The Three Stages of Retirement Income Planning

By estate planning attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law.  Law Elder Law is a multi-generational firm serving seniors and their families in the heart of Kane County in Illinois.

Diamonds are valuable, but you can’t eat them. Assets have the same problem. If you need income, you must change assets into income streams.

Most of our clients are in their 50s and 60s. Overall, they have economic success, which ranges from the comfortable to the very fortunate. Most have spent their entire adult lives creating assets such as 401(k); pensions; IRAs; real estate; brokerage accounts; business accounts; residences; vacation homes; farms and more. Despite their impressive investments and commendable frugality, very few have the foggiest idea how to transition from asset building to income stream creation.

We look at retirement income planning as a collaborative process with a client. Often the hardest part is just to get the client to actually define their monthly budget target number. That number is the net dollars needed or wanted per month to pay their basic bills and any lifestyle expenses. Any money over the basic bills and lifestyle expenses is what we categorize as excess, which a client can then opt to use for planning for charities, luxuries and legacy.

We break healthy retirement income planning into three stages.

  1. Years one and two, when your income sources are your social security, pensions, and direct withdrawals from liquid savings.
  2. Years three through ten, when the biggest problem for seniors is achieving adequate growth while they are systemically withdrawing income or consuming principle.
  3. Years ten to infinity, which we call the golden years of retirement. The golden years can easily exceed thirty years when doing a couple’s retirement plans. They need to think about two different categories of inflation. There is systemic economic inflation and senior healthcare cost inflation.

As estate planning attorneys, we help clients develop a “smart plan” for the tax-free transfer of some of their wealth. Even though the estate tax now only hits one of 1,000 U.S. families, most of our clients have many “income tax-toxic” assets.

Those assets can include IRA; 401(k); 403(b); and appreciated annuities.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

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