Approaching Retirement

Case Study #1



65 years old


Registered Nurse (RN)



Annual Income



Life insurance proceeds, 401(k) savings, pension with lump sum option.


Jennifer is recently widowed and has four adult children who are financially independent.

Primary Goals

Jennifer wants to retire, maintain her standard of living, and make the best decisions regarding her pension, Social Security, and investments.

The Challenges


Will she outlive her money?

Jennifer isn’t sure if she can retire and maintain her lifestyle. She doesn’t want to become a financial burden on her kids.


How should she manage Social Security and healthcare?

Both Jennifer and her deceased husband paid into Social Security. Jennifer doesn’t know if she should apply for a survivorship Social Security benefit or apply for Social Security based on her own earning’s history. Jennifer is also lost when it comes to applying for Medicare and is overwhelmed by all the Medicare supplement options. She would like some guidance.


What pension option should she choose?

Jennifer has the option of taking her pension as a lump sum or in monthly installments but she isn’t sure which is right for her.


How should she invest?

Jennifer has a considerable nest egg given her life insurance proceeds and 401(k) savings. But, she’s not confident in how to protect what she’s accumulated and how to keep her investments ahead of inflation.

The Peterson Wealth Solution

Coordinate Benefits

There are a lot of important decisions facing Jennifer. The decisions she makes at the beginning of retirement will impact her for the rest of her life. So, she has got to get this right. Orchestrating her Social Security benefits, her pension plan, and the income from her investments into a tax-efficient stream of lifetime income is the goal. This will require that a plan is created and then followed throughout her retirement.

Social Security

We help Jennifer navigate the Personal and Survivor Social Security benefits she’s entitled to as a widow. To maximize what she’ll receive, we suggest that she take her Survivor Benefit when she retires at 65, and switch to her Personal Benefit at age 70. This grows her Personal Benefit by 8% annually between ages 65 and 70, while she still receives Social Security income from her Survivor Benefit.


Every pension plan, as well as every family situation, is unique. So, we provide Jennifer with a personalized pension analysis that lays out the pros and cons of taking the lump sum versus monthly payments. Once Jennifer makes her decision, we help her complete all necessary paperwork upon her retirement.


As Jennifer retires, Medicare becomes her primary insurance provider. We meet with Jennifer and help her apply for Medicare. We then put her in touch with one of our vetted Medicare Specialists who walks Jennifer through the complex world of Medicare supplements. Together they decide on a plan that best suits Jennifer’s healthcare needs.


There is so much more to investing when retired than just picking good investments, it takes coordination and planning to create a stream of income that keeps up with inflation but that does not expose the retiree to unnecessary market risks or excessive taxation. Distributing the right amount of money from the correct type of account, that is properly invested, will assist Jennifer in ensuring that her tax liability is managed and that her investments will last as long as she does.


We organize Jennifer’s retirement income plan by using our Perennial Income Model™. The Perennial Income Model helps us create the optimal stream of retirement income from her Social Security and pension benefits and is our guide as we monitor, manage, and adjust Jennifer’s investments throughout her retirement.

The Conclusion

With a plan in place, Jennifer faces the future with confidence. She knows that Peterson Wealth Advisors has a plan for her to get the most out of her Social Security and pension benefits. Jennifer has an investment plan that matches her current investments with her future income needs. She now can focus on making memories with her family and stop worrying about becoming a financial burden. The fear of outliving her money is gone because she now has a goal-based retirement income plan to follow – a plan that is designed to provide her an inflation-adjusted stream of income throughout retirement.

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