This following article originally appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of IMPACT!, the newsletter of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
In a recent National Review Online article, Mackinac Center Director of Science, Environment, and Technology Policy Diane Katz noted that Americans are now living longer than ever. The average lifespan is 77 yearsthough healthier lifestyle patterns could easily extend this averagewhich is up from just 48 years in 1900.
How long can you expect to live? With ongoing advances in medical technology and practice, a retiree in his early sixties today may expect to live as much as another 30 years. Likewise, an age 70 retiree might reasonably expect his Golden Years to span two more decades.
That's the good news. The bad news is that our increased lifespans require retirement assets to be stretched over a longer period of time. That makes for a tough challengeparticularly for those of us who also wish to leave a valuable legacy with organizations that promote the values we cherished throughout our lives.
Fortunately, there is a way to make the most of your nest egg while helping the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in its work to advance liberty and opportunity in Michigan: You can establish a gift annuity. In exchange for a transfer of cash or securities, an annuity will provide a guaranteed amount of income to youor another personfor life. Unlike other types of retirement funds that may be exhausted due to various distribution requirements, annuity payments continue throughout your retirement and do not decrease if interest rates fall or the stock market declines.
If you've not yet reached retirement age, you still have time to build a nest egg large enough to sustain you during your retirement periodthough you may be disadvantaged because you already contribute the maximum to a qualified plan such as a 401(k). In that case, you may establish a deferred-payment gift annuity, which has no contribution limit, and contribute appreciated securities without being currently taxed on the gain. Also, you may begin payments as early or as late as you desire.
Contact the Mackinac Center advancement department; we'll work with you to help establish your retirement securityand a lasting legacy of freedom for those who come after you.