You can’t guarantee that retirement will be smooth sailing, but you can be prepared to weather the challenges. Retirement generally has surprises—some welcome and others you could do without. The least welcome are often the financial setbacks that interfere with your plans or your peace of mind. And while there is no way you can prevent an economic downturn or a spurt of inflation, there are things you can do now that may help insulate you from their most serious consequences. The first step is analyzing the sources of retirement income you can anticipate, how much you can expect these sources to provide, and the changes—if any— you should consider making in the way you’re investing and managing your money.
You need a plan to insure your income meets your needs. Making the leap from deciding to take retirement income to putting that decision into action can be nerve- wracking. That’s because the choices you make can mean a major difference in the way you live—sometimes for 30 years or more. And putting off decisions often seems easier than making them. Realistically, though, you improve your chances of achieving the best results when you determine the income you’ll need, weigh various ways it can be provided, and select the one that seems likely to best meet your needs.
Social Security benefits and a lifetime annuity can generate guaranteed income for you and your spouse to cover essential and discretionary spending. To make a strategic decision about the method you select to take income from your deferred or immediate annuity, it’s smart to begin by analyzing what portion of your overall retirement income the annuity will provide. That makes it easier to determine: The right time to start getting that income, the tax consequences of various ways of receiving the income and how long you want the income to last.
After covering your budget, you should consider some securities to keep pace with the real cost of living in retirement. But holding securities is first a matter of risk tolerance to confirm your suitability for security investments.
Contributions from the book Managing Retirement Income in this press release are used with permission from Light Bulb Press.