Financial planning: building up—and around—your retirement nest egg

March 15, 2024

Help reduce the stress of retirement with a well-rounded financial plan. Here's how to get started. 

Does financial planning sound intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. Building a well-rounded strategy can start with simple questions about your goals and can give you confidence in your future. By understanding the key elements of a sound financial plan—with the help of a financial professional—you may be able to mold a more complete vision of the retirement you want to live.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning is a process for setting, tracking and achieving your financial goals over time. It involves evaluating your current financial situation, determining where you want to be in the future, and establishing a strategy for getting there. And when it comes to retirement, financial planning is an integral part of helping you live the life you want when your working days are done.

Financial planning first step: self-awareness

A powerful first step to any financial plan is knowing yourself. Setting money aside for the future can help you start building financial stability. But better understanding your goals for retirement—and potential roadblocks to getting there—will help clear your path toward retirement success.

  • Cut the stress out of retirement. Take inventory with an interactive tool designed to give you insight into the impact that stress can have on your retirement. TEST YOUR PERSONAL STRESS
  • Pursue your next passion. Follow an interactive assessment and discover ways to connect your interests and hobbies to new activities in retirement. EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS
  • Prepare your financial plan. Learn how to avoid potential threats to your financial security and determine if your plan is ready to support the retirement you deserve. CHART YOUR FINANCIAL PATH

What makes a well-rounded financial plan?

With clarity around what you want out of retirement, you can better strategize your path to getting there. Your financial professional can help you address these key areas to make your financial plan balanced and tailored to your retirement goals.

  • Saving, investing, and generating income. Once you retire, covering your day-to-day expenses with savings becomes key. A steady income stream, like an annuity may be able to provide, can help bridge the gap between the savings you've accumulated over time and traditional sources of retirement income.
  • Balancing protection and growth. Depending on your risk tolerance, asset growth is possible with many different types of annuities. Think of income protection and growth in the form of a risk spectrum—how much are you willing to expose yourself to potential market loss, and how much do you want to gain?
  • Planning tax-efficiently. Saving on your tax bill may be important to you—particularly when drawing income and investing. Annuities can potentially help you grow your retirement assets while managing the impact of taxes.

Saving, investing, and generating income

An annuity is a retirement product that may provide reliable income when you need it. It can help bridge the gap between the savings you’ve accumulated over time and traditional sources of retirement income, like Social Security. Plus, if you don’t need the income immediately, you can let an annuity potentially grow tax deferred.* That’s why an annuity may be a powerful addition to your financial plan.

At Jackson, we have a variety of financial calculators and tools that can help clear up the financial planning process. With these tools, you can work with your financial professional to explore how much income you might need in retirement—and when. Then you can make a more informed decision about whether, and which, annuity products are a right fit for your plan.

  • Retirement expense & income calculator. Our retirement expense & income calculator provides a way for you to work with a financial professional to effectively project expenses in retirement using factors such as current income, retirement age, and retirement state. You can also calculate the gap between essential expenses and guaranteed income to discover potential solutions.
  • Social Security calculator. Social Security is a foundational part of a retirement income plan, and deciding when to start collecting monthly benefits is an important decision. Our Social Security calculator, powered by Envestnet MoneyGuide, is designed to help make your decision easier.

Balancing protection and growth

Annuities may potentially serve multiple purposes in your financial plan to help meet your unique retirement needs. As with any investment, annuities can be selected based on a balance between the risk and reward of the specific product.

To understand them better, let’s look at different types of annuities (along with various investment types) and how they’re commonly utilized in financial plans. EXPLORE THE BENEFITS OF ANNUITIES

Annuity types: Fixed index annuities (FIA) returns based on the performance of an index, and there is no return-nor loss-when the index is negative. Registered index-linked annuities (RILA) greater potential returns in exchange for some protection when an index is negative. Variable annuities (VA) full market participation in exchange for absobing loss due to market downturns. Investment types: Risk spectrum scale depicting Less risk / Less reward up to More risk / More reward showcasing CDs, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Stocks in that order. Disclaimer: this risk spectrum is for illustrative purposes only, is not intended as a complete comparison of all characteristics of the referenced investments, and does not showcase all potential differences and risks.


Planning tax-efficiently

When it comes to financial planning, you likely want to keep more of your earnings invested toward your retirement. And that's one of the advantages of annuities. You can defer taxes on your interest and investment earnings until you take income from them.

That’s good news because this tax-deferral period can have a dramatic effect on the accumulation and withdrawal amounts of your investments. USE THIS CALCULATOR TO SEE HOW.


Talk to your financial professional about your retirement goals and how an annuity may support your financial plan for retirement.

*Tax deferral offers no additional value if an IRA or a qualified plan, such as 401(k), is used to fund an annuity and may be found at lower cost in other investment products. It also may not be available if the annuity is owned by a legal entity such as a corporation or certain types of trusts.

Annuities are long-term, tax-deferred vehicles designed for retirement and are insurance contracts. Variable annuities and registered index-linked annuities involve investment risks and may lose value. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed. Individuals may be subject to a 10% additional tax for withdrawals before age 59½ unless an exception to the tax is met. Add-on living benefits are available for an extra charge in addition to the ongoing fees and expenses of the variable annuity and may be subject to conditions and limitations. There is no guarantee that a variable annuity with an add-on living benefit will provide sufficient supplemental retirement income.


Before investing, investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the variable annuity and its underlying investment options. The current contract prospectus and underlying fund prospectuses provide this and other important information. Please contact your financial professional or the Company to obtain the prospectuses. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money.

Jackson, its distributors, and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state, or local tax penalties. Tax laws are complicated and subject to change. Tax results may depend on each taxpayer’s individual set of facts and circumstances. Clients should rely on their own independent advisors as to any tax, accounting, or legal statements made herein.

Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of Jackson National Life Insurance Company or Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York. For variable annuities, guarantees do not apply to the principal amount or investment performance of a variable annuity’s separate account or its underlying investments. They are not backed by the broker/dealer from which this annuity contract is purchased, by the insurance agency from which this annuity contract is purchased or any affiliates of those entities, and none makes any representations or guarantees regarding the claims-paying ability of Jackson National Life Insurance Company or Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York.

The latest maturity date or income date allowed under an annuity contract is age 95, which is the required age to annuitize or take a lump sum. Please see the prospectus for important information regarding the annuitization of a variable annuity contract.

Annuities are issued by Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Home Office: Lansing, Michigan) and in New York, by Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York (Home Office: Purchase, New York).  Annuities are distributed by Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, member FINRA. These contracts have limitations and restrictions. Jackson issues other annuities with similar features, benefits, limitations, and charges. Contact Jackson for more information.

Jackson is not affiliated with Envestnet MoneyGuide.

Jackson® is the marketing name for Jackson Financial Inc., Jackson National Life Insurance Company®, and Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York®.