Retirement Income Planning - SafeMoney.com

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strategies to help bridge retirement income gap

The mantra for success in real estate is "location, location, location." For success in retirement, the canned phrase becomes "income, income, income."

 When you retire, you no longer have a salary from full-time employment. Or maybe you were an entrepreneur, so you brought home the bacon in other ways, such as business ownership. Either way, your income situation will probably change.

A key factor for living well is how much money you can expect to receive every month from your own unique mix of retirement income sources. However, some Americans may fall short of the income they need for their golden years. Consider research done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, for instance.

In one study, center researchers found that as many as 40% of baby boomers in the study may run out of money in retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Readiness Ratings, released in 2014, only 56.7% of “early” baby boomers (born from 1948 to 1954) and 58.5% of late boomers (1955 to 1964) will have the financial resources required to meet their retirement expenses. The remaining retirees would struggle with income that falls short of their needs.

The EBRI’s model indicates that a household is considered likely to run short of money if its assets can’t meet "minimum retirement expenditures." This is a combination of expenses from the federal Consumer Expenditure Survey (as a function of age and income); some health insurance and out-of-pocket health expenses; and expenses from nursing-home and home-health care.

 steps to create a retirement income plan

Remember those television commercials from a decade ago showing people walking around town carrying a giant orange “retirement number” under their arms?

That is what everyone thought a retirement plan should look like. A big number that you divvy up and draw down during your golden years. With that strategy you are taking 100 percent of the risks many retirees may face, from market volatility to longevity risk to healthcare risk.

Modern thinking has taught us that, as the average life expectancy continues to climb (Could age 90 be the new 70?), our real concern should be more than a magic number for retirement savings. It should be creating a retirement income plan that ensures we will have income in retirement that lasts as long as we will.

 retirement income planning for couples

Over the years, you and your spouse have probably had many wonderful conversations about your retirement dreams. Maybe you talked about traveling to exotic destinations. Maybe you have always wanted to move closer to the grandkids. Or you might have dreamed of taking up those elusive hobbies neither of you had quite the time to pursue.

Of course, there are many things to discuss for retirement so you can prepare for a retirement lifestyle that you both find meaningful. One thing you may not have discussed, or agreed on, is how to harmonize your grand plans with your retirement income plan. Because not only will you need money to fund that retirement wish list… You will still need income to support your everyday needs, not to mention healthcare and other potentially costly unknowns.

What will those needs be? That seems to be where the disagreement begins. According to a Fidelity Investments Couples Retirement Study, almost half of the couples surveyed (47 percent) disagreed on how much they needed to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement.

One reason may be the small percentage of couples who have taken time to develop a detailed retirement income plan… just 21 percent, according to Fidelity.

 government shutdown over bond risks loom

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the government shutdown ended this month. As InvestmentNews noted, bond yields are in flux, and the shutdown could have made things worse.

But while that ship has sailed, other risks still loom on the horizon. Industry analysts point to changing rates overseas, inflation, and predicted Fed rate hikes at home as potential bond market movers. A report from Deutsche Bank lists them, among other concerns, as 30 market risks to watch in 2018. And what's at the top of that report list? "U.S. inflation moving higher in 2018 Q2."

more americans reaching retirement savings next steps

If you are among the growing numbers of Americans reaching their retirement savings goals, congratulations!

According to the Center for Retirement Research, 50% of working-age Americans report they could maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement, as measured by the Center’s National Retirement Risk Index. This is a 2% improvement over the center’s previous measure of retirement readiness in 2013.

Thanks to rising home values and stock market all-time highs, the account balances of employer and individual retirement savings plans are flush. So, now that your retirement savings goal is achieved, what should you do next to enjoy the retirement you have worked hard for over many years?

6 risks to retirement income we cant afford to ignore

Achieving financial security isn’t an easy task. The dynamics of retirement income planning have evolved. It used to be that retired households could rely upon Social Security and personal pensions for the income they needed.

