How to Reevaluate Your Finances Later in Life

According to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers, many Americans are in the so-called “middle market” of retirees, with somewhere between $100,000 and $1 million saved for retirement. The data also reveals that roughly half of Americans aged 55 or older have less than $100,000 in retirement savings, which is not enough for a traditional retirement.

Some financial experts are now recommending that those Americans in the middle market annuitize a portion of their retirement savings. For the half who are under the $100,000 mark, Social Security may be a good retirement income generator. This benefit is essentially an annuity as well. You pay into it now (via tax deductions); you get a stream of income upon retirement. Middle-market retirees can also optimize Social Security before looking to private-market annuities for supplemental income. But what happens if Social Security isn’t enough?

That’s where annuities come in. Most Americans who are saving for retirement do not work with financial advisors, and few defined-contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, provide options for converting balances into periodic income upon retirement.

When you purchase an annuity by giving a life insurance company a lump-sum payment, the life insurance company provides you with reliable retirement income, for life, if you wish. Annuities protect you from a number of risks, including the risk of market volatility and of outliving your savings.

One retirement savings strategy is to use Social Security benefits for the basics (mortgage or rent, transportation, utilities, and food) and use annuity income for the luxuries (entertainment, hobbies, and travel).

We can help you determine an optimal strategy for balancing Social Security benefits with the income from an annuity. The right strategy often depends on your current and anticipated income and taxes, your marital status, and your anticipated spending in retirement.

We can also help you select an annuity that best meets your needs. Annuities can be complicated, and the guidance of an expert can prove invaluable.