By Ernie J. Zelinski
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Increasing Your and My Retirement Income

The reality is that currently most American retirees don't have a lot of retirement income. Their retirement number was not as high as it should have been according to financial institutions. Ths same is true for Canadians.

I have now the gloomy prospect of retiring from office loaded with serious debts, which will materially affect the tranquility of my retirement.
— Thomas Jefferson

Here, according to the 2007 Census, is the total retirement income for American households age 65 and older:

• Under $5,000 (2.4 percent)
• $5,000 to $9,999 (7.7 percent)
• $10,000 to $14,999 (13.3 percent)
• $15,000 to $19,999 (11.4 percent)
• $20,000 to $24,999 (9.3 percent)   
• $25,000 to $34,999 (15 percent)
• $35,000 to $49,999 (13.7 percent)
• $50,000 to $74,999 (11.9 percent)
• $75,000 to $99,999 (6 percent)
• $100,000 and over (9.3 percent)

As you can see, only about 15 percent of Americans have retirement incomes greater than $75,000 and 35 percent have retirement incomes that are less than $20,000.

A question that arises is: "How can I increase my retirement income." The answer should not be "Winning a lottery is my retirement plan." One of my favorite gambling quotes is by Richard Feynman, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool."

Recently Gallup identified the top 10 sources of retirement income available to Americans.

1. Retirement savings accounts
2. Home equity
3. Pension plans
4. Social security
5. Certificates of deposit
6. Stocks and mutual funds
7. Retirement jobs
8. Annuities or insurance plans
9. Inheritance
10. Rent and royalties

It follows that the best way to increase your retirement income is to increase the amount that flows from any one of the above ten sources.

In other words, learn to think of opportunity instead of security.

My retirement income is based primarily on the sales of my book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free which falls into "Rent and Royalties", the item that provides the least in retirement income for the vast number of retirees.  

Retirement Cafe Book 

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Using Home Equity for Retirement Income

Home equity for retirement income can be used in two ways. The first option is to have the home sold outright. Retirees can then rent accommodations or downsize to a smaller house, using the extra funds for living expenses, particularly in old age.

Another option for using home equity for retirement income is getting a reverse mortgage. You may also look into getting a mortgage loan if you need one.

There are three general ways that retirees can choose to receive the money from a reverse mortgage. The three options include a lump sum, fixed lifetime monthly payments, or a line of credit. More than 60 percent of American retirees getting a reverse mortgage choose the line of credit, which retirees can draw on at any time.

The size of the reverse mortgage will depend on the age of the retirees at the time of application, the type of reverse mortgage, and how much the house is worth. Generally speaking, the older the retiree and the more the house is worth, the larger the reverse mortgage that the retiree can obtain.

Retirees do not have to repay the loan as long as the home remains the principal residence. Income and credit rating are not considered when qualifying for a reverse-morgage-based loan. Although there is no requirement that retirees requalify during the term of the reverse mortgage, but property taxes and home insurance must be paid by the retirees and kept current.

Where American Seniors Get Their Retirement Income

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, American retirees 65 and older rely heavily on Social Security for their retirement income. Surprisingly, this is true even at the top-third of the income bracket.

Unfortunately, the majority of the retired and soon-to-be retired can't depend exclusively on pension plans because of the substantial financial losses that their retirement savings accounts sustained during the Great Recession.

Retirement Income Sources for American Retirees
See this image in better resolution on NPR at:
The above graphs shows that the bottom income tier — the third of Americans 65 and over with the lowest level of retirement income (annual income of $16,758 or less) —  receive their retirement income from:
  • 87 percent from Social Security
  • 5 percent from pensions
  • 3 percent from assets
  • 6 percent from other sources
The middle income tier — the third of Americans 65 and over with the middle level of retirement income (income between $16,758 and $37,161 per year) — receive their retirement  income from:
  • 69 percent from Social Security
  • 20 percent from pensions
  • 7 percent from assets
  • 3 percent from other sources
The top income tier — the third of Americans 65 and over with the highest level of retirement income (income above $37,161 per year) — receive their retirement  income from:
  • 37 percent from Social Security
  • 34 percent from pensions
  • 26 percent from assets
  • 3 percent from other sources
In short, at least one-third of Americans will have to rely on Social Security benefits — not pensions — in their retirement years.
Source: Calculations by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, based on the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 Current Population Survey

