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Most failed the retirement quiz, but here’s how to pass

Three in four retirement-age Americans failed the RICP

Three in four retirement-age Americans failed the RICP Retirement Income Literacy Survey quiz on making nest eggs last. Credit: American College of Financial Services

If you’re lucky, you will get old. What then?

Apparently too few people are asking the question and even fewer have answers. The new RICP Retirement Income Literacy Survey from the American College of Financial Services, which polled 1,244 people ages 60 to 75 with at least $100,000 in household assets, found three in four retirement-age Americans fail a quiz on how to make their nest eggs last throughout retirement.

Here’s a cheat sheet on how to stretch your money:

  • Delay taking Social Security. Although you can take Social Security at 62, you don’t have to. Every year you delay taking it, the benefit grows about 8 percent. For example, by delaying from age 68 to 70, your monthly amount could be $2,900 at 70 versus $2,500 at 68. “This leads to an annual increase in benefits of $4,800,” says Paul Sowell, senior wealth planner for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Manhattan.
  • Make tough adjustments. “Stop supporting your adult children. It will hurt your retirement portfolio in the long run,” says Andy Stern, managing partner of YorkBridge Wealth Partners in Bridgehampton.

Another painful but necessary move may be getting rid of that big, yet empty house. “Consider downsizing your home,” says Stern. Some of the proceeds of the sale can be invested or used to bolster emergency savings.

  • Ease into retirement. Says Lou Cannataro of Cannataro Park Avenue Financial in Manhattan, “Consider working part time for the first few years. This takes pressure off your assets in the early years, builds a cushion and possibly room for additional spending later.”

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