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December 21, 2011

How to cope with the 'Threat of Longevity'

(Continued)

Delay taking Social Security. As the laws now stand, you can start taking Social Security as young as 62, but your monthly checks will be bigger when you reach your "full" retirement age. You'll get your biggest monthly Social Security checks if you wait until age 70, when they "max out," but many people feel that waiting that long may not be worth it, when weighing the lost years of any payments against the unknown variable of life expectancy.

Calculate your "withdrawal rate." Once you retire, it's essential that you know how much can withdraw each year from your investments without running out of money. Your withdrawal rate depends on a variety of factors, including your age, size of portfolio, risk tolerance and retirement lifestyle. A financial professional can help you calculate your initial withdrawal rate and adjust it as time goes on.

The possibility of outliving your resources is not a pleasant thought. But by taking the steps described above, as well as others, you can go a long way toward taking the fear out of longevity, leaving you free to fully enjoy an active retirement.

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Michael Quinn is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, 25 Railroad Square, Suite 201, Haverhill. You can reach him at 978-372-4853. To comment on this column, visit hgazette.com.

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