Retirement is a time of life many look forward to, but it can also be a source of anxiety if you’re unsure how to make sure you have enough money to last. One way to ensure your financial security in retirement is by investing wisely to generate income during retirement and understanding what resources are available to you. We have seven tips on creating retirement income for retirees and older adults.
1. Strategic Withdrawal
Strategic withdrawal strategies can help make sure you have enough money to last throughout your retirement years and also minimize the amount of taxes you pay on that income. Here are a few basic strategies to consider:
One popular strategy is to set up systematic withdrawals from your retirement accounts. This method involves withdrawing a fixed amount of money each month, quarter, or year to provide an income stream during retirement. Systematic withdrawals are especially useful for those who want a predictable income stream and do not want to worry about managing their investments daily.
Another popular strategy is tax-efficient withdrawals. This involves considering the tax implications of each withdrawal before making it to minimize the amount of taxes paid on that income. For example, withdrawing from taxable accounts first allows you to take advantage of lower tax rates while still providing an adequate income level during retirement. Additionally, this strategy can help reduce the taxes owed on Social Security benefits by ensuring other sources of income are utilized first.
Finally, a rebalancing strategy may be beneficial for those who are looking for more flexibility with their withdrawals during retirement. This approach involves periodically rebalancing your portfolio (e.g., selling stocks and buying bonds) to maintain the desired asset allocation and generate additional cash flow without having to liquidate large amounts at once or sell off securities at inopportune times. This strategy also helps ensure sufficient funds are available for long-term care costs.
2. Retirement Annuity
A retirement annuity is an investment product allowing you to put money away now so it will grow over time. When you reach retirement age, the annuity will begin paying out a regular income stream. This stream of payments can last for the rest of your life or for a predetermined amount of time—depending on the terms of the contract.
Insurance companies or other financial institutions generally offer annuities. You will pay into the annuity with after-tax dollars; however, when you start receiving payments during retirement, those payments will be taxed as ordinary income (with some exceptions).
Why Invest in Retirement Annuities?
Retirement annuities can provide several benefits to investors:
- Tax-Deferred Growth – The money in your annuity grows tax-deferred until withdrawal during retirement; this helps maximize returns on your investment over time.
- Income Stream – Once you reach retirement age, you can start receiving regular payments, which can help supplement other sources of income such as Social Security or pensions. The amount and duration of payments depend on the terms outlined in the contract with your provider.
- Insurance Protection – Many providers offer additional features such as death benefits or disability protection, which can help protect your investment against unexpected events such as death or illness.
3. Bond Ladder
A bond ladder is an investment portfolio comprising multiple bonds with different maturities. The idea behind building a bond ladder is the returns from the bonds that come due over time will be reinvested in new bonds to provide steady income and capital growth. Building a bond ladder allows you to spread your investments across multiple maturity dates. If interest rates drop, you have already locked in higher rates on some of your investments. This helps protect you against losses caused by market volatility.
How Does It Work?
To build a bond ladder, start by deciding how long you want each rung of the ladder to be (this can range from 1-10 years). Then, create your portfolio by buying bonds with different maturity dates that match the length of each rung on the ladder. For example, if you have five rungs with 10-year maturities, buy five 10-year bonds. When one of those bonds matures, reinvest the money into another 10-year bond until all rungs on the ladder are filled. By keeping track of which bond matures, you can easily adjust your portfolio as needed without having to sell off any existing holdings or trigger capital gains taxes.
4. Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage allows older homeowners to access the equity—the difference between what is owed on their mortgage and the current property value—with a loan from a lender. The homeowner then receives regular payments from the lender, either through a lump sum, monthly installments, or both. The amount of money available depends on factors such as age, current interest rates, and the value of your home.
Pros and Cons of Taking Out a Reverse Mortgage
Reverse mortgages can benefit seniors who need extra cash but don’t want to sell their homes or take out another loan. However, some drawbacks must be considered before taking out a reverse mortgage. For example, if you decide to move away from your current residence or pass away while still owing money on your loan, you may have difficulty repaying it in full or face foreclosure proceedings against your estate. Additionally, reverse mortgages can be expensive due to origination fees and other costs associated with them.
5. Pension Plan
In a pension plan, an employer contributes money into an account on behalf of the employee. The amount of money contributed varies based on the employee’s salary and can range from several hundred dollars each month to thousands of dollars annually. The employer also contributes money to this account as well. This money is then invested by a professional financial institution such as an insurance company or bank. Once enough funds have been accumulated, they are then used to provide monthly payments to the employee when they reach retirement age.
Who Should Consider Investing in a Pension Plan?
Anyone with regular employment should consider investing in a pension plan if available through their employer. This is because it offers additional benefits over other forms of retirement investments such as IRAs or 401(k)s. For example, a pension plan provides more security since it guarantees its members will be paid out regardless of the performance of its investments. Additionally, pensions provide tax incentives such as tax-deferred contributions and tax-free withdrawals upon retirement age.
6. Social Security
Social security is a government-sponsored retirement savings plan. The Social Security Administration funds it through payroll taxes from working Americans and their employers. The money that you contribute to social security goes into a trust fund that’s used to pay benefits to retirees and their families.
How Does Social Security Work?
When you retire, you’re eligible to receive social security benefits based on your earnings history. The amount of money you receive each month depends on how much you’ve paid into your social security account, how long you’ve been paying into it and the age you retire. The average monthly benefit can vary depending on your circumstances.
7. Public Assistance Programs and Other Government Programs
In addition to Social Security, other government programs are available such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).) SSI is a federal income supplement from general tax revenues, not Social Security taxes. The program provides monthly cash benefits to people with limited income or resources. To be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet certain criteria set forth by the SSA.
These requirements include:
- Being at least 65 years old
- Are blind or disabled.
- Have limited income and resources.
- Meet the residency requirements of being a U.S citizen or certain categories of non-citizens.
- Not having been convicted of certain felonies within the past seven years.
It’s important to note there are some exceptions to these eligibility requirements, so it’s best to contact the SSA directly if you have any questions regarding your particular situation. Once you qualify, the amount of assistance depends on the number of individuals in your household and other factors such as living arrangements.
Investing for retirement is an important step in ensuring financial security in later life. Developing a plan and researching investments that meet your goals is important before committing any money. With careful planning and smart investments, retired investors can enjoy greater financial security when needed. For additional information and tips on being financially prepared for retirement, consider joining Planning Made Simple. You’ll have resources to help guide your investment strategy. For members of Planning Made Simple who are looking to make the most of their retirement or for ways to generate guaranteed income, speak with your Planning Made Simple coach.