The Working Woman’s Retirement Plan Checklist

What women need to know:

  • Have you earned a retirement benefit(s) at any of your jobs?
  • Do you know how much your benefit(s) will be?
  • Do you know what happens to your benefit if you change jobs?
  • Do you know what happens to your benefit if you retire early?
  • Do you have retirement plan information from all of your jobs?
  • Do you know how much your Social Security benefit will be?
  • Do you know how you can save for retirement if you do not have a retirement plan?

What women need to ask their spouses:

  • Have you earned a retirement benefit(s) at any of your jobs?
  • Is the benefit(s) a traditional pension benefit or a 401(k)-type plan?
  • Do you know how much the benefit will be upon retirement?
  • Will I receive a benefit in the event that you become disabled or die?
  • Do you know how much that benefit will be?
  • When are you entitled to retire and receive a full or partial retirement benefit?
  • Do you know whom to talk to at work about this?
  • Does your current job allow you to save through a tax deferred savings plan such as a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) account?
  • When should we discuss our overall retirement strategy to plan for our future?
  • Do you have an Individual Retirement Account? Am I the beneficiary?

What women need to ask their employers:

  • Does the company offer a retirement plan?
  • Does the plan cover or include my job?
  • Can my plan benefits be reduced by Social Security or other government payments?
  • How long does it take to earn a legal right to the plan or to be vested in the plan?
  • Do we have a tax deferred savings plan such as a 401(k) or a 403(b)? Does it offer employer matching contributions?
  • What’s the present value of your retirement plan
  • What would happen if you changed jobs?

What women need to ask if contemplating divorce:

  • Is my attorney knowledgeable about splitting retirement benefits in divorce?
  • Am I eligible for a portion of my spouse’s retirement plan?
  • Will I qualify for a portion of my spouse’s Social Security benefit?
  • How can I ensure that my spouse does not give the benefits to someone else?
  • Can I ensure that my spouse does not select lifetime benefits in lieu of a joint and survivor annuity?
  • Is there a life insurance policy that names you as the beneficiary?

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