Is your retirement strategy ready to retire?

You want to set yourself up for a retirement that you can enjoy with your loved ones. Once you reach the final decade before retirement, you might be wondering if you’re ready to cross the finish line. 

Article highlights

  • Build up savings
  • Plan for lifetime distribution
  • Reassess protection

In fact, the transition between the accumulation phase and the distribution phase of your retirement plan can be pretty tricky. You’re not alone—financial advisors can help you plan for the future you and your loved ones envision.

Here are a few items to cross off your checklist before you reach this major retirement milestone.


1. Maximize your contributions

You have just a few years left to save enough for the retirement of your dreams. If you're worried that you may be behind, ramp up your savings before it's too late. Those, age 50 or older, can contribute an extra $1,000 to an IRA each year, on top of the regular contribution limit of $5,500 in 2017.  And you can save much more in a 401(k)—up to $24,500, the 2018 maximum of $18,500 a year, plus another $6,000 a year if you’re at least 50 years old.1

Need help maxing out your savings? Reduce your budget by 15 to 25 percent—not only is this great practice for adopting a retirement budget, but the extra savings can help you increase your funds for retirement.2 

2. Make your liquidation plan

After so many years of saving, switching over to withdrawing might be scary. You want to be sure you do it just right, in the most tax-efficient way as possible. After all, you’ve worked so hard to build this future for your family; it’d be a shame to misuse any of your retirement savings by drawing down your accounts in the wrong order. When you’re ready to retire, you need to decide when to drawdown your retirement savings and by how much.  While there is a specific way to distribute your retirement income, it can vary greatly from person to person based on what types of accounts you have, how much money you need each month, what you hope to accomplish with your wealth and other factors. How you liquidate your assets will not only affect your taxes, but also how long they last. Working with a financial advisor can help you determine and execute the best liquidation plan for you and your loved ones. 

3. Consider how best to make your money last

You may be nearing retirement, but you’ve still got a lot of living to do. In fact, a 65-year-old man today can expect to live past age 84, and a 65-year-old woman is likely to make it another couple years beyond that.3  Plus, plenty of people may beat those averages: Of today’s 65-year-olds, one out of every four is expected to reach age 90, and one out of 10 will hit 95. 

Of course, celebrating more and more birthdays can be very happy news. But it can also be a big stressor when it comes to your savings. Around 68 percent of retirees (PDF) report being concerned about whether they’ll have enough money to last throughout retirement. To cope with this longevity risk, you need to have a plan in place that can stretch your retirement savings across a potentially very long life. A financial professional can help you see how an annuity could help you diversify your income strategy providing you with a known source of income for life.  

4. Rethink your life insurance

You may not realize it, but life insurance can play a big role in your retirement plan. Not only could it help support your spouse and other dependents financially if you were to die; the right policy might also work to supplement your retirement income. The preferential tax treatment of life insurance can also be an attractive feature. Talk to your financial advisor about which type of life insurance makes sense for your retirement plan. 

Retirement should be a time where you have peace of mind that you and your loved ones can maintain a lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to build.

Learn how long you'll need your savings to last, and speak with a financial advisor to how Lincoln can help you meet your retirement needs.


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1Calhoun, Carol. "Maximum benefits and Contributions Limits for 2013 to 2018." November 27, 2017. 

2Pant, Paula. “The 50/30/20 Rule of Thumb for Budgeting.” The Balance. March 21, 2017.

3“Calculators: Life Expectancy.” Social Security Administration. Accessed August 17, 2017.

This material is provided by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and, in New York, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, Syracuse, NY and their applicable affiliates (collectively referred to as "Lincoln"). This material is for use general use with the public. Lincoln does not provide investment advice, and this material is not intended to provide investment advice. Lincoln has financial interests that are served by the sale of Lincoln programs, products and services.