The subject of retirement accounts doesn't usually make for compelling late-night reading.

In the age of Netflix and Kindle, there's plenty of fascinating content available at your fingertips 24/7.

Having said that, there's an argument to be made that your retirement account deserves a serious upgrade on the list of things you often think about.

After all, what's more important than the hard-earned dollars you've socked away while working your tail off on a daily basis?

Removing emotional bias, your savings, investments, and retirement accounts probably rank just after your family, health, and career in terms of ultimate importance.

A healthy retirement account can actually be such a positive that it can provide a boost to other life priorities.

It's critical to note that "healthy" doesn't necessarily equate to "high value," either.

Having a "healthy" retirement account can simply mean it's structured to give you the best possible chance for success - that it's aligned with your goals, expectations, and risk profile.

Consequently, ensuring your IRA or 401k plan is working for you, instead of against you, might actually be worth a few extra moments of your time.

The good news is this process doesn't need to be burdensome or time-consuming.

By following a relatively simple recipe, you can build your own rainbow and fill your own pot of gold:

1. Assess

You can't get the most out of your retirement accounts without a solid understanding of your current situation.

This process involves answering some questions that will help you organize and assess your retirement situation:

What retirement accounts do I currently hold?

Are they optimal for my situation?

Is this information organized and readily accessible?

How are the assets in these accounts currently being managed?

Do the investment objectives match my goals and risk profile?

What changes can be made to streamline and optimize my retirement planning?

Answering the questions above will put you in a much better position to best analyze your current situation such that you can adjust it as necessary to better reflect your vision for the future.

2. Plan

Taking the next step in this process should be exciting.

Now you are ready to ensure that your retirement situation actually fits your goals and risk profile.

You can start the planning process by plucking any low-hanging fruit.

This might be by rolling several retirement accounts into a single one. Or, this may involve adjusting the investment strategy and objectives of your various investment accounts (including retirement) such that they are consistent with each other and your investor profile.

As we age, situations and priorities change, and these realities need to be reflected in retirement planning.

By compiling and organizing your complete retirement picture, you will at least now have the ability to analyze a complete snapshot of information.

Because each and every person's exact situation is so different, the plan of action going forward will vary.

Like anything in life, the information you need to help you with this process is out there - all you need to do is take the initiative to find it.

3. Deploy

Once you have assessed the information and made a plan of action, you now have a list of tangible steps you can take to get where you want to be.

During this stage, the most critical factors are determination and discipline.

You have your plan, now you just need to go through each step of the process and ensure that everything is set up appropriately and accurately.

4. Adjust

You are organized, you have a plan, and you’re executing it.

Now comes the vigilance.

By occasionally reviewing and adjusting your retirement plan, you will be increasing your probability of success.

This may involve only minor changes, but even those changes - spread out over many years, may have a significant effect on the growth and/or protection of your retirement assets.

Parting Shots

Retirement planning, like any successful venture in life, has the greatest chance for success when you put a solid plan in place and execute on it.

We'll be following up with some more detailed information on retirement accounts in the near future.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to follow up with any questions.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Check out Strategies for your IRA and IRA Options in the tastytrade archives!

If you have any follow-up questions email us at