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Guaranteed income. It’s important in retirement to have some income that arrives each month, regardless of what’s happening in the market. The most common source of guaranteed retirement income is Social Security. For those considering early retirement, it’s worth knowing you can begin drawing Social Security as early as age 62. But there’s a caveat. If you claim the benefit before you reach full retirement age (between 66 to 67 for most people), your monthly benefit is reduced and that reduction is for life. Another source of retirement income some people still have is a pension. If you have one, determine whether it provides a reduced benefit (or any benefit at all) to your spouse after you die. If not, you may want to weigh whether to take a lump-sum payment rather than your regular payout, if that choice is offered. Finally, an annuity – either fixed or indexed – can provide you with a monthly check as well. Some annuities do come with fees and various rules and limitations, and you also want to research the claims-paying ability of the insurance carriers being considered. So study them carefully before making a decision. A properly licensed financial professional can help you figure out what’s best for you and your circumstances as you make that decision.