According to the Feb. 4 CBS Money Watch article titled “Why Traditional Retirement Is Dead“, traditional retirement plans are irrelevant. Writer Steve Vernon said that unfortunately people are no longer able to retire in their sixties due to lack of income from debt, decreases in Social Security benefits and medical bills.

Sure, “traditional” retirement is “dead”, but only in the sense that “each generation creates its own definition of security”, as a colleague of mine once said. Getting the gold watch at the company lunch, and then retiring to a warmer climate to play golf or whatever, with the security of lifetime benefits from the company pension plan and Social Security, along with personal retirement savings that hopefully fill in the rest may no longer be the norm. While today’s and tomorrow’s retirees may have more lifestyle choices, they also have to do a better job of “to and through” retirement planning.

The article lists medical expenses as one of the main costs during retirement, and that approximately 50 percent of retirees said they stopped working due to medical issues or disabilities. Vernon noted that a 65-year-old couple would need $240,000 in the bank to pay for health expenses during retirement, according to a report from Fidelity Investments.

While health expenses are one of the main expenses retirees have to worry about when entering retirement, the key to a successful retirement is to do the best job possible in generating the largest amount of dependable, spendable income from all of your retirement savings. While you don’t control markets you do control a number of factors, such as (i) making smart Social Security claiming decisions; (ii) lowering fees and deferring taxes on all of your personal savings; and (iii) purchasing guaranteed income. The “purchasing guaranteed income” is the important part, and done properly could in some ways replicate the “traditional” employer pension plan’s income for life as your own “personal pension plan.”

That’s why we have developed a retirement planning method called Savings2Income (S2I) – to provide a clear path to retirement security for those saving for retirement, soon to retire, and recently retired. S2I incorporates Rollover IRA savings, personal retirement savings held outside an IRA or 401(k) plan and Social Security into an integrated solution to provide results in total similar to what a “traditional” plan typically provided.

As Mark Twain is reported to have cabled from London after his obit was published, “The reports of my death greatly exaggerated.” The same could be said for “traditional retirement”.