Your Insurance Matters: How long will my money last?

Your Insurance Matters
How long will my money last?
By Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU

How long will my money last? Do I need an annuity? Millions of Americans are asking themselves these questions. Some of these people are approaching retirement age. Others are already retired or are hoping to retire.
Yet, to this day, there aren't many places to find reliable answers to these questions!
Yes, you can consult advisers or go on the internet for the usual "retirement calculators". But what are you really getting most of the time? Guesses. Forecasts of your financial future. Based on financial and design assumptions.
Did you know that much of the time, these standard retirement plan outcomes will fail?
At the very least, keep in mind that projections and other information generated by most retirement calculators are theoretical and not necessarily realistic at all!
They don't reflect actual results. They aren't guarantees of future results. They are projections. Projections can't predict every possible event that could influence your financial situation!
Furthermore, retirement financial needs and goals change over time. Even small changes in the input of these calculations will affect outcomes.
As we've discussed in prior columns, three major risks in retirement include: longevity risk (living too long - outliving your savings); market risk (investment losses due to market downturns); and inflation risk (loss of purchasing power and standard of living).
The Middle Class Task Force has recently recommended annuities as an effective way to reduce or shift these risks.
The need for lifetime income is now greater than ever. Social Security covers only a small fraction of most people's living expenses. For an average retired couple, there is a one in four chance that one partner will live to age 97!
Yet, fewer people retire with pensions. And many retired people who had planned to fill their income gap with savings have just lost some of those savings in the recent market crises.
Not all annuities are the same. There are many choices and options to consider.
Call your independent insurance professional to help you shop for the best solutions for your situation.
Annuity payout rates can vary from one insurer to another. Even with one carrier, the payout for the same premium can change from day to day or week to week due to economic conditions.
With some annuities, you can actually collect more every year than you could on your own if you followed typical withdrawal wisdom.
A monthly check that arrives like clockwork can help add some peace of mind while filling income gaps.
If you have any doubts about whether people can really run out of money, check out news stories about people in their 90's and even older. Many, if not most, have no savings left at all, according to a recent U. S. News and World Report story. Unfortunately, most of us also know of someone who has pretty quickly exhausted an inheritance, a court settlement, a lottery win, or the proceeds of a house sale.

Since 1982, Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU has been providing independent retirement and insurance services to individuals, corporations, and non-profits. Contact her at (301) 791-9427 or (800) 628-3449. Her email is The website is