The Past is Prologue when it comes to a Retirement Paycheck


For those who are nearing retirement, you may be looking for ways to maintain steady, reliable income once your career is over and so are the days of receiving a regular paycheck. Pension plans that past generations have enjoyed are dwindling, and in many industries, have completely disappeared. Annuities offer growth potential and guaranteed income that can help support your retirement.

Turning Your Pile (of Cash) into Reliable Retirement Income 

Imagine your first day of retirement. Your career is over and so are the days of receiving a regular paycheck. You now have a pile of money you have saved over time that will be used to pay the way through this exciting new phase of your life. The question now is, “What do you do with that pile?”

Imagine your pile in a bucket that contains some cash, a portfolio of stocks and bonds, a few alternative investments, and some money held in an IRA or 401(k), some of which is subject to income taxes upon withdrawal, and some of which is not. Know that some of the contents in your bucket are subject to capital gains taxes on dividends or required minimum distributions, Some of your investments are conservative and some are not.

And everything in the bucket is subject to market volatility, which means that if you retire when the market is down and need to withdraw money, you will be taking out devalued money at a most vulnerable time of life financially — unless you have access to a steady source of reliable income.     

What if we widen the lens a bit and ask those who’ve preceded us in retirement just how normal these scenarios sound. They would probably seem confused. Some parents or grandparents might ask, “Where’s the monthly pension check in this equation?” or “Where’s the monthly Social Security check?”

It’s no secret that pension plans that past generations enjoyed have dwindled, and in many industries, completely disappeared. According to CNN Money, the percentage of workers in the private sector whose only retirement account is a defined-benefit plan is now 4 percent — down from 60 percent in the 1980s1. As for Social Security, there are concerns about the program’s present and future viability and Congress may need to make changes that could include a reduction of benefits, an increase in taxes, or both.

Steady, reliable income. That was the old normal. What your parents and grandparents once relied on to fund their retirement has been replaced with a bucket of assets that we need to figure out how to manage. When you’re not getting regular income, you can draw from the bucket. But what if you take too much and it runs out? What if you take too little and you live a financially unfulfilling life in retirement … when you didn’t have to?

There also are other unknowns. Along with the market volatility that puts unexpected dents in this bucket, you need to make an intelligent guess at how long you will live, which according to the medical community will probably be longer than you think. It’s expected that one-third of today’s 65-year-old women in excellent health and about one in four men will be alive at 95 — yes, repeat, 952. This requires planning for additional and likely substantial healthcare costs along the way that also are difficult to predict.

What is predictable is an income-focused retirement designed to provide you with a steady stream of income that can last your entire life. Annuities* with a lifetime income benefit§ can pay out a set amount no matter how the markets perform.  This could support your efforts to plan and budget for expenses just like retirees used to do in the past with their guaranteed incomes. And as you move into or continue your own retirement, isn’t the idea of receiving a regular income less daunting than managing a pile of money?   

A great place to start learning more about the potential for guaranteed income in retirement is by scheduling a meeting with your financial professional today.




1. Ultimate guide to retirement, “Just how common are defined benefit plans?”, CNN Money,, 2018

2. C. Fried, “What’s Your Retirement Number? No, Not Savings – Life Expectancy”,, Jun 28, 2019

*Annuities are long-term, tax-deferred vehicles designed for retirement.  Variable annuities involve investment risks and may lose value. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed. Individuals may be subject to a 10% additional tax for withdrawals before age 59½ unless an exception to the tax is met.

There is no guarantee that a variable annuity with an add-on living benefit will provide sufficient supplemental retirement income.

Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

§Add-on benefits are available for an extra charge in addition to the ongoing fees and expenses of the variable annuity.

About the author

Phil Wright, Assistant Vice President, Content Marketing, Jackson National Life Distributors, LLC

Phil Wright leads a content development team for Jackson National Life Distributors LLC (JNLD) and is an award-winning financial writer. He started with the company in 1994 and focuses on the development and creation of digital content and thought leadership. He is a Registered Principal and Certified Fund Specialist (CFS®).

This material was prepared to support the promotion and marketing of Jackson annuities. Jackson, its distributors, and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state, or local tax penalties. Tax laws are complicated and subject to change. Tax results may depend on each taxpayer’s individual set of facts and circumstances. You should rely on your own independent advisors as to any tax, accounting, or legal statements made herein.

Annuities are issued by Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Home Office: Lansing, Michigan) and in New York, annuities are issued by Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York (Home Office: Purchase, New York). Variable products are distributed by Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, member FINRA. May not be available in all states and state variations may apply. These products have limitations and restrictions. Contact the Company for more information.

Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of Jackson National Life Insurance Company or Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York and do not apply to the principal amount or investment performance of a variable annuity’s separate account or its underlying investments. They are not backed by the broker/dealer from which this annuity contract is purchased, by the insurance agency from which this annuity contract is purchased or any affiliates of those entities, and none makes any representations or guarantees regarding the claims-paying ability of Jackson National Life Insurance Company or Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York.

Jackson® is the marketing name for Jackson Financial Inc., Jackson National Life Insurance Company®, and Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York®.

Phil Wright is affiliated with Jackson. All other authors are not affiliated with Jackson.