retired couple lake

When planning how much money to save for retirement, there are certain factors people think of right away. Lifestyle is a big one—how much money do you need to maintain the lifestyle you’re accustomed to?

Health is another—are you relatively healthy, or is long-term care something you know you’ll need in the near future?

One thing that doesn’t always come to mind, however, is the influence of life expectancy. How long can you expect to live? This isn’t just an exercise in morbid thinking, but a vital part of the financial planning process. In financial language it translates to “How long will you need money?”

There are lots of different things you can do to help you with this part of your retirement planning. We’ve listed five things to consider below. (For even more, check out our post on How to Prepare for Retirement.)

Life expectancy calculators

If you want a general idea of how many years you should plan for, life expectancy calculators can be a good tool to use. Some are very basic, like the Social Security Administration’s life expectancy calculator—it uses just your birthday and gender to give you the average number of years a person like you is expected to live.

Others, like the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, are very in-depth and take into account things like health, personal habits, and other factors that have a big influence on life expectancy.
These can give you some idea of how long you should plan to have your retirement fund last you.

Delaying Social Security benefits

There are differing opinions about whether you should delay taking Social Security benefits past a certain age, but one thing that most people do agree on is that if you can, you should delay them at least for a few years. That’s because for every year that you delay your benefits past your full retirement age, you’ll increase your benefits by 8 percent plus inflation, according to Consumer Reports.

Those guaranteed monthly payments can be a helpful safety net if you end up really needing them. Because of that, it’s worth it to really consider whether you need to start collecting right away, or if you could stand to wait a few years.


Annuities, which provide regular payouts, are another retirement planning tool that are worth looking into. For example, many employer-sponsored retirement plans offer lump sum payouts or lifetime annuity payments. By electing the annuity payments, you give yourself guaranteed income for life.

Then there are life annuities, which can be purchased at or after retirement. With these products, you pay a lump sum and receive regular payments at a later date (often around age 85). Life annuities fall under the category of longevity insurance, which is just what it sounds like: insurance against living longer than you expected, when your savings may be depleted.

Living arrangements

In many cases, maintaining the house that you raised your family in becomes a burden once you hit age 70 or 75. Not only can it be a financial drain, it can also become physically too much to handle. As emotionally difficult as it may be to give up a home you lived most of your adult life in, sometimes it’s a good decision to make.

By selling a too-big home and moving to a smaller, less expensive house or condo, you can give yourself additional funds to use as you see fit. You could invest them, use them for healthcare costs, or just add them to your retirement savings account.

Another option for seniors who don’t want to keep up big houses anymore? Roommates. Believe it or not, seniors sharing homes (or a Golden Girls situation, as it’s been called) is a trend that’s on the rise. And for good reasons, too. Living in a group decreases living expenses, makes it possible to stay in a home that you love, and creates a sense of community, which is known to become even more important for health and happiness as people age.

Life settlements

For seniors with expensive life insurance policies and dwindling retirement funds, life settlements may be a way to open up an additional income stream. If you don’t need your policy anymore, or your premiums are unaffordable, consider selling your policy on the Secondary Market. It’s possible that you could get much more than the cash surrender value.

There are certain criteria for a policy to qualify for a life settlement. Health of the insured is taken into account, and the ideal policy is valued between $100,000 and $5 million, with a low cash value. You can see if your policy qualifies by taking Ashar’s seven-question quiz.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how much money you need to be comfortable for as long as you live, there are several things you can do to add to your retirement fund and gain guaranteed sources of income. If you think a life settlement might be part of your or your client’s longevity planning, contact Ashar Group today!