Safe Money and Income Strategies - Making the Most of Your Retirement Savings

safe money and income strategies

Are you looking for safe money and income strategies that you heard of on the radio or someplace else? After a long career, most people would like a financially secure retirement that they can spend in peace and comfort.

This probably applies to you as much as anyone else. As you prepare for your post-career years, you may have heard or read about those "safe money and income strategies.” If you have, you may be wondering exactly what they are and whether they are right for you in your current financial situation.

What Are Safe Money and Income Strategies?

This sort of strategy follows a retirement school of thought that emphasizes income, safety, and protection. At its core, a safe money and income strategy can:

  • Pay regular predictable income to you for as long as you live.
  • Protect your hard-earned retirement assets.
  • Grow your money with a guaranteed interest rate.
  • Possibly earn more interest above a certain minimum rate.

Many fixed-income assets can serve as its lynchpin, from fixed-type annuities to bonds or Treasury securities. However, only annuities can truly pay you a guaranteed lifetime income.

What’s more, historically low interest rates have made it that much harder to live off of the interest from corporate and municipal bonds, CDs, Treasury securities, and savings bonds.

This isn’t to say that these instruments can give you some yield for dependable retirement income. It’s just harder in this lower interest rate environment.

Should You Explore These Strategies for Yourself?

These are important questions to answer correctly, because retirement today is different than it was for generations past. Many of our parents and grandparents worked for the same company for their entire careers, after which they could count on a pension and Social Security.

But pensions are pretty much gone from the private sector. People are also living longer. Add to that rising healthcare costs, and it’s a considerably different picture than before.

While people can still count on receiving Social Security payments after they retire, this income often isn’t enough to cover all living expenses. As a result, retirees have to cover these remaining gaps with income streams from elsewhere.

This is where a safe money and income strategy comes in. When used properly, it can bring more predictability and stability to your overall retirement strategy. It can help offset risk in other parts of your portfolio and help further diversify your overall holdings.

Pay Heed to How You Receive Annuity Advice

Turn on the radio dial, and there will be no shortage of money or retirement themed talk shows. Many of these programs offer valuable information to their listeners, giving them fodder for the retirement issues they need to be thinking over.

But on the other hand, some radio shows are thinly disguised product pitches. Their aim? They try to get you into someone's office and to buy a financial product.

How can you tell if you are hearing a product pitch? They can often be distinguished by over-the-moon promises such as "participation in market gains," "no market losses ever," "uncapped growth potential," "high first-year bonuses," and other phrase ticklers that are meant to grab your attention.

Other over-the-top promises on these shows can be pushing for an annuity, or another instrument, to be a one-and-all solution for your retirement needs: income, growth, long-term care, and so on.

Where Do These Sour Pitches Fall Short?

The problem with those shows is they are just hawking a product sale. This product sale might not be well-tailored to your goals or have a clear role for helping you reach them.

Indeed, a better approach would be a solution based on an in-depth analysis of your future monthly income needs, your expected future expenses, and your overall goals.

A financial professional who knows what they are doing will work backwards. They will ask you questions about what you hope to achieve.

They will see what your portfolio is, understand what different assets will be doing for your retirement, and assess how they can fill the gaps.

To be clear, your financial professional may mention some of these benefits on the air, and then once you meet in their office, they might show this careful due diligence in their conversations with you. So it’s also prudent to balance this cautious approach with open-mindedness.

That being said, still be wary of radio spots and other slick marketing that throw excessive pitches at you. Where a safe money and income strategy offers great strength is in its guarantees. In other words, the actual benefits of what you get – and not just hypotheticals that might not happen – are the true hallmark.

Is a Safe Money and Income Strategy Right for You?

Having said all of this, how can you tell if a safe money and income strategy makes sense for your financial situation? Follow these steps to weigh your options.

Take Note of Your Future Income

It all begins with your income needs. Take note of your monthly spending now and use it as a clue-in for what future spending will look like. Some good categories of spending to include are:

  • Housing costs
  • Food and grocery
  • Utilities
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Personal upkeep (haircuts, wardrobe, etc.)
  • Insurance
  • Medical and healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Charitable giving
  • Taxes
  • Business expenses (if they apply to your household)

Be sure to factor in things such as increased healthcare spending, diminishing expenses like those related to children living with you, and paying off your mortgage. Those costs are likely to change over the course of retirement.

It’s also good to include your “nice-to-haves,” or your lifelong goals such as travel, as part of your income estimates. Once you have these numbers on paper, running projections for them over a 30-year span will give you a solid foundation.

That can give you a realistic long-term snapshot of what your income needs might be. Your financial professional can help you with this step.

What You Will Do with Social Security

Another step is figuring out what you will do with your Social Security benefit. The timing of when you file for benefits can make a big difference in how much lifetime income you receive.

At the very least, you will want to consider whether to wait until your full retirement age. What makes sense for you will depend in large part on your personal medical history as well as your family history. Your doctor and other caretakers in your healthcare can give input on this front.

If your family has a history of long life, you might consider delaying Social Security past full retirement age. As financial experts recognize, a delay until age 70 can increase what your benefit would have been at full retirement age by another thirty-two percent!

No matter when you claim your benefit, be sure to include your monthly Social Security checks in your income projections. This is part of your foundational income.

Identify Your Monthly Income Gaps

Now is time to see if you have a hole in between what your monthly income needs are expected to be and what you will receive from your investments.

Are there any gaps? If so, then you may need to plan for how you will generate reliable income from those holdings so you can cover them.

Fill the Income Gaps

Annuities might be one way to fill the hole so you can enjoy a standard of living that you don't have to worry about falling below. Just be sure to shop around for the annuity contract that best solves for your situation.

There are hundreds of different annuity products out there, and some are much better than others. An independent advisor or agent can help you weed through these many options and find some annuity contracts that fit your needs.

Putting Yourself in the Driver’s Seat for Your Financial Future

Working with an experienced financial professional can go a long way towards helping you see where you are now and how well you might fare after you stop working.

A good advisor will look at your complete financial picture. They might even use some sort of income planning software to create your retirement income plan. This type of plan includes your entire cash-flow and balance sheet so you can see how different outcomes can turn out across time.

What if you aren’t sure about what financial strategies in general might be right for you? No sweat. Consult your financial advisor for more information on these concepts and find out whether you are on the right track with your own retirement savings.

Looking for Someone to Guide You?

What if you need to find a financial professional with whom you can discuss your situation? No sweat.

Help is available with just a few mouse clicks at Many independent financial professionals are accessible to help with your unique goals and circumstances.

Use our “Find a Financial Professional” section to connect with someone directly. You can request an initial appointment to discuss your situation and explore a working relationship. Should you need a personal referral, call us at 877.476.9723.

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