Today, only about one-third of America’s retirees have a pension plan, which is quite different from the reliability of employer-sponsored retirement income of the past. In fact, pensions used to represent one-third of the three-legged stool that represented a confident retirement, in combination with Social Security benefits and personal savings and investments.
Employees who don’t have a pension plan may have a defined contribution plan through work, such as a 401(k), 457 or 403(b) plan. Employers gradually have been transitioning their retirement plans from defined benefit to defined contribution as a cost-cutting measure. Yet according to research conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, today’s employer-sponsored retirement plans are not providing as much income as in the past. Moreover, the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans appears to offer more advantages to employees who have a higher education and higher earnings.
The reason traditional pensions offer better retirement income protection is that they typically are guaranteed to last for life. However, providing guaranteed lifelong income is an expensive benefit for companies to provide, particularly now that retirees are living longer. But without a pension, the responsibility of providing for retirement income falls more to the individual.
One way for individuals to create steady and reliable retirement income is to use a portion of their accumulated 401(k) or other retirement plan assets to purchase an annuity, which also offers income for life guaranteed by the issuing insurance company. A second form of retirement income comes in Social Security benefits.
Combining an annuity with the rest of their retirement savings and investments, as well as Social Security benefits, can help individuals work toward their retirement income goals. We are happy to discuss your options for guaranteed income in retirement. Give us a call, and we can talk about whether an annuity may be appropriate for you.
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