The Washington, D.C.-based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is out with a step-by-step plan to help U.S. investors "get on the right financial foot" for 2016, and it's a good idea to do exactly that.
"The dawn of a new year is an ideal time to assess your progress toward your investment goals and make adjustments as needed," said Gerri Walsh, FINRA's senior vice president of investor education. "What has worked in the past is not always what's best for today and the future, particularly as the interest-rate environment is changing. Whether you are an experienced investor or just starting, it's a smart New Year's resolution to periodically review your finances."
That goes double for retirement savers, especially those 55 and over, who may be nearing the old "gold watch" stage of their working lives.
They need a New Year's plan of their own -- one that includes setting clear goals, focusing on the long term, and tracking and rebalancing their investments, among other strategies.
That's where a handy-dandy New Year's retirement planning checklist can help. A list of "must dos" can get you on the right path to a healthy retirement, much like your daily "to do" list gets you through the work day or a chore-filled Saturday in good stead.
This week, TheStreet reached out to financial experts and asked for their help in building you, the Great American Retirement Saver, a checklist of your own. Here's what they advised:
1. Think big picture.
Take a big picture approach, using financial practices you're already accustomed to using. J. Dennis Mancias, a financial advisor in San Antonio, Texas, advises imitating your vacation planning in your retirement planning.
"How much planning will you do for your next vacation?" he asks. "First you pick out where you want to go. Then you budget for travel, lodging, spending money and incidentals. That way, you know how much you need to save to have a nice vacation. You don't simply gas up the car and start driving north, then decide where you want to go."
That step-by-step approach allows you to make logical decisions. "It's the same concept with retirement," he aded. "Set a goal and decide how you want to retire. That will give you the base to then calculate how much you actually need to be saving for retirement."