Reflections on Retirement: Tools to make sense of it all

In late August, UF at Work kicked off a four-part series about preparing for retirement. If you missed the first and second parts, you can view them here and here. For part three below, we wanted to share helpful tools and resources that shed light on the different facets of planning for retirement.

Looking for someone to help you manage your finances? Make sure to do your research. You can start with UF’s investment provider list, which consists of representatives from AXA Advisors, Fidelity, Voya, MetLife, TIAA and Valic, or you can search for other Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)-registered brokers or brokerage firms using the FINRA BrokerCheck. BrokerCheck is a free tool for researching the background and experience of financial brokers, advisers and firms. (You can also see which individuals have been barred by FINRA.) You can learn similar information from this U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) site. This Thursday, Nov. 1, UF/IFAS is offering an online seminar on choosing a financial professional. Learn more and register here.

No matter who you choose to work with, if anyone, make sure to inform yourself about the fiduciary duty or standard, which requires financial advisors and brokers to put your best interests before their own. Read more here.

Knowledge is power. Did you know that everyone is entitled to a free annual credit report? Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) give you a free credit report every 12 months if you request one. Visit to request yours.

If you need some help budgeting or saving, Valic has a budget worksheet and a net-worth worksheet to help you make sense of your expenses and savings. Hands on Banking also has a collection of resources on topics including the basics of banking services, money management tools and tips, and planning your future. TIAA has similar resources listed by goal, such as saving and budgeting, investing and managing debt, and the Florida Retirement System offers traditional IRA and Roth IRA research tools as well. Additionally, AXA Advisors has a risk-tolerance questionnaire to help people determine their investment objectives.

Retirement and other calculators. Who doesn’t love a good calculator? Fidelity offers one called the Fidelity Retirement Score tool among others (and provides some guidance for these resources here; people can also text the word “score” to 343-898 for an abbreviated mobile version of the document). VOYA offers a similar tool called the myOrangeMoney Retirement Calculator. Valic provides a Retirement Wishlist tool and Investment Questionnaire, Vanguard has a series of resources here and TIAA provides similar financial tools. The Social Security Administration website features more than 10 calculators, including a retirement-age calculator, a benefits-for-spouses calculator and an earnings-test calculator. AARP offers another tool to help people figure out if they’re saving enough. If you’re more focused on college savings, the College Board has these tools and calculators.

There’s a lot out there to make sense of. As much as you can, try not to feel overwhelmed. A lot of these tools provide similar types of information; test out a few to see which ones work best for you. You can also enroll in one of UF’s Financial Literacy & Retirement Education (FLARE) courses if you prefer more hands-on learning and instruction.

Additional resources
UFHR Benefits – Retirement
Division of Retirement