How Much Retirement Income Should Come From Savings?

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans’ personal savings rates are about half of the amount they once were. For the past few years, the personal savings rate has hovered around 5 percent, but that’s still significantly lower than the savings rate from 1950-2000, which averaged 9.8 percent.1

For many retirees, a big concern during retirement is running out of money. So how can you help make your retirement savings last? We help clients create individual financial strategies using insurance and investment products — and the strategy isn’t the same for everyone. For some, it may be maintaining an annual withdrawal rate of between 4 to 5 percent from their investments.2 For others, it might make sense to consider working full-time longer, taking a part-time job during retirement or even repositioning a portion of assets into an annuity that can provide income guaranteed by the issuing insurance company.

However, each of these strategies comes with advantages and drawbacks that could affect long-term financial goals. That’s why we work closely with each client to customize a retirement income strategy based on their specific financial situation.

Fewer retirees have a pension plan to help fund their retirement, which can mean personal savings — ranging from an investment portfolio to IRAs to company 401(k) plans — may now be a primary source for retirement income.

Social Security provides 34 to 40 percent of retirement income for the average retiree,3 and that share is higher for elderly unmarried women; nearly half of this demographic relies on Social Security benefits to provide 90 percent or more of their income.4

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently conducted a study to find out just how much Americans may need to rely on 401(k) plans for retirement income. Here are the results:5

  • Low-income households: 25%
  • Middle-income households: 32%
  • High-income homes: 47%

While those are general numbers, it’s important to point out that, overall, women are 80 percent more likely to live in poverty during retirement than men. There’s a big combination of factors that cause this, including lower pay, time out of the workforce for caregiving and the fact that women tend to live longer. Other ancillary variables can make the situation worse, such as divorce, loss of spouse and being forced to retire due to poor health.6

One way individuals are shoring up their savings is by working longer. If you plan to continue working full-time or part-time in retirement, you won’t be alone. As of May 2016, there are approximately 9 million U.S. employees who are 65 and older.7

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications

1 NerdWallet. Aug. 16, 2017. “Average American Saves Less Than 5%; See How You Stack Up.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/american-personal-saving-rate/. Accessed Aug. 21, 2017.

2 Fidelity. June 5, 2017. “How can I make my savings last?” https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/how-long-will-savings-last. Accessed July 13, 2017.

3 American College of Financial Services. Dec. 28, 2016. “How much of your client’s retirement income should come from a 401(k)?” http://knowledge.theamericancollege.edu/blog/how-much-of-your-clients-retirement-income-should-be-from-a-401k. Accessed July 13, 2017.

4 Anna-Louise Jackson. NerdWallet. March 31, 2017. “3 Ways Women Can Bridge the Retirement Gap.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/3-ways-women-can-bridge-the-retirement-gap/?trk=nw-wire_305_375718_26766. Accessed July 13, 2017.

5 American College of Financial Services. Dec. 28, 2016. “How much of your client’s retirement income should come from a 401(k)?” http://knowledge.theamericancollege.edu/blog/how-much-of-your-clients-retirement-income-should-be-from-a-401k. Accessed July 13, 2017.

6 PBS Newshour. July 10, 2016. “Women more likely than men to face poverty during retirement”. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/women-more-likely-than-men-to-face-poverty-during-retirement/. Accessed August 21, 2017.

7 NerdWallet. Aug. 16, 2017. “Average American Saves Less Than 5%; See How You Stack Up.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/american-personal-saving-rate/. Accessed Aug. 21, 2017.

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