But that has changed. Now Americans shoulder more individual responsibility for their future income security. Also, life expectancies are on the rise. The challenge becomes ensuring our money will last for a retirement lifetime.    

As you create your own retirement income plan – or consider potential changes to your current plan – here are six risks to retirement income to consider. Keep these potential pitfalls in mind as you formulate your own strategy.

does spending increase in retirement

Retirement can bring up a number of concerns, from lifestyle and health to social activeness. There’s also the issue of money. Many people worry about retirement spending, how much they need to save, and how this may affect their current money habits.

In a survey by Allianz Life, nearly one-third of Americans said they are “panicked” or “very worried” about cost-of-living increases and their effects on their retirement lifestyle. 6 in 10, or 64%, said they don’t have a plan to combat rising costs of living in retirement.

From the standpoint of pre-retirement preparation, this brings up an important point: Does spending tend to increase in retirement? Answering this question may play into decisions of managing expenses, controlling spending, and saving for retirement today.

Compared to pre-retirement, many Americans may expect their retirement spending to go down. Having fewer or no commutes to work, children moving out, paying off debts such as a mortgage, not having to deal with a wardrobe for work... these are just a few areas in which expenses can fall.

But many retirees may even see their expenses go up. Healthcare and personal care costs tend to increase sharply. Housing costs, such as home repairs or a roof replacement, may arise if you continue to live in the same place for years. Then there’s time – simply much more time for people to do things and spend money.

So, while there’s no ballpark answer, it’s important to have some idea of potential retirement spending. Here’s a quick look at some data findings and other helpful insights.

retirement income planning tips for small business owners

Retirement income planning already is difficult. But for small business owners, it poses even more challenges. Despite being used to the hustle-and-bustle of day-to-day tasks and operations, even businesspersons have to slow down at some point.  

Eventually entrepreneurs get to an age when they can’t run their companies like they did before. As a company owner, you likely will face this someday. You may have to reduce your involvement, or it may even be time for an exit. If that’s in the cards, you might have to sell your business or let someone else in the family take it over.

In any case, there’s retirement at the end, and moving into retirement means you have to make plans to safeguard your financial future. In practice, this means being able to pay the bills today while saving enough to live off tomorrow (when your business can be no longer a source of personal income for you – or less income).

Retirement income planning, however, is not a linear thing. It entails holistically evaluating your lifestyle alongside your income and making projections for your life after retirement; then putting in place protections to ensure you can enjoy a lifestyle that’s right for you as long as you live. 

If you are confused about what you should do to retire happy and comfortably, you are not the only one. Many small business owners – not to mention several Americans in general – are in the same boat as you. Read on for some helpful tips to assist you with enjoying more lifelong retirement income certainty.

biggest retirement income planning mistakes to avoid

Sure, life happens and we make mistakes. We learn and try not to repeat them. But in retirement income planning, the margin for error is smaller. Just one or a few mistakes could derail your goals or even put your retirement on the rocks.  

If you are someone who plans to retire within the next 10 years or sooner, now is the perfect time to start putting your financial house in order. However, as you devote attention to daily tasks in the workplace and your household, it can be hard to make your post-work future a priority. But retirement can come sooner than you think, and it’s prudent to start preparations before your time has passed.

So, meet with your financial professional to discuss your goals, review the status of your retirement assets, and evaluate your financial picture. And as you near your retirement, it’s important to refrain from critical income planning mistakes. From bad saving and spending habits to easy-to-overlook risks and planning pitfalls, here are six critical retirement income planning mistakes you should avoid.

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The “magic number” to retire comfortably – as worry-free as possible – has always been a hot topic between financial professionals and their clients. Do I have enough to do what I want? Did I save enough for retirement? Have I been living beyond my means? Do I have to keep working for another few years? Will I live to 100? These questions echo in almost everyone’s head, especially late at night. And, for some, they can get louder closer to retirement – when that “magic number” really matters. Luckily, there are many magic numbers.

One Magic Number Does Not Fit All

Take a look at your income before and imagine it after the gold watch. An income replacement number for retirement is often initially based on the income you have prior to your retirement. However, that figure may not apply to the actual income you need after you retire.

