(NewsUSA) – Today, planning for retirement is more important than ever. With fewer than 21 percent of employees in the private sector covered by traditional pension plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the uncertainty around Social Security benefits, Americans need to take a more proactive approach to ensure their retirement. They will need to rely heavily on their own savings for income in retirement, and plan carefully to avoid outliving those savings.

Fortunately, retirees can create a “personal pension plan” that guarantees a steady stream of income for life, using an insurance product called an immediate annuity. The following tips describe how a “personal pension” from an immediate annuity might fit into an overall retirement plan.

– Diversify. As part of your overall retirement strategy, consider using a portion of your savings to fund an immediate annuity. Leave investments that move with the market to other parts of your retirement portfolio, depending upon your tolerance for risk.

– Fund the plan. An immediate annuity can be funded with part of your 401(k) or IRA savings or from other savings you have accumulated. You can also use money from an inheritance, from downsizing your home or from money available once you’ve finished paying off a child’s college tuition.

– Access to funds. Over the course of retirement, your needs and circumstances are likely to change. Many personal pension products don’t allow you to touch your money once your income begins. If you are concerned about having access to your funds in the future, choose an immediate annuity that offers this feature.

– Fight Inflation. Inflation can take a big bite out of your retirement income. Some personal pension products allow for annual payment increases that help keep up with inflation’s impact.

– Leave a legacy. If leaving an inheritance is important to you, look for products guaranteed to pay back your premium to your spouse or another family member, or that provide ongoing payments to them, even if you received payments well beyond your life expectancy.

– Guarantee it for life. You may need your retirement income to last 20, 30 or even 40 years. Choose an immediate annuity from a company with a long, steady track record of financial strength and stability.

For more information on retirement income products, visit www.newyorklife.com/GLI.

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