The White House Conference on Aging’s recent report highlighted the need for guaranteed retirement income, which I wrote about earlier this week in “White House Conference on Aging Recognizes Value of Income Annuities for Retirement Security.” So I’m very pleased to see all the latest articles reporting on that need.

Gray Divorce Boosts Poverty Level for Women

The author of this article, Mary Beth Franklin, is an expert on Social Security matters and appeared on a panel I organized a few years back.

While I can’t disagree with her analysis, I have a slightly different view about the fairness in changing these special claiming elections.

Personally, I don’t believe that the special claiming elections only should have been available for beneficiaries who knew to ask. It should have been Social Security’s responsibility to offer the best option.

As regards the impact of divorce generally on finances, it simply points out the need to be educated and to consider all options no matter what the life-changing event you experience might be. (I wrote about that recently in my post on “Help for Life-Changing Events.”)

How to hike your guaranteed lifetime retirement income

I agree that one of the most difficult retirement planning challenges is dealing with the uncertainty of how long you might live.

Most retirement plans take a retiree to life expectancy or a little bit longer. By doing that up to 50% of retirees who live beyond life expectancy may be in jeopardy because they haven’t anticipated the medical, home health and long term care costs that occur late in retirement.

If your plan takes you to age 85 and unfortunately you die prior to 85, hopefully, your retirement income plan worked out. However, if you live to age 92 after only planning to age 85, you’ve got 7 years of extra expenses that aren’t planned for financially.

This recent downturn in the market also points out the risks of relying on a withdrawal strategy to generate your retirement cash flow. Drawing down the money you have in savings is rarely a good idea, but it hurts even more in the face of falling market values. The downturn in the market also reminds us that even with the best intentions to convert your savings to guaranteed income, you need to plan ahead for future purchases, or you might find out that the capital you planned on deploying is less than you expected.