Six ways to stretch your retirement dollars

People often feel a financial responsibility to secure the future of loved ones and may be concerned about outliving savings.

Article highlights

  • Profit through downsizing
  • Adjust your withdrawals
  • Get a known lifetime income

They may have underestimated how much income they’ll need in retirement or failed to build an adequate cushion to protect themselves and their families from unexpected changes.
A financial advisor can help relieve some of the stress that comes with protecting your loved ones, with a plan that helps you get more out of your retirement money. There are also a few strategies you may not have considered before. 


Assess life insurance

As your life changes over time, you need to assess how you can protect your loved ones during each stage of life. Life insurance is one way to help with some of the responsibility of providing for and protecting your loved ones. As you near retirement, it’s important to re-assess your plan and adjust coverage if you need to. If you no longer have any financial dependents, you could consider lowering your life insurance coverage and redirecting any of your savings to help prepare for long-term care expenses. You may decide to keep the same level of coverage and use it as a potential source of supplemental retirement income or a way to help transfer your estate. Speak with an advisor to determine what insurance coverage you may need in retirement.

Profit through downsizing

Your home may be a place where you’ve built family memories over the years, but it can also be a valuable asset when it comes to your retirement. When you own a home, you’re sitting on a great deal of value that can be used to your advantage, especially if, like many retirees, your kids have moved out and you have more space than you need. If you sell your home and downsize to a less expensive residence, you can reinvest the profits from that sale to create an additional income source. Profiting from the sale of a home can make you liable for capital gains and recapture taxes, but there are ways to limit your exposure, such as putting the money toward an investment property.

Make Social Security work harder for you

Social Security offers a base amount of income you can’t outlive—and is one way to supplement your retirement savings. There are many ways to maximize how much you're getting from Social Security.


Waiting beyond your full retirement age (between 66 and 67 for most workers) could increase your benefits by nearly 8 percent, on top of any cost of living adjustments.1


When both spouses are over age 62 and one claims retirement benefits, the other can claim the spousal retirement benefit, which may be higher-paying than their own benefits.

A financial advisor can help you determine when is the best time to begin collecting Social Security for your retirement income plan.

Adjust your withdrawals

Periodically check in on your retirement savings and make adjustments along the way. Over time, your investment portfolio might outperform despite lower projections or you might need to spend more sometimes due to unanticipated expenses. Instead of using a set number, be ready to make frequent, gradual adjustments to your withdrawal rate to meet your needs for the year.

Buy against inflation

Inflation can be a major source of trouble for retirees because it drives down the real value of savings and reduces purchasing power — an effect that’s exacerbated by higher rates of inflation in certain categories, like health care, a high-spend area for retirees. Fortunately, there are certain types of financial products to help mitigate theses effects that are adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index and increase in value to offset inflation. Similarly, some annuities are adjusted for inflation, so your retirement income can sustain the rising cost of living.

Get a known lifetime income

As you evaluate your retirement goals, do they help you maintain your lifestyle in retirement? An annuity can help take some of the uncertainty out of the future; it gives you the power of having known lifetime income. Consult a financial advisor to develop a strong income strategy so that you can have a known source of dependable income throughout your retirement.
Through a combination of careful planning, proper financial guidance, and some creative approaches to saving, you can build a retirement that helps support both you and the people for whom you are responsible. 
Speak with a financial advisor about your retirement income plan and learn how solutions from Lincoln can help address your future needs.

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1“Your full retirement age is 66.” Delayed Retirement: If You Were Born Between 1943 And 1954. Social Security Administration. Accessed on March 13, 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.