6 Tips to Make Your Retirement Stash Last

These strategies will help your retirement savings last throughout your lifetime.


One of the worst situations to be in during retirement is running out of the money you've set aside for your golden years. Making your retirement fund last should be one of your top retirement planning priorities.

However, not many of us have enough saved to be super conservative with our investments. So, we are left to deal with market volatility and must trust that we will be rewarded for taking on additional risk as long as it makes sense for our age. Our investment portfolio must also be dynamic. We will need to adjust to our constantly changing financial picture post-career. Here are six things you can do to give your retirement funds a much better chance at lasting throughout your lifetime.

[See 10 Places to Buy a Retirement Home for Under $100,000.]

Take less out after a bad year. This sounds obvious and simple, but it's not always easy to do. You have to be willing to make temporary sacrifices so that your investments have a chance to recover in value. You also need to avoid making hasty and emotional decisions when you can least afford to do so. Decide ahead of time whether you will give up inflation adjustments after a bad year or flat out reduce the percentage of your assets that you will withdraw.

Take more from the best performing assets. You will likely hold a diversified range of assets in retirement. It is likely that some of what you own will perform well in certain years, while other investments will do better in other years. One way to help make your retirement assets last is to withdraw what you need from the assets that are performing well. This way, you are naturally selling high.

[See 6 Little-Known 401(k) Perks.]

Have a plan. With the exception of cutting withdrawal rates in years when your investments perform poorly, don’t otherwise overreact to stock market swings. Some people get out of the markets at the worst possible time. And during retirement, you are the most vulnerable because your assets are at their highest point and your income is at its lowest. A well thought out retirement plan can help keep you calm so that you don't act irrationally in times of short-term crisis. Create a plan ahead of time so you can go back to read it and realize that the recent market downturn has already been taken into account years in advance.

Work on side income. With the help of the Internet, many people are making side income working from home. This is perfect for people who are retired because you don’t have to commute. Also, no one will know how old you are, and thus there is no age discrimination.

Climb the corporate ladder now. Work hard and do what you can to advance your career. Not only will you have more money to save, but both you and your employer will also pay more Social Security taxes on your behalf, boosting your future Social Security checks.

[See 401(k) Withdrawal Mistakes to Avoid.]

Check out annuities. It's hard to recommend annuities based on projected returns. But there’s a certain amount of security that comes with knowing that you will get a check every month no matter what happens. Having Social Security and an annuity that covers a significant portion of your living expenses will free you from having to worry about stock market volatility in retirement. And that can be worth much more than striving to maximize your investment returns.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.