Follow The Easy Rule of Life for More Retirement Income

If you don't think that you have enough income for retirement, you need to follow The Easy Rule of Life as explained in Ernie Zelinski's most recent book Look Ma, Life's Easy: How Ordinary People Attain Extraordinary Success and Remarkable Prosperity.

Look Ma, Life's Easy

Look Ma, Life's Easy has been published as an ebook on Amazon's Kindle format and will soon be published in print. Purchase the Kindle edition at


Some Retirement Income Money Quotes

Let's spend all our money to buy cool stuff. Later we can sell it all on eBay to pay for our retirement.
— from Glasbergen cartoon

More money seldom solves someone's money problems. Intelligence solves problems.
— Robert Kiyosaki, writing in Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Shun anything — shares, property, or the latest hot trend — with recent sharp appreciation. Bubbles burst. Wait until prices fall and then stabilize. Never buy in a market that is rising or falling fast. In the short term, stick to safe investments, even if you can only get 5 percent.
— Richard Koch, writing in Living the 80/20 Way.

When it comes to making more money, most people look at the world and see the same opportunities they’ve seen before: typically, a job. Because they don’t awaken their mind and expand their vision, they don’t see other opportunities. Yet opportunities do exist. So how do you change your thinking so you can see them? One way to jolt the brain out of its preconceived category thinking is to bombard it with new experiences.
— Joe Vitale


Retirement Income Resources to Help Increase Your and My Retirement Savings and Your and My Retirement Money


1. The Money Café: Features a special webpage on "My Retirement Money." This website gives you free financial advice on how to make money, how to save money for retirement, and how to spend your retirement savings wisely. If you follow the advice on this website, you will have a happy retirement — both financially and psychologically.

Retirement Book #3 - Career Success Image

2. Career Success Without a Real Job: The ideal career book for retirees who would like to work in retirement to increase their retirement income but not in a traditional corporate job. In Chapter 6: Prosperity Comes When You Do the Right Things with Your Life, this book includes topic such as More Money Won’t Bring You More Happiness — It Works the Other Way Around!; Financial Freedom Does Not Have to Be Just a Dream; Your Prosperity Will Grow to the Extent That You Do; and Prosperity Spending in Retirement Is Good for Your Financial Soul.

Retirement Cafe Book

3. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retirement, How to Retire
Happy, Wild and Free
 explores the myriad choices and decisions we are all confronted with in living out our retirement lives. Easy to read and well laid out, the bestselling non-financial retirement book on emphasizes preparing for retirement long before you retire. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is a provocative, entertaining, down-to-earth, and tremendously inspiring book that will help you get more joy and satisfaction out of all your retirement activities.

4. Retirement Income for Unconventional Retirees: This webpage on The Joy of Being Retired Website is for retirees who are motivated and creative enough to generate income in unconventional ways such as Internet marketing.


Purchase How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free  Today: Logo Click Here to Purchase on 


More Retirement Income Money Quotes

Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich.
— Henry Ford

Money is what you make it. Depending upon who you are — and your frame of mind — money can be anything you want it to be. Money can be: the root of all evil; or that which answers all things; or something that burns a hole in your pocket; or a means to freedom; or an interesting concept; or even a stupid concept. Whatever value you place on money, you must take responsibility for it. If money is evil to you, you created it being evil. If money is a problem to you, you created it being a problem. If money is joy to you, you created this concept. Take responsibility for your concepts. And be clear that these are just concepts. Nothing more and nothing less.
 from Career Success Without a Real Job

We have a balance of $0.32 in the bank … Which made us four-and-a-half trillion dollars richer than the federal government.
— Jim Borgman

A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.
— Jane Austen


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