What’s your lifestyle now? What will it look like in post-retirement? Traveling around the world? Downsizing and becoming fulltime grandparents? Start a Second Act career? Supporting your kids if they move home? Living large and blowing it on a Porsche? Well, not everyone has retirement plans. So it doesn’t make sense that a “magic number” for one individual, couple or family is universal.

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Retirement is a period of transition. For most Americans, it represents a shift from a career or entrepreneurship to more personal downtime. Apart from more time to do what they want, many people focus on other retirement lifestyle decisions, such as where to live. If you are thinking about relocation, you may want to look at communities with a number of features:

  • Lower costs-of-living
  • Enjoyable climate conditions
  • Personally-enriching cultural and educational opportunities
  • Ways to sustain physical wellness and be socially active


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Realtors, and Forbes, top retirement locations for baby boomers tend to have sunnier weather. But this isn’t the only relocation concern affecting retired and soon-to-be-retired Americans. Other retirement hotspots could feature low unemployment, a healthy economy, favorable tax climate, efficient crime deterrence, and ease-of-access to healthcare.

If you are considering new living settings, here are ten, top-ranking destinations which might fit your lifestyle preferences.

How Will You Pay for Retirement

It’s not unusual for retirees to have multiple sources of income. According to the Social Security Administration, people age 65 and older receive a majority of their income from four sources. These source-points cover a wide range of income needs, from monthly living costs to healthcare spending and other retirement expenses.

If you’re in or near the “retirement red zone” (a period of 10 years before retirement and the first 10 years in retirement), now is a critical time. Decisions made now – and decisions which are neglected – will have a significant impact on the rest of a retirement lifetime, no matter how long it lasts. It’s a stage at which to figure out how you will pay for all of your retirement years.

With that said, here’s a look at how people age 65 and older are paying for retirement, and some ways to maximize retirement income.

Are You Generating Enough Income in Retirement

Do you have a dependable level of income for retirement? According to a new study, many seniors aren’t generating the retirement income they need. BankRate.com reports seniors in 47 states and the District of Columbia aren’t replacing enough of the income they earned in their working years.

The study found that at best, seniors are living off 60% of the income they had in their pre-retirement years. Financial experts believe retirees need at least 70% of their pre-retirement income. BankRate.com reports the national average to be 60.27%.

Why Does It Matter?

Retirement Security with Guaranteed Income

Last week we covered how financial literacy could affect quality of life. Having strong financial knowledge puts you in a position to make well-informed decisions about your future. It also brings peace of mind – people establish control over their money and prepare themselves for a financially secure retirement.

Unfortunately, over the last several years retirement confidence has been negative. It’s in no small part due to events like the 2008 recession or the recent stock market correction. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports in 2015, just 37% of workers said they’re “very confident” about having enough retirement money.

Changing Priorities in Retirement

Secure Your Financial Future

So we’ve discussed how staying on top of your finances pays off. It certainly helps with attaining a higher quality of life. But the benefit isn’t limited to just this alone. It also brings clarity to life goals and peace of mind.

Now put this in the context of retirement. The retirement years are a distinct part of someone’s financial life. According to Pew Research, each day 10,000 additional baby boomers turn 65 years old – the “traditional” age for retirement. When you move into this life stage, things are different. You have different needs, different goals, and different means to achieve them.

For one, healthcare and long-term care needs become more pressing. Moreover, retirement is hardly a static period. Over time, life priorities and objectives evolve and change. Plus factors such as estate planning come into play.

To maintain financial well-being, it’s important to be prepared for this juncture. Here are some critical factors to consider if you’re approaching retirement – or if you’re already retired and looking for ways to strengthen your financial security.

Important Factors to Consider

Financial Planning Steps with Your Partner

In the past, we’ve discussed ways to create a meaningful retirement. After many years of hard work, people want to enjoy their retirement years. It’s important for this period to be enrichening, but taking steps to ensure a secure future is also paramount.

