I am 56 years old. What is better: take a large lump sum or have the company give me monthly payments? Where can you put that money in that you don’t have to pay taxes but can get a monthly check? – Greg


As you get ready to retire one sound approach is to ensure that all of your fixed expenses (mortgage/rent, car payments, insurance, etc.) are covered by guaranteed streams of income—like your company pension. This can make those monthly payments your company is offering very attractive. A reasonable step that you can take to ensure you’re getting “good value” in passing up the lump sum is to check with a couple of life insurance companies and see what type of monthly income you could buy through an income annuity contract. Just make sure you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. For example, if you are married you may select a payment plan that offers your spouse continued benefits (typically 50, 75, or 100 percent) if you pass away. When you get your income or immediate annuity quote make sure that the terms are the same. Does your pension offer an annual cost of living adjustment? Then make sure the annuity does, too. Or, you could rollover your lump sum to an IRA without tax consequences and set up monthly payments (which would be subject to income taxes). This is a very big decision and it’s probably a great time to ask for a helping hand as you evaluate your options. Consider giving one of our advisers a call at 877-699-2654 or find a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ near you.