to maintain their lifestyle. This situation occurred in the late 1960s and is currently threatening a reappearance.

The second presenter, Gary Kueker, addressed the challenges retirees faced as they aged including, but not limited to, financial matters. His interest in this subject was inspired when his wife’s grandmother came to live with his family after being diagnosed with leukemia. Lacking the knowledge to prevent her financial resources from being drained by an avalanche of medical bills, he returned to school to learn how to help seniors maintain their dignity, self-sufficiency, and security when faced with the challenges of aging.

The majority of his clients are widows, many of whose husbands left them unprepared and often overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. He related an anecdote concerning a widow’s interesting reaction to learning of their wealth given her husband’s extreme frugality. When she wanted to replace their worn patio furniture, her husband considered this a frivolous expenditure and refused her request. She took great joy in summoning Mr. Kueker to help her burn the old furniture, a wish he glad to accommodate. Gary Kueker’s skill at providing widows with financial stability gives them the confidence to go on with their lives.

After this interesting and informative presentation, the Singles Club held its annual ice cream social. We assuaged our financial anxieties with a variety of treats and wine. Future plans include a pizza party later this summer and a presentation this fall by a University of Arizona professor on myths surrounding health and aging.

If you are single and would like to meet other fun and vibrant people, please join us at our weekly Happy Hour, Fridays at 4 p.m. During odd months (January, March, etc.), we meet for drinks and dinner at the HOA-1 clubhouse, and during even months (February, April, etc.) at HOA-2 in the Mountainview Clubhouse. Happy Hour may also be held at the Preserve. As clubhouses may experience temporary closings and/or prior bookings, check first before attending. For more information, contact Hazel Staloff at hazelny@msn.com.

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