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Are there others who are trying to help their parents with their retirement savings?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, because my mom is playing catchup, she won't tap the 401k until 70 1/2. And even then, it will provide extras, not an income.

I wish I could help you with your annuities question. Perhaps the best thing to do is to read the agreement to see how you can pull the money out as quickly as possible. You should also search for peppermintpatty or dharmadollars. They seem to be financial people and have answered questions regarding annuities in the past.

If you can't get the money out of the annuity as quickly as you'd like, look into a '1035 transfer' to move it out of where it currently is (assuming that it is incurring relatively large fees) to annuities being sponsored by Fidelity, TRowePrice, and other mutual funds. They are supposed to charge a lot less.

You have not said how much income your mother needs as a percentage of total investments. There have been many posts regarding research that shows that if you want your investments to last during retirement (25+ years), you should not cash in more than 5%/year. However, in your mothers case, assuming she doesn't care to leave an inheritance, that percentage can be pushed higher. Check out for calculations that will tell you how much.

Regarding the IRA questions you have, go to the IRS site:, and get their publications.

Is there a mix of equity and income which makes sense for her situation.
Please look at my message #13041 for an alternate way to provide income for your mother. You can adjust the bonds portion to be as conservative as you want.

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