August is an exciting time of year. As the start of a new semester approaches, families across the country begin to pull themselves out of vacation mode and think more critically about the future. A spirit of learning is in the air, which makes things just a little brighter in anticipation.

Of course, if your household doesn’t include school-age children, you can still take August as a time to reevaluate your personal development and consider areas for growth in the future. For instance, a financial health checkup is a good way to discover ways to improve your financial education.

Although many Americans think they are financially savvy, data shows the group closest to retirement, baby boomers, struggle with retirement fundamentals and are not saving enough for their golden years. Many don’t know how much money they need to live comfortably, and 25% have less than $5,000 in savings. This is in part due to the changing nature of retirement planning, the burden of which has shifted from employers to individuals as part-time, temporary or “gig” jobs grow in quantity. But no matter where you are in your retirement journey, there’s always an opportunity to learn more.

Here are five ways to boost your retirement IQ this month.

  1. Are you saving enough for retirement?

    To discover whether your current savings strategy will lead to the life you want in retirement, utilize this calculator to determine if your funds will run out after you stop working. Your results will provide insight into how long your savings will last and what changes you can make to achieve your goals.

  2. How will tax laws impact your savings?

    Certain retirement products, such as fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) have special tax benefits, such as tax-deferred growth. This calculator will help you determine how much money you can accumulate based on the type of financial product you choose: a fully-taxable account, a tax-deferred option (like an FIA) or a tax-free vehicle.

  3. What is your risk tolerance?

    Knowing your propensity or tolerance for risk can help steer you in the direction of the best retirement plan for your situation. Complete this questionnaire to see what adjustments you need to make to match your strategy to your risk profile.

  4. What are the tax advantages of annuities?

    This calculator compares the tax advantages of an annuity versus a retirement product where the interest is taxed each year, like a CD. With an FIA, you do not have to pay taxes on the interest earned until you begin making withdrawals, and this tax-deferred period can have a dramatic effect on your growth.

  5. What will your Social Security payment be?

    Many factors will impact the Social Security benefit you may receive, but you can use this calculator to make an estimate. Once you know your expected Social Security income, you can determine how much additional guaranteed lifetime income you may want from products like an FIA.

Have you mastered the above areas? There’s never a reason to stop learning. If you feel you’ve got a lock on topics like Social Security and tax advantages, consider diving deeper into the subject of FIAs to examine how they can fit into your unique life plan. Here’s a great place to start.

Back to School: Five Surefire Ways to Boost Your Financial Education

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