Photo: Elaine Larsen, left, speaks with Jean Chatzky about why it’s important to get protected, lifetime income. Credit, Michelle Ayr

By: Michelle Ayr

The language of insurance can be a tricky to understand, but we need to understand it.

Alliance for Lifetime Income, a non-profit organization, had one primary goal in holding its conference on Thursday: To discuss the need to have protected retirement income. At the Times Square event, Melissa Kivett, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at Prudential Individual Solutions Group, said that women today live up to 87 years old, whereas men live until 84. She said the need to think about how to protect your income – and make your income last a lifetime – gets greater with every year.

“At the Alliance,” said Kivett, “we’re really focused on a whole entire income gap, and how we can talk about what we can do to help when people need solutions to meet their needs.”

The only truly protected source of lifelong lifetime income right now is Social Security and that only covers around 40 percent of what people need when they retire, Kivett said. Last year, the Federal Reserve did a study that concluded nearly half of Americans from age 45 to 72 are approaching retirement but are not protected from the costs of living longer, especially the rising cost of healthcare.

“Overall only two out of five American households have protected lifetime income, whether it is a pension or an annuity, but that leaves 63 million American households unprotected,” said Kavitt. With great risk comes great tension, Kavitt informed, making this not just a financial problem, but a wellness issue, as more Americans are extremely stressed and anxious about their savings not being enough.

One participant, race car driver Elaine Larsen, said that after a car crash in 2011, she decided to get protected lifetime insurance to ensure that she and her family were protected if her car ever decided to misbehave, again. “I am flesh, I can get hurt. I realized I had to slow down, and I had to plan for the what if,” said Larsen.

This further demonstrates that if the proper steps are taken to plan, then the reduction of anxiety and risk is very possible. “Social Security typically only replaces around 48 percent of what the average worker needs in retirement, but the good news is that people with protected lifetime income can rely less on Social Security,” said Kavitt. Pensions are going the way of the dinosaur and the research conducted by Alliance is showing that Americans who are preparing by themselves, are still falling short, leading to great stress for tens of millions of Americans.

Alliance believes that holding conversations about protected lifetime income can bridge gaps helping hard-working Americans retire with more peace of mind.

“Risk is always there. You never know when it’s going to hit you,” said James Moskito, CEO of Ocean’s Safari. Knowing that things may get out of control unexpectedly makes Moskito all that more pleased that he has protected lifetime income. Staring into the mouth of a great white made Moskito come to the realization that he needed to plan for retirement, and life’s potential catastrophes. So, just a few years ago after talking to his financial advisor about what his best options are, he did just that.

Since taking the proper steps towards creating a retirement plan, Moskito knows that even when there is a possibility for a risk at his job, he and his family are protected no matter what. “I want to be able to control my destiny about how I am able to live,” said Moskito.