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Financial Learning Center


Taking Inventory

Complete a Thorough Inventory of All Your Assets

Make a list of all of your other assets, including your home, cars, and collectibles such as jewelry, antiques, artwork, and other miscellaneous items of value. These assets may become a source of cash should your retirement assets fall short. See the section The Role of Your Home in Retirement where it discusses how your home can be a source of cash in your retirement. You also may be in line to receive an inheritance. To the extent you are comfortable anticipating this amount, you may take it into account for your retirement planning.

You'll also need to know your total assets, including the value of your pension and other retirement savings to determine your net worth in order to do estate planning. See the section Estate Planning for more information.

Taking Inventory

The following questions can be used to help you take inventory of your assets:

Income

  1. What is your gross annual income, including bonuses?
  2. What is your gross annual income from self-employment?
  3. Do you have other recurring annual income?
  4. Do you expect any special income in retirement; e.g., inheritance, gifts, or income from a trust? If yes, how much?
  5. Do you have any other property that will be used for income? If yes, how much income will that property generate monthly?
  6. Do you plan to sell your primary residence? If so, what do you anticipate the proceeds will be? What is the cost basis of your primary residence?
  7. Do you have any other assets you're willing to sell to fund your retirement?
  8. How much annual income do you expect from Social Security? At what age do you plan to start receiving Social Security benefits?
  9. Do you plan to work in retirement? If yes, how much do you expect to earn annually?

Pension Benefits/Deferred Compensation

  1. How much monthly income can you expect from your current employer's pension plan?
    • At what age will your payments begin?
    • What type of annuity option do you expect to select?
  2. How much monthly income can you expect from any previous employer's pension plan? 1
  3. Do you plan on taking a lump-sum distribution? If so, what is the projected amount?
  4. Are you eligible for any nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements from your current or previous employers? If yes, how much do you anticipate receiving and when?

1 If you have decided on a payout option, use an estimate based on that option. Otherwise, use the monthly single life annuity option estimate you receive from your company.

Expenses

  1. How much do you anticipate your annual expenses will be in retirement? See the section Discovering Your Retirement Lifestyle for more information.
  2. Do you have any special expenses:
    • One-time expenses, such as remaining expenses for children (e.g., education, weddings, etc.), a special vacation, or major purchase (e.g., boat, seasonal residence, etc.)?
    • Ongoing expenses, such as caring for a disabled child?

Loans

Do you have any loans that will take more than a year to repay?

  • start date
  • length
  • balance
  • interest rate

Rate of Return

What do you expect your rate of return will be on your investments during retirement?

Taxes and Inflation

  1. What is your current tax bracket?
  2. What do you anticipate your tax bracket will be in retirement?
  3. What do you think inflation will average before your retirement?
  4. What do you think inflation will average during your retirement?

Savings

  1. Do you have funds set aside for retirement, e.g., 401(k), 403(b), 457, Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, IRA, or non–tax-deferred savings? Complete questions 2 through 5 for each of these plans/accounts.
  2. How much do you have in your plan or account?
    • 401(k)
    • 403(b)
    • 457
    • Keogh
    • SEP
    • SIMPLE
    • IRA—Traditional
    • IRA—Roth
    • Other taxable or tax-deferred savings/investments.
  3. How much do you contribute annually, either in dollars or percentage of your current salary?
    • 401(k)
    • 403(b)
    • 457
    • Keogh
    • SEP
    • SIMPLE
    • IRA—Traditional
    • IRA—Roth
    • Other taxable or tax-deferred savings/investments.
  4. What rate of return do you expect to achieve before retirement?
    • 401(k)
    • 403(b)
    • 457
    • Keogh
    • SEP
    • SIMPLE
    • IRA—Traditional
    • IRA—Roth
    • Other taxable or tax-deferred savings/investments.
  5. Does your employer make a matching contribution to your company retirement plan? If yes, how much?

Insurance

  1. Do you have cash-value life insurance?
  2. What is the total cash value within your policy(ies)?
  3. What is the total face amount of the life insurance you currently own outright or in a trust, by type? Whole life/term, etc.
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