Today, Americans are living longer — and staying healthier. The average life expectancy is about 85 years, depending on current age and gender. One out of four 65-year-olds will live past 90.

That’s great news, but it also means retirement is lasting longer. You’ll need sufficient resources to fund the lifestyle you want for 20 or more years after you stop working. Learning about retirement income planning and savings plans is a great way to start planning for a source of retirement income. These suggestions can be used to help form a retirement plan for living longer.

Time it right

Because of longer life expectancies, sound financial choices — before and during retirement — are more essential than ever. Saving early and regularly is just one step. Not spending too much of your retirement savings too early or too quickly is another. For example, although you can withdraw from an Individual Retirement Account without penalties beginning at age 59 ½, you should consider whether that’s the best plan. If you are likely to live another quarter century, you may need to wait longer before withdrawing your funds.

Plan accordingly

Anticipating a long life means taking the long view in your retirement planning. Make retirement income projections that strike a balance between the risk of spending your funds too quickly (leaving yourself little to live on in later years) and spending them too slowly (unnecessarily reducing your retirement standard of living).

Ask the right questions

In addition to understanding your expected longevity, answering the following questions can bring clarity to your retirement income needs:

  • At what age do I want to retire?
  • When do I want to begin claiming any Social Security benefits for which I'm eligible?
  • What is my net worth? Do I have more assets and income than debt?
  • Are my invested assets properly allocated?
  • Are my investment expectations realistic?
  • Am I managing current debt wisely?
  • How will inflation impact my portfolio and ability to live the life I want in retirement?
  • What medical expenses, including long-term care, can I expect to encounter?

Answering these questions might require some research, but your reward will be greater peace of mind as you approach and enter retirement. A financial advisor can work with you to devise the best retirement planning strategy that accounts for your unique goals and needs.

Every step you take today to plan for a long life will help you enter retirement with that much more confidence. Given how many retirement years you’re likely to have, it’s time well-spent.

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