Retirement generally refers to the period of time when an individual leaves the workforce on a full-time basis; historically, that’s been when we reach the age of 65. A comfortable retirement was the goal for which people worked and saved.

Today, roughly 10,000 baby boomers enter retirement every day and will continue to do so until 2029. Because of our improved standard of living, we are living longer and longer.

In 1916, the average lifespan for an American male was just 49.6 years, while women could expect to live until they reached 54.3 years. One hundred years later, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 76.4 years for males and 81.2 years for females. Many will live much longer. In fact, for those retiring at 65, it’s quite possible that they’ll spend roughly 35% of their lives in retirement.

Saving for retirement is not just about putting money in the bank. It’s about replacing your main source of income when you retire with another source of income. To retire comfortably, it’s important to set goals.

Retirement income comes from three different sources: Social Security, pension plans, and investments. The average retired worker in the U.S. will receive approximately $16,092 per year, or $1,341 per month, from Social Security. On top of that, only 50% of the U.S. workforce is covered by a work sponsored pension plan.

Since Social Security cannot fully replace retirement income, it’s imperative to adopt a diversified investment strategy that includes 401(k)s, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and more. That said, it isn’t easy to create a viable retirement investment plan, especially in a low-interest-rate environment. Artificially low interest rates have essentially removed the word “income” from income investing.

While interest rates have been near record-lows, inflation can still have a powerful impact over the course of your retirement. For example, if the inflation rate is two percent, in 25 years, you would need more than $82,000 to purchase something that costs $50,000 today.

There is no easy way to retire comfortably. But there are a number of investment options that can help those nearing retirement increase their income and reduce their risk.

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