10 Sources of Retirement Income - TheStreet

Retirement finance isn’t a one-trick pony — there are more sources to garner retirement income than you might believe. For proof, look no further than an April Gallup Survey of the 10 top sources of post-career income — and where you might stand on each of those items.

Why check out all of your potential sources for retirement cash? Because in this economy, you can’t leave anything to chance. You have to leave no stone unturned when it comes to tapping every last source of income you can so you don’t have to spend your golden years working at the golden arches.

That could well be the future for a huge number of Americans heading into retirement, but who are fiscally unprepared to do so. According to a separate study by Gallup, this one in 2009, a majority of non-retired Americans, 52%, doubt they will have enough money to live comfortably once they retire. That’s the highest number in 10 years, Gallup reports. It was only eight years ago, right on the heels of Sept. 11 and the recession that followed, that Americans were much more positive. Then, 59% of non-retirees said they would have enough retirement income to live comfortably.

So where does that leave otherwise financially anxious Americans nearing retirement? Hopefully, with a renewed commitment to beef up their savings in any one of the following 10 areas:

Social Security: Not surprisingly, Gallup reports that Social Security is the number one source of expected income in retirement — 54% of Americans call it a "major resource," and 34% of Americans figure it will be their primary source of retirement income.

Inheritance: Very few Americans — 9% — expect that an inheritance will be a major source of retirement income.

Bank savings or CDs: Even with bank interest rates at historic lows (check BankingMyWay.com for the latest figures), 22% of Americans say that their bank savings will be a big contributor to their retirements.

Annuities/Insurance: Like an inheritance, not too many retirees figure that annuities or insurance will be a big factor for retirement income. Gallup says that only 9% answered that question in the affirmative.

Rent: With homeowners — and home investors — suffering severe hardships over the past few years, the number of retirees who say that rent will be a key factor in retirement is historically low — at 6%, Gallup says.

Part-time work: The generation that invented the 55-hour work week may well need that tough work ethic in retirement. Gallup says that 18% of Americans consider part-time work a necessity in retirement — and not a luxury.

Stock/mutual funds: In 2007, Gallup estimated that 24% of Americans were counting heavily on their stock and mutual fund investments in their golden years. But that was before the Great Recession laid waste to the financial landscape. Now, in 2010, only 20% of retirees still think that way.

401(k)s: Thanks to the reeling economy, the venerable 401(k) plan has taken a confidence hit, as well. Back in 2007, 52% of Americans expected to lean heavily on their 401(k)s. Three years later, that number has fallen to 45%.

Pension plans: Pension plans, at least in the private sector, have become a rare commodity. In 2007, 31% of workers said pensions would be a major contributor to their retirement. Today, Gallup has that number down to 23%.

Home equity: This one really hurts. In 2007, 30% of Americans viewed their home’s equity as a big benefit in retirement. But with the housing market crash, homeowners aren’t so sure anymore — only 20% of Americans now think they can count on their home equity to help them along in their retirement years.

Consequently, what we have here is the proverbial “good news/bad news scenario.”

The good news is that there are more sources for retirement income than you might have thought. The bad news? Many of those sources seem to be drying up on struggling Americans.

One thing is for sure: If the economy doesn’t improve significantly over the next few years, expect Americans nearing retirement to hang onto one of their few remaining sources of incomes — their jobs — as long as they possibly can.

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