Some of the traditional models and rules of thumb used to help clients plan for retirement do not work well, says Kenn B. Tacchino, director of New York Life Center for Retirement Income.

Tacchino, who acted as moderator, and the financial experts participating in the New York Life Game Changer Webcast for the American College Alumni Association, propose theories that reject some standard theories of planning.

Retirement should be looked at in age bands of 10 years, with different expense expectations built into each band starting at 65, 75 and 85, says Somnath Basu, director of the California Institute of Finance.

"Retirement is as dynamic as any other phase of life," he says. Plan for less housing costs when a mortgage is paid off but substitute the expense of long-term health care. More expenses for leisure activities should be built into the first 10 years of retirement, but then that expense decreases as health-care costs increase. Do not deal with retirement as a whole, he says, but as parts.

Another aspect overlooked by many is the asset value of human resources, says Moshe Milevsky, executive director of the Individual Finance and Insurance Decisions Centre.

"If the client is young, the human resource asset value is high because he has many years to work. If he is older it is less," Milevsky says. "If he is in a stable profession, such as a college professor, his asset value can take the place of some of the requirements for bonds in a portfolio.

"However, if he is in a commission business with more risk, his human resource asset value should be considered a stock and the portfolio may need more bonds to balance it," Moshe says.