Many baby boomers are couples. Oftentimes household duties and responsibilities are divvied up among partners. One handles the finances, and the other may hold responsibility for other areas of planning. Daily chores such as cooking or cleaning the kitchen are likely to be split duties.

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The holidays are around the corner. It’s getting closer to cherished times with family and friends. But for many Americans, this memorable period comes with its own stresses. Apart from the “typical” hustle-and-bustle, the holiday season itself presents many financial pressures. 


As we’ve covered before, seniors already face a number of challenges in retirement. Say your family is living out-of-state. If finances are already tight, travel could be costly and difficult. Like seniors, working Americans have their own difficulties, too. Many households struggle with just having enough retirement funds as current household expenditures take priority. For instance, in a 2014 study by BankRate.com, over 33.3% of American workers didn’t have any retirement savings.

Greg Map 200 200

Greg Bodoh
Dominion Retirement Planning

Retirement security is a driving concern for many Americans. It’s no secret as to why. Inadequate retirement savings, growing income expectations of Social Security, longer life expectancies, and record amounts of people retiring are all influential factors.

At the center of it, many individuals are worried about if they will outlive their retirement funds. It’s a growing concern given changing trends. According to U.S. federal government data, the average life expectancy is 78.8 years. Thanks to innovations in healthcare and technology, the human lifespan is longer than it’s ever been in history.

With opportunities for greater life longevity, how should people plan for the future? Read on to learn about some strategies you can adopt, whether you’re planning ahead or you’re currently in retirement.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States’ population in 2013 was almost 317 million people. Of that body, 14.1% were individuals aged 65 years and older. Women composed 50.8% of the population and men 49.2%.

There are more people reaching retirement age than ever. And retirement planning is a critical component of having a secure future. But planning for retirement is a different process for women than it is for men. Women have different concerns, needs, and goals, and these differences should be accounted for in their retirement blueprint.

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The 2008-2009 financial crisis was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And it had a tremendous impact on the retirement income landscape of America. In October 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a pre-recession, all-time high of 14,164.43. In March 2009, it had dropped to 6,594.00 – a severe decline of 53.4% in less than 18 months.

Other equity indexes reported similar declines. From December 2007 to December 2008, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 37%, resulting in retirement account losses of $2.8 trillion, or 32% of their value (Mauricio Soto, “How is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings?” Fact Sheet, Urban Institute 2008). With the stock market downturn, there was a corresponding impact on Americans' retirement accounts.

4 Ways to Botch Your Retirement Income Security

Financial security in retirement is a concern for many Americans. According to LIMRA, seven out of 10 retirees and pre-retirees name “having enough money to last their lifetime” as a top priority. LIMRA also reports 67% of retirees and pre-retirees say “remaining financially independent” is another retirement objective.

With these expectations, the importance of ensuring sufficient income for retirement can’t be overstated. But even with careful retirement planning, there are a number of pitfalls which could put income security at risk. Here’s a look at some challenges which may disrupt your financial security if they’re neglected.

Common Hazards for Retirement Income

Is Your Income Strategy on the Right Track

Is your retirement income plan well-suited to your financial needs and goals? Whether you’re creating a personalized strategy or examining one, it’s an important question to consider. After all, any income gaps or shortfalls could lead to real financial setbacks.

With that said, here are some markers you can use to evaluate your income strategy.

Evaluating Your Retirement Income Plan

How Does Income Planning Differ from Investment Planning

There are many decision-points leading up to retirement. Much of this process relates to financial planning. Should we wish to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, we must have sufficient income to support it. An effective retirement plan will lay out not only income goals we need to achieve, but also personalized strategies to sustain income security.

In earlier years, many of us focused on investment strategies to build up wealth. You may have worked with a financial advisor to find investments or investment packages with solid return potential over time. Or you may have engaged in investment planning yourself. However, retirement brings change, and this includes a shift in financial planning focus – an emphasis on planning for income.

Here’s a quick look at how income planning is different from investment planning – and why you may want to incorporate an income-focused retirement planning approach.

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