6 ways to stretch your retirement income: make your retirement savings last

3. Stagger your benefits

Multiple streams of retirement income are especially helpful if you can afford to stagger them over time. When it comes to Social Security, waiting can actually help you collect more per month. For example, if you plan to retire before age 66, (the full retirement age for Americans born between 1943 and 1954), you won’t receive the full amount possible. The reason comes down to timing.

According to the Social Security Administration, early disbursal of benefits reduces the permanent monthly amount paid. A 62-year-old would only receive 75% of their monthly benefit because they are collecting for 48 months before full retirement age. Similarly, a 65-year-old would only receive 93.3% of their monthly benefit to account for an additional 12 months of coverage. Because of this, it’s a good idea to talk with a financial planner about how to make the most of your investments and federal benefits.

4. Improve your quality of life

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average life expectancy in the U.S. between 2013 and 2014 was 78.8 years, a 1.4 year increase from 2003. In addition to taxes, it’s important to consider how a longer life expectancy will affect your post-retirement income. By improving how you live — like healthy eating, regular exercise and addressing any health concerns early — you will likely see financial benefits down the road.

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