"There's never been, I'd say, more uncertainty than today in what's going on," Erik Sussman, the CEO of the newly launched Institute of Financial Wellness (IFW), recently said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "And uncertainty, it often causes a lot of fear and anxiety ... the fear of the unknown, it makes people nervous. And I think this is a great time to give people proper information so that they can make informed decisions."
The biggest worry for Americans when it comes to retirement is running out of money, Sussman said. And many of these individuals may have had to retire sooner than planned, leaving them with less money. A report from the New School's Retirement Equity Lab found that "an additional 1.7 million Americans retired earlier than what would have been expected during the normal times." A significant number of these retirees were younger than 65.
The IFW platform aims to help folks not only save enough money for retirement, but also plan distributions during retirement appropriately, especially since most Americans will depend on their own workplace-sponsored retirement plans for their golden years.
"It's really on them to take personal responsibility for making sure that they don't run out of money," Sussman said, noting the IFW provides personalized reports to help ensure they don't. "We're training our audience members to begin with the end in mind, to focus on not only the accumulation, but the distribution of their planning as well."
This kind of planning becomes even more important while facing economic challenges like inflation that eats into people already on fixed income and emphasizes their fear of running out of money in retirement.
"If milk goes up by 6%, that puts a strain," Sussman said. "When fuel prices go up significantly, that puts a strain on things. So it increases the worry that people have, which is exactly why we created the Institute of Financial Wellness, because we want to eliminate and lessen those fears that people have."