5 ways to make retirement savings last

4. Get a job 

Think eBay, suggests Neal E. Cutler, associate director of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Gerontology program. He advocates delaying retirement and only leaving a full-time job after you've figured out how to make money doing something else. You could sell on eBay, for instance, so that you can continue to accumulate money in your retirement accounts.

If you retire at 66 and you sell pre-owned golf balls on eBay for 10 years -- enough to make $2,000 a year, which you put in a Roth tax-advantaged IRA account paying a conservative 4 percent a year, it will add up to $24,973 by the time you're 76. Then you can take that $25,000 -- give or take -- and buy an immediate annuity, which will pay about $206 a month for the rest of your life -- enough to pay for several rounds of golf a month at the executive course down the street.

In the meantime, you can deduct the costs of doing business from your taxes, including, in the case of eBay, Internet access.

5. Consider long-term care insurance 

How much medical care we'll need in our old age is the hardest thing for most retirees to quantify. The costs of nursing care or even assistance in living independently can be staggering. A recent government study showed that 40 percent of the people who turn 65 each year will spend some time in a nursing home, with the average nursing home costing around $60,000 a year.

In a traditional long-term care insurance policy, the company promises to pay a daily benefit to help cover the cost of long-term care if the policyholder is unable to perform a specified number of what the industry calls "activities of daily living": bathing, dressing, eating, getting from a bed to a chair, using a toilet and walking. But all policies aren't created equal. The best ones pay a flat rate per month that allows the insured person who meets the basic qualifications to spend the money as he or she sees fit. That could include spending it on a nursing home, a family caregiver or even a cruise to the Bahamas.

There are also whole life insurance policies and single premium annuity policies that have long-term care riders. The insured person who qualifies as needing care can use some or all of the policy to pay its costs. Again, how the money is spent is generally up to the insured. If the money isn't needed for medical care, then it passes tax-free to heirs.

And in the end, having a legacy to leave behind is the best that we can hope for.


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