The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only monument on the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today. Scholars speculate that it took over 20,000 workers an estimated 20 years to complete, a feat considering the pyramid was constructed out of stone blocks, each weighing at least 2 tons. But it’s not necessarily the stones that make the pyramid so strong.

Each of the pyramid’s four sides is made up of a triangle. The triangle is the most structurally stable shape in the world because any added force is evenly spread on all three sides.

Building a retirement also takes several decades, and like a monument, it also has to withstand against the erosion of taxes, inflation, and stock market loss. You want to make sure you take the right steps at the right time to get those financial building blocks in place. All the work you do today will pay off in terms of stability later on. To help with the heavy lifting, here is your retirement checklist based on your age today.


The most important thing you can do to invest in your retirement is to invest in your career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that full-time workers who earn a professional degree earn $1,745 a week versus the $692 weekly salary of those who hold only a High School diploma. Having a higher salary makes it easier to save.


Educate yourself about money and investing basics. A 2016 Pew Charitable Trust survey found that workers under 30 are pretty confused about employer-sponsored retirement plans, and more than one-third didn’t know what type of plan their employer offered. Ask questions, read books, and get involved.


Consider owning instead of renting. If you’ve got stable income coming in, then investing in a home might be one way to put the dollars you spend on rent to work for your future. Owning isn’t right for everyone, however. One tip: Make sure your mortgage payment is no more than 30 percent of your income, or it might become difficult to afford other necessities such as food, clothing, and healthcare.


By now you have likely landed on your career and you’ve got a place called home. Here is a checklist of what you want to have in place before you add on to your plan:

  • Take Advantage of Free Money: If your employer offers a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k), make sure you take advantage of the free-money employer match. If you earn enough to invest more than the maximum contribution allowed by Uncle Sam, consider investing in pooled investments that earn interest such as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). If you can, open up a Roth IRA to also diversify your tax landscape.
  • Avoid credit card debt: Public workers under 30 say that debt is the number one obstacle they face when trying to save for retirement. You can access one free credit report annually at
  • Live Below Your Means: Calculate what your basic expense needs are (housing, food, health insurance and any debt or loan payments) and subtract that from your monthly take-home pay. Experts suggest investing anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of your income for retirement. For an early retirement, increase this percentage to 30 percent or more. Make a budget, set goals, and have your savings automatically deducted from your account.
  • Start an Emergency Fund: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advises that you should set aside about three to six months of living expenses. This will help you handle emergencies such as expensive car repairs, medical bills, or unexpected layoffs so that you don’t dip into your all-important retirement savings.


By now you should have some savings set aside for retirement. If you don’t, it’s never too late to start.

  • Develop a relationship with a financial advisor. Americans who work with a financial advisor are more financially confident, and they have a heightened level of retirement readiness. This is a good time to rebalance your retirement accounts to make sure they currently reflect your financial goals.
  • Take care of your Big Powers: There are three important documents you will want to have notarized and on file: the financial power of attorney, power of attorney for healthcare, and a will. Name someone to serve as your estate executor, and if you have kids, be sure to choose who you want to become their guardian. Take care of the legal paperwork so that if anything happens to you, your wishes will be honored in terms of your family, finances, and health.
  • Consider life and disability insurance: If you have someone in your life that you care about, a term life insurance policy can be an affordable way to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of coverage for a small amount of money. Another option is to purchase permanent life insurance with its cash value, longer benefit terms, and higher premiums.


Retirement is so close, you can almost taste it. You may very well be at your peak earning years. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  • Make your catch-up contributions: The IRS is nice enough to allow workers over the age of 50 to put away bonus savings to their 401(k) or other employer-provided retirement plans. The contribution limits for 2017 are $18,000 for younger workers, but for those over age 50, you can contribute as much as $24,000.
  • Investigate your Social Security options: In 2017, the average monthly benefit for retired workers was $1,360 a month. To learn about your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) and find out your Full Retirement Age (FRA) visit Social There, you can access your record of lifetime earnings and get an estimate of your future benefit.
  • Protect Your Wealth: Review your investment accounts with an eye for high fees, which can take a significant chunk out of your nest egg during the next 40 or so years. Make sure the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies and 401(k) plans are up-to-date and reflect your current living situation, and evaluate the need for long-term care coverage. This type of insurance becomes more difficult to afford as you age, but today’s life insurance solutions offer many affordable ways to address this concern. GO HERE to find out more.


Deciding when to retire is perhaps one of the biggest decisions of your life. There are many factors that come into play: health, job satisfaction, market timing, and – for married couples – your spouse. This is where having a financial advisor in your corner can really be a big help. Make sure you discuss the following:

  • Get a retirement income: Having a retirement savings account is not the same thing as having a reliable stream of income. It used to be considered safe to take an automatic withdrawal of 4-percent deducted from your investments, but today’s higher life expectancy rates and lower interest rates have changed this rule. Today’s retirees are better off with guarantees. Aside from your Social Security benefit, the only way to get a guaranteed income without a pension is to use an annuity.
  • Shop around and compare: You might say that annuities come in a variety of flavors. Some of them have expensive fees, others can give you income for life, still, others can run out of money. To find out which annuity is the right one for you, consider having an expert run comparison tests for you.
  • Take care of your Spouse: If you are married, then planning your retirement together can be an essential ingredient for overall retirement satisfaction. While no one likes to think about losing a spouse, a 2014 profile of older American’s report found there is more than three times the number of women (8.7 million), as compared to the number of men (2.3 million) who were widowed and living alone. Make sure that you do joint income planning so that the income will continue for your spouse even when you are gone.

We are the #1 provider of independent annuity reviews in America. If you’ve got an annuity you’d like to see reviewed or if you have a question about an annuity you’re thinking of purchasing, drop us a line. One of our team members will personally answer your question, usually within 24 hours. You can also access our annuity hotline at 888-440-2468. Our site is 100 percent free, your information is 100 percent confidential, and we are 100 percent committed to helping you get the best retirement income for the money. And that’s our promise to you.

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