Deciding what assets to use for income can be crucial in retirement. Most retirees become more conservative, so it may be time to convert higher risk assets into income through conservative balanced income funds or bonds. You could also consider Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs) that defer a portion of your required minimum distributions to age 85. QLACs use a deferred income annuity. Many advisers are now using deferred income annuities to buy blocks of guaranteed income in a laddering strategy where income is triggered at different times like ages 75, 80 and 85.
The level of comfort you have with making investment decisions is a major consideration in deciding among the various payout alternatives. If you’ve been investing successfully for years, the prospect of building a portfolio you control with a lump sum payout or an IRA rollover can be appealing—and realistic. Your challenge will be producing enough income during retirement.
But if you don’t want to worry about outliving your assets, you may opt for the relative security of an annuity. Knowing that the same amount is coming in on a regular basis makes budgeting—and occasionally splurging—a lot easier.
Another approach is to leave your account in your employer’s plan and take distributions on a schedule that works for you. You might opt for a regular monthly amount or withdraw periodically, provided you’re careful to take your full RMD by year’s end.
You’ll also want to weigh the amount you’ll owe in income tax. With a lump sum payout, you must pay the total that’s due at one time, which can substantially reduce the amount you have left to invest. With the other options, you owe federal income tax at your regular rate as you receive the money.
Contributions from the book Managing Retirement Income in this press release are used with permission from Light Bulb Press.