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Saving for Retirement in Your 70s and Beyond

Make the most of your savings by managing your finances

Retirement planning doesn't stop when you retire. Even if you've followed a plan to save for retirement, it's equally important to have a plan throughout your retirement.

Revisit your withdrawal strategy

Whether you are already retired or still working, at this stage of your life, your tolerance for risk may have changed. You need to protect the value of your retirement savings, yet grow it enough to both outpace inflation and to provide enough income to cover your living expenses. One option is to work with a financial advisor to help assure you are on the right track.

Whether working with a financial advisor or managing your finances on your own, consider reviewing the following topics:

  • Withdrawal strategy. Create a plan to withdraw the right amount from the right retirement accounts to increase the likelihood that you don't outlive your savings. One common rule of thumb is to not withdraw more than 4% of your savings on an annual basis.
  • Investments. Review your investments and asset allocation strategy to ensure your plan aligns with your long-term goals. Your plan should cover the next 15 to 20 years.
  • Other sources of income. Consider the role that guaranteed income with annuities can play in your retirement income plan.

Make the most of your retirement income plan

Retirement can become a balancing act. You likely don't want to draw down your savings too quickly and be left with little to live on in your 80s or 90s. But you also may not want to spend your income too slowly, needlessly crimping your standard of living. How do you ensure you're taking on the right amount of risk while still growing your assets?

  • Consider income-producing securities. Immediate annuities, bonds, CDs, and stocks are typical income-producing investments. Consider consulting an investment, financial, tax, or legal advisor regarding your specific situation.
  • Review your asset allocation. Ensure your investment and asset allocation strategy is aligned with your goals.
  • Keep track of predictable sources of income. Know what is coming your way, such as Social Security benefits, pensions, and annuities.
  • Keep your withdrawal rate in mind. While you have little control over market volatility and inflation, you can help protect your retirement security by wisely managing how fast you are spending your savings.

Also consider:

  • Required minimum distribution. When you turn 70½, by April 1 of the following year, you must begin to take what are called required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your workplace retirement plan (unless you are still working) and traditional IRAs.
  • Consolidation. Consider consolidating multiple savings accounts into one retirement account. By simplifying your finances, you may be better able to track your assets and manage your spending.
  • Increasing your emergency fund. You may need to cover new expenses, particularly in the area of health care and long-term care.

Re-evaluate your estate needs

Design a plan that can protect you, your spouse, and your heirs no matter what life brings. A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your will up to date.
  • Update the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts.
  • Consider your options for how to distribute estate and the tax implications to your heirs.
  • Update your general and medical powers of attorney.
  • Plan for long-term care for yourself and your spouse.
  • Tell loved ones where you keep important documents.

To learn more, read our article on estate planning.