Planning for retirement is a manifold and ongoing process, with many variables to consider. Dive into it with this checklist, courtesy of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC):
• Map out a yearly budget for each year you plan to be retired, up to age 100. Expect to need 80 percent of your current annual income each year, minus anticipated pension or Social Security payments.
• Take stock of your finances by valuing assets (e.g., your house, savings bonds) and consolidating retirement accounts, if beneficial. (Consult with a professional before rolling over any funds.)
• Consider your health, life and long-term insurance needs in retirement. If you are the primary earner in your family, for instance, it may be prudent to obtain long-term disability insurance; if your spouse has life insurance, on the other hand, it is wise to confirm you as the beneficiary. Bear in mind, too, that out-of-pocket medical costs are one of the largest expenditures in retirement.
• Start saving through your employer’s 401(k), 403(b), ESPO, IRA or profit-sharing plan, if available. If your employer matches contributions, save at least the amount necessary to receive the full match.
• Explore the possibility of securing an annuity, which can provide additional income in retirement. The four types of annuities are deferred income; fixed and fixed-indexed; single premium immediate; and variable, with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits. (For more information on annuities, visit NAIC.org/documents/consumer_alert_annuities.htm.)
• Revisit your savings strategy every five years. If change is needed, consider consulting with a certified financial planner to determine the next best course of action.