Delay Taking Social Security, Add Annuity to Survive Retirement, GAO Says

Retirees may have to delay Social Security benefits and buy an annuity to have enough money for retirement, said a U.S. government study.

“The risk that retirees will outlive their assets is a growing challenge,” according to a study from the Government Accountability Office released today. Increased life expectancies and health-care costs coupled with declines in financial markets and home equity over the last few years have “intensified” workers’ concerns about how to manage their savings in retirement, the report said.

Annuities are insurance contracts that can offer a steady stream of income for life. High-income households generally don’t need them, according to experts the GAO consulted. Middle- income households, defined in the study as having a net worth of about $350,000 including their homes, that don’t have traditional pensions should consider using a portion of their savings to purchase an inflation-adjusted annuity, the study said. Lower-income families need to accumulate some cash savings first.

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