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“Many people who carefully plan for their income needs in retirement do so based upon a fixed retirement horizon of average life expectancy and thus might give short shrift to the significant probability of living longer.” – American Association of Actuaries
Blues legend Albert King once observed, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” In our COVID 21st century world, it might be more accurate to say, “Everybody wants to live a long time, but no one wants to know how much that might cost.”
Many people say they want longevity. And why wouldn’t they? Living longer is an attractive proposition if a person is in good health and has created reliable income streams for retirement.
Approximately half the United States population will live longer than the average life span. Unfortunately, many of those people are ill-prepared for the consequences associated with longer life.
In 2013, the math nerds over at the American Association of Actuaries published a report entitled “Risky Business: Living Longer Without Income for Life” (https://www.actuary.org/sites/default/files/files/Risky-Business_Discussion-Paper_June_2013.pdf) that outlined just some of the risks associated with living too long.
The report outlined some of the most obvious risks of living too long without adequate planning. These risks include:
Longevity risk is a tough thing for most of us to contemplate. However, failing to understand and prepare for this risk is not an option if you want to create a profitable and stress-free retirement.
What can you do, then, to protect yourself against longevity risk? Well, first and foremost, you insure your retirement.
You purchase life insurance to protect against a breadwinner’s income loss. You wouldn’t think of owning a house without homeowner’s insurance. Why would you ignore the risk of outliving your money and not insure against longevity risk?
So, what constitutes “insurance” against living too long?
Cash-value life insurance gets a lot of negative press—most of that negativity surrounding how that product is sold. Often, salespeople (vs. trained insurance advisors) push permanent life insurance as an investment rather than a means of protecting and preserving wealth and creating a legacy. They have specially designed, dividend-paying whole life insurance with a guaranteed death benefit.
The guaranteed death benefit aspect of these policies gives you some breathing room to spend your principal without worrying about leaving your spouse destitute. The death benefit provides for the replacement of any principal you deplete. For example, say you purchased a $1 million guaranteed permanent life insurance policy. Upon your death, your spouse would have the money replaced by the insurance policy. You could spend $1 million of your other assets.
Annuities help ensure you have income in retirement.
Another way to protect your income in retirement is to purchase an annuity. If you bought a $1 million annuity when you were between 65-70, that annuity would pay out somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000 for as long as you live. If you die earlier than expected, your spouse gets a death benefit.
Annuities are a great way to ensure your retirement because if you live a longer life than expected, you will get back more benefits than you paid in premiums. As with most income protection products, there are many more types of annuities than there were in the past. Each of them can solve a particular problem in retirement. You need to consult a specialist in these products to discover suitable for your unique circumstances.
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