"Retirees don't live on assets, they live on income."
- Tom Hegna
The day that you retire, you cross a very important threshold in your life. You no longer have earned, working income. You transition from a savings and accumulation phase of life into a spending and distribution phase. This creates a unique set of pressures and stresses that can threaten your nest egg.
Retirement income planning is, in our view, the most overlooked area in retirement planning today. While we all understand there are no absolute guarantees in life, planning for income security is at the foundation of a good retirement plan. Retirement income planning includes the following key areas:
- How much income can you draw from your investments today, while minimizing the risk of running out of money tomorrow?
- When should you draw Social Security benefits?
- How can you position your investments to provide for your income need?
- How do you protect your income against inflation?
- How can you create stable, increasing income that can last no matter how long you live?
Income Distribution Strategy
Most retirees, at some point, will need to draw income from their investments. Whether your need for additional income is immediate or in the future, structuring your investments to specifically provide for your income needs is crucial in the development of a successful retirement financial plan.
- How much income can you draw from your life’s savings?
- From which investments should you draw your income?
- How can time horizon and multi-bucket planning be used to provide greater income security both now and in the future?
- How should tax planning affect your income strategy?
- How much inflation protection do you need to protect your income later in life?
- How can you protect your income from bear markets and corrections?
- Understanding the complicated rules for Required Minimum Distributions from your retirement accounts
Social Security Election
Social Security is perhaps the most important election you’ll vote on in retirement. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to Social Security election. The best strategy for one retiree may be completely different for another.
The goal with Social Security is to devise a strategy that can provide for the highest cumulative Social Security benefits possible, while also providing income security if you live much longer than expected. Because you don’t know exactly when you will pass away, you should consider the following questions:
- Can you afford to delay benefits to age 70?
- Will delaying benefits cause too much stress on the nest egg you’ve accumulated?
- If you’re married, how might spousal benefit strategies affect your own filing election?
- Can you use spousal filing strategies to ensure richer benefits in the short term, while also allowing increased widow/widower benefits for the surviving spouse?
- How will tax planning affect your filing strategy?
- Will delaying benefits cause unnecessary exposure to Medicare cost increases, as you will not be protected from Medicare’s hold-harmless clause?
At Brogan Financial, we include Social Security strategy as a foundational component of your financial plan. If you’re already drawing Social Security benefits, we are sure to incorporate a full explanation of your future benefit structure into your retirement plan.