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The smart retirement move 42% of Americans plan to make

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The smart retirement move 42% of Americans plan to make
More than four in 10 Americans (42%) intend to downsize after leaving the labor force for good, according to this article from personal finance website Motley Fool, citing data from TD Ameritrade. Downsizing can be a smart financial move for many seniors, as it will enable them to save on housing costs while stretching the life of their savings. Moving to a smaller home also means reduced maintenance costs and property taxes. Those who are unable to downsize have the option of renting out a portion of their property to get income to help cover the expenses.

In these markets, where the median sales price is under $200,000, affordable homes are within reach.
May 7

The really surprising thing people get wrong in retirement — and how to overcome it
A study by Ameriprise Financial has found that 68% of retirees have made smaller withdrawals than the required minimum distributions from their 401(k)s and IRAs, according to this article from Money. Taking distributions can be complicated for these retirees, making them hesitant to withdraw from their retirement accounts, says an expert with Ameriprise. To gain confidence in tapping their nest egg, retirees are advised to create a budget, organize income and expenses into "buckets," hold money equivalent to at least 12 months of living expenses in short-term cash accounts and consider hiring a competent financial advisor.

Simpler variable annuities could play a big role in retirement planning
Changes making variable annuities simpler make the financial products an excellent option to be included in a person's retirement plan, writes a Forbes contributor. Variable annuities can provide flexibility and various advantages, such as growth potential, tax benefits and downside protection, but these products can also have downsides too, writes the expert. "It is crucial that variable annuities are viewed as long-term investments and not as short term tax or investment planning vehicles."

Five ways to improve 401(k)s
If Congress increased the default savings rate in 401(k) plan, it could help optimize the existing retirement system, according to this article on The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, the government could work toward increasing the number of workers who have access to the plans, limit leakage such as cash-outs and hardship withdrawals and provide ways for people to save for other needs aside from retirement. Another strategy to enhance 401(k)s is to automate distributions as a way of providing a lifetime stream of income for retirees.

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