Recently I was interviewed on a radio show about my new book Off the Record: Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy. During the discussion, I was asked about a recent stock market decline of 3.5 percent. “Adam, do you see this as a temporary dip and a buying opportunity or as the end of the market’s amazing run?”

My response was “I don’t know.”

Because, truthfully, I don’t know. Do you? I can certainly speculate, as can you. But the answer varies depending on your stage of retirement planning. For a 26-year-old at the beginning of her career, this is quite possibly a buying opportunity. For a 62-year-old drawing down his nest egg for needed retirement income, the answer may be very different. If you go deeper, you’ll realize the response depends on a person’s time horizon and an investment’s intended purpose.

This recent reminder that the stock market can and will go down from time to time should be a wake-up call for the current and hopeful retiree to become clear about income-planning needs. There are very specific methods available which safeguard and even guarantee income while simultaneously allowing a retiree to participate in equities. Doing so provides an inflation hedge and funding options should a long-term-care need arise, all while enjoying a reliable stream of income.

Too many people participating in or considering retirement base their plans on hope, which is completely unnecessary when there are other, more-reliable income planning strategies available.

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Adam Cufr, RICP®, is a founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC. He is an advisor, a sought-after financial commentator, and the author of “Off the Record – Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.” To learn more, go to www.OfftheRecordRetirement.com.