Everyone should update their retirement budget periodically. Not because retirees are indecisive, but plans change as do incomes. If you anticipate an update to your retirement budget this year, we urge you to follow these three steps before, during and after the modernization is complete.

1. Re-prioritize Guaranteed Income Streams

If you are currently relying on guaranteed income second, and savings and retirement first, you should restructure this during your update. You want to make investments and savings secondary since they tend to grow interest, whereas your Social Security and pensions do not. Income that you make from investment property should also be considered a secondary source since they are not typically guaranteed from month to month.

2. Make Sure You Are Capitalizing on Healthcare Savings

Healthcare expenditures are the greatest known retirement income killers. If there are ways to take advantage of savings, you should find and use those methods as frequently as you visit the pharmacy or doctor. The more money you can keep in your pocket each month, the less you are taking from secondary sources such as savings or investments.

3. Self-Fund a Pension Plan

You can hold the assets reserved to fund your retirement annuity inside or outside of a retirement account. In creating a true pension plan, however, funding it with the creation of a Section 412(i) plan is the easiest way to secure your self-funded pension. To fund these pension plans, you must use funds from life insurance or annuities.

Contributions are generally tax deductible, and assets within these plans grow tax deferred. In the case of cash value life insurance, you can actually access the money tax-free.

What Budget Are You Setting in 2019?

If you lined up all sure-fire sources of income, Social Security benefits will generally be the most prevalent among all retirees. Add to that any other guaranteed income sources and see where you stand relative to your monthly budget.

Reach out to your personal benefits manager if you need assistance during your retirement budget update or would like tips on how to maximize your income streams without having to make risky investments.

Kevin Conroy is the head of the Retirement Income Planning and Estate Planning Services for MediGap Advisors. He has over 35 years of experience helping individuals and businesses set up structures to maximize return, minimize taxes, and minimize risk. His true passion is helping individuals and small businesses get clarity on their own finances.