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Introducing the Social Security Claiming Decision

For the vast majority of Americans, Social Security benefits serve as the core of a retirement income strategy. As a government-backed, inflation-adjusted monthly income for life, Social Security benefits help to manage longevity risk, inflation risk, and market risk.

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A Brief History of Social Security

Recipients of Social Security benefits today are not just retirees – they’re disabled workers, spouses and young children of deceased or disabled workers, and the spouses and survivors of retirees. This was not always the case.

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What Does Retirement Mean?

Retirement has changed. It’s no longer about getting your gold watch and playing golf all the time. Retirement is now a frame of mind – you’re retired when you can do what you want. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to with whether you are drawing a paycheck or not. Retirement is the freedom to decide what you want to do. At the same time, retirement has also gotten longer. You could very well be looking at a retirement that lasts 30 years or more, making retirement even harder to plan for than it was before.

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Total Return vs Income Investing: Same, but Different

Retirees can take 2 main approaches to spending from portfolios. 1) Focus on income and dividends produced in the portfolio, a.k.a. “income investing.” 2) Sell assets as appropriate to meet spending needs. For your portfolio, they’re basically the same thing. But, from your point of view, you should be aware of one difference: focusing on income investing can make your portfolio less diversified.

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Annuity Pricing 102

In today’s scenario, we’ll see what happens to the price of an annuity if:
1. We guarantee income will be provided for at least 10 years, regardless of whether the annuitant lives.
2. We provide a cash refund if the annuitant dies before at least receiving their full principal payment.
3. We include a cost-of-living adjustment for annuity payments.

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Income Annuity 101

How are different types of annuities priced? It’s not as hard as you might think, as the basic recipe requires just three ingredients:

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Retirement Income Strategies with Annuities

Income annuities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can be overwhelming to know which one makes the most sense for your situation. In this column, I explore how income annuities work and what options are available.

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Travel in Retirement:

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