Income Strategy Review: Strategies to Make Retirement Income Last
Over the years, we have seen the financial industry focus on accumulating wealth. But extending it is another issue. That’s where the software Income Strategy comes into play; it goes in-depth to build your ideal retirement withdrawal strategy. The goal is to keep your money growing and make sure it lasts.
- Custom Withdrawal Plans
- Social Security Strategies
- Good for those without a Financial Advisor
We focus so much on getting to the retirement finish line that we forget to talk about what we should do when we actually get there. Do we just take out a flat percentage of our portfolio? Which account do we draw from first?
About Income Strategy
One of the most common issues that retirees face is the depletion of their savings.
Income Strategy offers software for retirees (and those close to retirement) to better manage their finances and utilize smart strategies to make their retirement last. The software has been developed over the course of a decade.
Dr. William Reichenstein–the head of research for Income Strategy and a former professor at Baylor University–developed a strategy to minimize taxation during withdrawal, which may allow retirees to retain a higher proportion of their hard-earned savings. He refers to this income as the ‘GET MORE’ amount. With the right tactics, Reichenstein says individuals can save tens of thousands of dollars.
Income Strategy offers far more than what most retirement calculators provide. The suggestions and recommendations are impartial–Income Strategy doesn’t push their own investment products. The software incorporates Social Security calculations and the most recent tax code.
The software allows retirees to save and maximize their income via a coordinated strategy. Here are the ways this strategy works:
- Recommends optimized withdrawal amount throughout retirement
- Integrates the drawdown strategy with optimized Social Security benefits
- Rebalances the portfolio for enhanced performance and improved income generation
- Minimizes Medicare premiums and information on how they will affect retirement plans
- Leverages Roth conversions
- Indicates strategies to address changing market conditions
- Explains how to make Social Security withdrawals
- Saves the maximum possible amount each year in taxes
- Determines the impact on your portfolio of early retirement
- Shows how to deal with changing tax environments
- Ascertains if you can make a plan that will allow you to pay for your grandchildren to go to college
This calculator can retrieve the GET MORE amount in just a moment. Users enter their savings amount and a few other numbers. The software then computes how long their savings will last and how much money it will generate. All of this information is displayed in a QuickStart Report.
Income Strategy can also pinpoint tactics that allows retirees to extend their savings by two to ten years, depending on their circumstances.
Related: Best Cities to Retire Early
Income Strategy Features
There are several key features that make Income Strategy stand out:
The timing and the order of withdrawals are important as it directly impacts the lifespan of a retirement portfolio. This software aims to inform users about better withdrawal decisions.
Retirees should know what order and how much to liquidate from different accounts like CDs, annuities, Roth, conventional IRA, 401k, and others. In some cases, it may be worth it to withdraw from two accounts concurrently.
The withdrawal sequence impacts taxation. Retirement savings accounts have different tax treatment. They are either taxable, tax-deferred, or tax-exempt. The tax treatment varies in accordance with the timing and amount of withdrawals from these accounts. Tapping different accounts simultaneously can bring several benefits.
Unfortunately, a lot of people lack a strategy for withdrawing funds. Others depend on conventional wisdom that suggests withdrawals in the following sequence: (1) taxable (2) tax-deferred (3) tax-exempt. But this strategy may not always be optimal. With the tactics deployed by investment strategy, you may incur a smaller tax liability compared to conventional wisdom.
Power of Coordination
The software also addresses coordination. Coordination refers to optimizing withdrawals to maximize your benefits. With the right withdrawal plan, you may be able to maximize your Social Security benefits and minimize Medicare costs. With smaller payouts, your retirement portfolio can last longer.
Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand the implications of withdrawals on their Medicare premiums and Social Security. Investment strategy software can show you the effect of payouts on Medicare and Social Security and how you can coordinate withdrawals to maximize your benefits and minimize costs.
Research conducted by founders of Income Strategy has been published in trusted and reputable research journals like the Journal of Retirement Income, Financial Analyst Journal, and the Journal of Financial Planning. The methodologies and research from the firm are actively employed by the industry.
Related: Best Life Insurance for Seniors
Pricing & Fees
A basic subscription costs $20 per month and provides access to three core modules of the software. It also includes the option of hiring a retirement income planner for $125 per hour.
A premier subscription costs $50 per month. It includes everything in the basic subscription package plus access to high-performance portfolio models and premium income plans. Like the basic subscription, this also includes the option of hiring a retirement planning expert for $125 per hour.
The premier bundle costs $1,500 per year. It includes everything in the premier subscription, plus a one hour training session, up to three consultation sessions, and free filing services for Social Security.
Their most full-service subscription is the Financial Advice Package. It provides a range of investment advisory services that can manage your entire portfolio. The package charges in the form of a tiered rate, which progresses as per asset size. The rate is 0.8% for $1 million, 0.7% for $1 million to $3 million and 0.5% for assets larger than $3 million.
Signing up for Income Strategy is easy. You simply select your package, pay, and enter your information and you’ll be ready to go.
The site is mobile-friendly (though it doesn’t look great). The company does not have an app.
You can contact Income Strategy directly via email ([email protected]) or via phone (1-866-762-7526, ext. 2). Their website doesn’t lay out any hours of operation, so you might be waiting a couple of days before getting a response.
- Customized plans — The software provides a custom withdrawal strategy that creates income from your retirement savings, personalized reports, and detailed views of all your investments.
- Social Security module — The Social Security module analyzes thousands of claiming strategies and recommends the best strategy for your scenario, as well as coordinates your Social Security strategy with the rest of your portfolio withdrawal to extend your savings.
- Alerts — You’ll receive alerts when you need to take action on rebalancing, spending, or other important components.
- Can be complex for some — The reports and strategies are specific, which may be frustrating for people who are less financially-savvy.
- Best subscription is expensive — At $50 per month, I’m not sure it delivers that amount back in value to map out your path to retirement withdrawals.
There are two main alternatives to Income Strategy:
- Maxifi – A similar software that has slightly more features, but its lowest plan is double the price of Income Strategy ($99/mo)
- i-ORP – An acronym for The Optimal Retirement Planner, i-ORP is a free software that gives you the basics of what you need to map out your withdrawal strategy
Of the two, Maxifi is more of a mature product, but if you’re not ready to spend any money, you might want to check out i-ORP to tinker around with some numbers.
Who is Income Strategy For?
Income Strategy is for retirees (or those close to retirement) who want a detailed plan to make their retirement savings grow and last through retirement. If you don’t want to go at it alone, or work with a financial advisor, Income Strategy can add value. The major consideration is whether the costs are worth it to you.
Income Strategy has an interesting value proposition. The thing I really like is that they’re laser-focused on a specific audience. They’ve built software for retirees and they’ve done an excellent job at that–but it’s not really much more.
You can cancel your subscription at any time, so if you’re near or at retirement age and don’t know what to do with your portfolio (and don’t want to spend the money talking to a financial advisor) then it’s definitely worth a shot.