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Are you worrying about retirement?

Many retirees today worry about having enough money for their retirement.  Of special concern is if there will be enough money to provide for the surviving spouse.  This is called “shortfall risk,” and it is a valid concern.

People are living longer and health care costs continue rising, especially long-term care which many seniors will need. In addition, the recent recession has given us setbacks in investments and record low interest rates.  When combined, these issues can have a serious effect on retirement savings and projected income.

But there are some things you can do now to help manage your shortfall risk and protect your assets.

Photographic head shot. Living trusts are usually better than wills and can help some stop worrying about retirement.  Licensed image.

Specialists Can Help You Stop Worrying About Retirement


A retirement specialist can help you determine the best strategy for taking distributions from an IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts; the tax implications involved; how to continue to grow your savings; when to start taking Social Security benefits; and how to plan for out-of-pocket medical and long-term care costs.

An estate planning attorney can help you shield your family and your assets from probate court interference at incapacity and death, unintended heirs, unnecessary taxes and lawsuits.

Other specialists can be brought in as needed, for example when life insurance is used to provide an inheritance for a child who does not work in the family business.

Easy Steps You and Yours Advisors Can Take

The financial advisor who helped you grow your retirement nest egg may not be the best choice to help you determine how to take your money out.  Likewise, your family attorney is probably not the best choice to do your estate plan.  An innocent error by a well-meaning but inexperienced advisor can result in a costly and often irreversible mistake.


1. Be open to new products and strategies that you may not have considered in the past.  For example, consider trusts combined with investments and property to manage the conflicting demands of income, spending, taxes, distributions, and transfers.

2. Explore new long-term care options from insurance companies.

These include:

  • Delay taking Social Security benefits. If you delay benefits until age 70 and live past age 79, your lifetime income will be more than if you start taking benefits at Full Retirement Age (66-67);
  • Asset-based long-term care (a single deposit premium; if not needed for long-term care, the benefit amount is paid tax-free to your beneficiary);
  • Life insurance accelerated death benefit (allows you to access the death benefit before you die for long-term care expenses);
  • Home health care doublers (a guaranteed lifetime income contract that doubles your income for up to five years if you need long-term care).

3. A revocable living trust will avoid court interference at both incapacity and death.  It will also avoid probate fees and related costs, and protect your assets for your loved ones.   It is also confidential, unlike a probate proceeding.  This is why more people prefer a living trust over a will.  Remember– wills get probated.


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Photographic image of a woman (foreground) and man (background, slightly blurry). They appear to be a couple. She appears to be upset with her arms crossed. He appears to be upset, as well. The question is-- what happens to the estate plan of a married couple if they should divorce? Image used with permission via license.