Retirement Checklist

Achieving financial security in retirement has never been more challenging. Economic and market turmoil has left people feeling less hopeful and optimistic about retirement.

The guaranteed incomes of company pensions are a thing of the past. So now, the onus falls more squarely on individuals to create their own retirement income source that can generate a reliable income for their extended lifetimes.

A good way to view retirement funding with clients is to break their retirement down into three stages. You will have to take into account that their needs – and the expense of covering them – can very well change over the course of retirement. Here is a check list for all stages of retirement.

Getting started… Your 20s and early 30s

• Start saving right away
• Try to save 10% of income
• Join employer’s retirement plan
• Invest as aggressively as you are comfortable
• Don’t cash out retirement account

Working on it… Your 30s through your 40s 

• Continue saving despite other expenses - Save at least 10% - Save for retirement before college
• Have adequate insurance and emergency fund
• Don’t invest too conservatively
• Avoid tapping into retirement accounts

The home stretch… Your 50s and 60s 

• Boost savings to 20% or more
• Take advantage of catch-up provisions
• Maximize tax-deferred contributions
• Begin to shift into lower-risk investments
• Start focusing on retirement lifestyle
• “Practice” retirement
• Share dreams with spouse
• Calculate realistic retirement resources

Retired at last… 

• Determine how much money to withdraw each year
• Determine which accounts to withdraw from
• Remember required minimum distributions
• Invest more conservatively
• Don’t abandon stocks
• Hold two to three years’ living expenses in cash equivalents
• Adjust lifestyle if needed
• Polish your estate plan