Retirement Planning

Your Retirement Planning Checklist

Retirement planning is a scary subject. We offer five easy tips to help you get started on a plan. While you can't plan for everything, these basics should be on everyone's checklist.

5 Things That Should Be on Your “To-Do” List

When it comes to retirement planning, many Americans might not be doing enough. In fact, in a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, 24 percent of Americans polled said they had given little thought to financial planning for their retirement, with another 25 percent saying they had done no planning at all.1

So how do you get started? The following are five things that should be on every American's retirement to-do list when it comes to planning for your golden years. Remember, it's never too late!

1. Create a written financial retirement plan.

Whether you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, you need to put together a written retirement plan - even if it's a basic one. Unfortunately, many people don't put together a retirement plan because they don't know where to start. If you don't want to seek the advice of a financial advisor, then you can start with a basic plan yourself. It can be as easy as estimating what your expenses in retirement will be, and then figuring out where the money will come from to pay those bills.

2. Set up an Individual Retirement Account.

Whether it's a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, these accounts can be an easy way to save more for retirement while providing tax advantages. IRAs are not work retirement plans, so you don't need to go through your employer. IRAs can easily be opened through a broker or bank.

3. Build an emergency fund.

In addition to your investment accounts, you should have a liquid emergency fund for readily available cash when you need it. You don't want to be tapping into your retirement account for every unexpected home repair or out-of-pocket health care expense.

4. Rebalance your portfolio.

Every year it's a good idea to rebalance and reallocate your investments so you can continue to get the most return for the amount of risk you want to take. For example, the risk tolerance for someone just a few years away from retirement will be much different than for someone with 10 years to go.

5. Max out your retirement accounts.

If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement savings plan, contribute all you can. This not only helps you save more for retirement, but it also reduces your taxable income. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals make a big difference in the amount you will accumulate.

Start saving for retirement as soon as you start earning income, even if you can't afford much at the beginning. Paying yourself first is the most important habit you can develop if you want to enjoy a financially healthy retirement. For some great tips on putting together a solid retirement plan, visit the Employee Benefits Security Administration's website for their Retirement Toolkit.

1. Survey of Household Economics and Decision Making, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2013

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Retirement Planning Advice

Have you started planning for retirement? It's never too soon. This article explores retirement planning advice including considerations that you may want to include on your retirement planning to do list. Planning ahead can be key to being more prepared for the future. If you start planning and saving for retirement as soon as you have a steady income, you may be able to enjoy retirement when your time comes. Paying your future self can be an important part of that plan. For more information, visit our learning center.

All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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