Advice for Handling Retiring During a Financial Downturn

Most Americans finance their retirement with a certain amount of faith: Investing will help their savings keep pace with inflation, institutions will continue to work as they always have, it will all work out in the end.

It’s challenging to maintain that optimism in moments like these, when it seems just about everything is at stake and nothing is certain. You could call the American approach to retirement gambling, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

Of course the future has always been uncertain. It was unknowable in 1973, during one of the highest-inflation periods; in 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst; and again in 2008, when the housing and financial markets collapsed. And it’s opaque now, when the markets are down about 11.6 percent year to date while inflation remains high, climbing 8.5 percent in July, though it slowed slightly from the previous month. Bonds usually provide some cushion when stocks plummet, but they haven’t provided much of a buffer, either.

“This year has…

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This article was written by Tara Siegel Bernard and originally published on