Column: Time to focus on retirement

Column: Time to focus on retirement

By John D. Doak
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

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Daily life and the pressure of just thinking about the future can make planning for your retirement seem daunting. However, there are opportunities to calm these apprehensions. That’s why the Oklahoma Insurance Department is supporting the National Retirement Planning Week® 2018. This week, I am recommending you make a conscious effort to focus on your financial needs in retirement no matter what life stage you’re in right now.

It is possible to retire on your own terms if comprehensive plans are properly developed and implemented. Simple things, such as being proactive and routinely assessing your financial preparedness for retirement, are easy first steps towards achieving a financially secure retirement. The guidance of financial professionals will help you define and achieve your goal.

In addition to being qualified to provide you with general financial planning services, many financial planners hold insurance and securities licenses that allow them to buy or sell various insurance and investment products. Other general advisors may recommend the use of more specialized financial advisors to help you implement certain recommendations. The following is a partial list of the different types of financial advisors:

Accountant – Accountants help with tax advice and assist with your tax returns that go to the state’s tax commission and the Internal Revenue Service. All accountants who practice as Certified Public Accountants in Oklahoma must be licensed by the state. Also CPAs must be enrolled with the IRS if representing the taxpayer.

Estate Planner – Estate planners give advice on estate taxes or other related issues and put together a strategy to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. Attorneys, accountants, financial planners, insurance agents or trust bankers may all help with estate-planning services.

Financial Planner – A financial planner is someone who uses the financial planning process to help you figure out how to meet your life goals. In general the planner can look at all of your needs, including budgeting and saving, taxes, investments, insurance and retirement planning.

Insurance Agent – Insurance agents may be licensed by the state or states where they sell life, health, annuity and property and casualty insurance products. Advisors may recommend various coverages to protect your finances, but only licensed insurance agents can sell insurance products.

Registered Investment Advisor – In our state, anybody who is paid to provide securities advice must register as an investment advisor with the Oklahoma Securities Commission and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Financial planners often advise people on securities-based investments, so many are registered as investment advisors.

You can use the checklist at www.retireonyourterms.org to determine if a particular type of financial advisor will fit your needs. You can also find other resources there, such as a retirement calculator and basics on investing. For insurance information, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.

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