"Knowledge is power," said Lisa Hayes, a senior wealth strategist at PNC Wealth Management.
"Everyone should have an understanding of their financial position — what income is coming in and what is going out to cover expenses," she said. "Then you can see where you can cut expenses if you have to."
From there, Hayes advises clients to create a plan that addresses short- and long-term goals. That means "helping you diversify as these fluctuations occur so you can keep sleeping at night."
That doesn't just mean a well balanced portfolio.
"Many times, 90 percent of the attention has been on investments, the mistake is to minimize all of the other pieces of their estate plan, like taxes and the cost of long-term care." Moeller said.
(One Fidelity study found a typical retired couple will have $260,000 in out-of-pocket health-care outlays. Long-term care could add another $130,000.)
Further, clients often underestimate their life expectancy, he said. In fact, 43 percent of retirees and 38 percent of preretirees fell short by at least five years when asked to gauge the average life expectancy for someone of their age and gender, according to a survey from the Society of Actuaries.
For today's soon-to-be retirees, the stakes are as high as they were 10 years ago.
"What we typically recommend for those nearing retirement is to keep aside a war chest," said Neil Krishnaswamy, a CFP and advisor at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Frisco, Texas.
"That's roughly about five years' worth of living expenses in relatively safe investments, outside of equities: fixed income and cash assets," Krishnaswamy said. "Then we have some means to create relatively sustainable distributions to get through down periods."
"These big events can happen but it's really about your behavior through those events that can give you your long-term security."
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How to come up with the $280,000 you need to cover health care in retirement