7 Money Matters that Change When You Turn 70

Some things stop, some things start, some things look better.

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There are many money matters that change on or around your 70th birthday. Some things stop, some things start, and some options become more attractive as you age. As we are living longer, it will make sense to consider waiting until 70 to retire, but even if you are retiring earlier, you'll want to know about the seven things below that change about the time you turn 70.

Social Security Benefits Stop Accumulating at 70

Up until age 70, your Social Security benefits accumulate delayed retirement credits. There is no benefit to waiting until past age 70 to start collecting your benefits, but for many people, married couples, in particular, there can be a great benefit to having the highest earning spouse delay the start of their Social Security benefits until age 70. This higher benefit amount will then continue in the form of a survivor benefit for the longest spouse to live and can provide a powerful type of life insurance in the form of inflation-adjusted life-long income.


Required Minimum Distributions Start at Age 70 ½

By April 1st of the year, after you reach age 70 ½, the IRS requires that you start taking withdrawals from your qualified retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k) plans. Although many people wait until they are required to take these distributions, this does not always make sense. If you had lower income years prior to reaching age 70, it could make sense to withdraw money from retirement accounts and pay little to no tax. You have to run a tax projection each year to determine what might be best.

Regardless, at 70, you will have to start taking withdrawals from your IRAs and 401(k)s.

Some Options Become More Attractive

The longer you live, the longer you are expected to live. If you have good genes and a healthy lifestyle, then you may want to consider guaranteed income choices that provide income for life. Some of these choices, such as immediate annuities and reverse mortgages, become more attractive at age 70 and beyond. 

Mortality Credits Kick In

Retirement income sources like immediate annuities enable you to take advantage of something called a mortality credit. If you may be long-lived, this type of product becomes a more attractive option around age 70 and can ensure that you will not outlive your income.

Reverse Mortgages May Warrant a Look

Reverse mortgages become worthy of consideration at age 70 and beyond also. A reverse mortgage can allow you to use the equity in your home for income while remaining in your home for as long as want. A reverse mortgage can be an option that provides you with guaranteed income and no risk. And, contrary to popular belief, the bank cannot take your house with a reverse mortgage.

Investments Should Be Less Risky

If you are going to retire at 70, and need retirement income from your savings and investments, you will need to learn what investments can generate the amount of income you need. It is not the time to take risks. You need this money to last the rest of your life.

One option is to use safe investments, which may pay a low amount of income, but your principal will be guaranteed. Another option is to build a portfolio of investments following a prescribed set of withdrawal rate rules. You may want to seek out the services of a qualified retirement planner to help you figure out what is best for you.

Documents That Are Critical to Have

Age 70 is also a good time to make sure you have a medical emergency plan in place. It can be as simple as having a set of written instructions for a trusted family member or friend. You'll want to make sure you have named someone to manage your affairs should you become ill or incapacitated. It is accomplished through a trust, or with a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. Also, be sure to review your beneficiary designations and other important estate planning documents like a will or trust.