When it comes to preparing for retirement, your members may have more questions than answers: When do I want to retire? When should I retire? Will I have enough money saved to meet that goal? What is my plan for spending time in my retirement years?
Answering these questions and many others is an important exercise for plan members to complete before they embark on the next chapter in their lives. But where do they start?
One place to start is with this handy checklist from the book Ready or Not: Your Retirement Planning Guide.
Have your participants read through this list and answer “yes” or “no” to the questions. Any “no” answers are a great place to take action!
Checklist for Financial Preparation
- Created an adequate working fund whose purpose is to provide money for day-to-day living and help minimize debt?
- Obtained a life insurance plan that provides adequate protection at a competitive cost—particularly during early family years? Made consistent contributions of even modest amounts to a savings and investment program to build up to significant levels over the years?
- Used employer retirement programs and other retirement savings vehicles such as IRAs and Keogh accounts?
- Made a full-blown investment program based on a thorough understanding of the characteristics of a sound program (i.e., need for diversification, balance, etc.), whether you do it yourself or use a reliable financial planner?
- Put all your vital financial papers in one place, told someone else where they are and made copies of them?
- Calculated your retirement expenses (keeping inflation in mind), identified financial assets and projected their growth before retirement?
- Talked over retirement finances with your spouse or, if you are single, with someone close to you?
- Figured what survivor’s benefits you or your spouse would receive if either one of you died?
- Obtained investment and savings information and planned for improving your approach to savings and investment for further investigation?
- Paid down your credit card debt and paid off your mortgage and car payments?
- Built up an emergency fund (i.e., health, pet, fire)? Budgeted for capital expenses (i.e., roof, car or painting of house)?
More Financial Education Resources
The Foundation has lots of ways to help you prepare your participants for a comfortable retirement.
Consider providing a copy of Ready or Not: Your Retirement Planning Guide to your staff who are preparing for retirement. The helpful resource includes checklists and worksheets as well as advice from experts on preparing for retirement.
You’ll also find best practices, helpful tip sheets, bench marking reports and more on the Foundation’s Financial Education/Retirement Security webpage.
Kathy Bergstrom, CEBS
Senior Editor, Publications, at the International Foundation
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