6 tips for turning your assets into income

As you get closer to retirement, you’ll have plenty of decisions to make. One of the most important is how to turn your assets into the income you’ll use throughout your retirement. Below are six tips to help you get started on developing your own income strategy.

1. Change your mindset

When we think about saving for retirement, most of us think about the end goal – the total dollar amount we’ll need, the lump sum. Before you retire, you’ll want to figure out how much of that amount you’ll be able to use each month or each year. This will help you in thinking of your retirement in terms of an income stream and not just a dollar amount.

2. Consider all your income sources

Your retirement plan may not be your only source of retirement income. When you’re figuring out how much income you’ll have once you’re retired, be sure to include pensions, Social Security payments, and other investments or savings in your calculations. You can find out how much you’ll get from Social Security by visiting www.ssa.gov.

3. Think about the best time to start taking income

Most retirement plans won’t allow you to take withdrawals before age 59-1/2 without incurring penalties, but also require that you start taking income by age 70-1/2. Social Security payments increase the longer you wait, but only up to a certain point. You may want to talk to your financial professional to make sure you’ll be able to make the most of your money and benefits - while still meeting your needs.

4. Remember taxes

If you are contributing to a traditional retirement plan right now, you’re putting money into your account pre-tax. That means, you’ll have to pay taxes on both the contributions and any earnings when you withdraw the money. On the other hand, if your contributions go into a Roth account, any money you withdraw at retirement will be tax-free, since you already paid the taxes on it. Keep that in mind as you develop your income strategy.

5. Understand your withdrawal options

When you’re ready to withdraw money from a retirement account, you have a number of options to choose from:

  • Fixed dollar amount 
    You withdraw the same amount of money each month, quarter, or year.
  • Fixed percentage 
    You take out the same percentage of your portfolio each time, so your income will depend on how much you have in your account.
  • Investment earnings only
    You take out only what your account has earned in the last month, quarter, or year. This leaves your principal untouched.

6. Calculate how much income you’ll have.

If you’re a client with Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company, use our Retirement calculator to see what your exact retirement income will be, based on your current contributions. You can also make different changes – such as increasing your contributions – to see how that would affect your future income. Not a client? You can still use our Retirement calculator and fill out what you know. We’ll give you a good estimate of how much income you’ll have.

If you need help developing a retirement income strategy that fits your specific needs, always contact your financial professional. He or she is happy to work with you to ensure that you can look forward to retirement with confidence.

Important Note: Equitable believes that education is a key step toward addressing your financial goals, and we’ve designed this material to serve simply as an informational and educational resource. Accordingly, this article does not offer or constitute investment advice and makes no direct or indirect recommendation of any particular product or of the appropriateness of any particular investment-related option. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal invested.  Your needs, goals and circumstances are unique, and they require the individualized attention of your financial professional. But for now, take some time just to learn more.

This article is provided for your informational purposes only. Please be advised that this document is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this document is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (New York, NY) issues life insurance and annuity products. Securities offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC. Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company and Equitable Advisors are affiliated and do not provide tax or legal advice.

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GE- 134407 (03/2018) (Exp. 03/2020)