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5/2/2011 1:14:00 PM
The Longevity Rider
Are you prepared to live to 90?

While living to the age of 90 was once a rare feat, it is becoming increasingly common. You may be surprised to learn that the fastest growing demographic in the country is people over the age of 85. According to the latest life insurance mortality tables, 38 percent of men and half of women age 65 today can expect to live to the age of 90 or beyond.

Being able to live a long and full life is good news, of course. But you will have to plan well to be sure that you don't run out of income when you may need it the most. Here are some suggestions from Dr. Robert Pokorski, The Hartford's chief medical strategist, for planning a retirement that may include a 90th birthday celebration:

• Consider buying a life insurance policy with an optional longevity rider. While the main purpose of life insurance is to provide income to your heirs when you die, paying extra will allow you to begin receiving installments of your own death benefit when you turn 90 and meet the rider's eligibility requirements. You are then free to use it to simply enjoy life or to help ensure you don't outlive your retirement savings.

• Consider purchasing an annuity to cover many of your fixed expenses later in life. Making conservative investments like this can help ensure that you'll have a reliable source of income to cover such necessities as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, prescriptions, groceries, insurance and transportation. Any other retirement savings you have can be used to cover the cost of travel and entertainment or to pay for unforeseen expenses.

• Postpone retirement. While you might consider putting off retirement to be a bad thing, you may decide to continue working in order to increase your monthly Social Security benefit. Delaying Social Security from age 62 to 67 will increase the amount you will receive each month by 30 percent. Postponing retirement will also increase any pension benefits you will receive in the future. You could even use the time to try working in a new field that has always appealed to you.

• Plan for a health emergency. Nobody likes to think about becoming ill, but planning for health-care emergencies is a part of smart retirement planning, especially when you consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 70 percent of retirees will need to pay for chronic care sometime during their lives.

Turning 90 is a milestone worth celebrating. With good planning, you could live a long and comfortable life without worrying too much about your finances.

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