“Couples nearing retirement have to make key decisions about where and how to live, as well as how to ensure that any pension or annuity payments go to the survivor and how to maximize Social Security for both when one spouse is the bigger earner.

If you anticipate a retirement-income shortfall, working longer is often the best solution, not only because it bolsters your savings but also because it helps you delay taking Social Security. You’ll get an 8-percent boost in benefits for every year you delay past full retirement age, until age 70. And Social Security benefits adjust with inflation.

Trying to buy an annuity with similar benefits in today’s marketplace would be “extremely expensive,” says Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security.

If you’re planning to work longer anyway, try to switch to a job with a pension, advises Oakley. Rare in the private sector, traditional defined-benefit plans are still common at jobs in health care, education and public administration, and many vest after five years. Adding that income to other resources will go a lot further than trying to catch up on savings when you’re close to retirement, says Oakley.” – Chicago Tribune

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