The National Association for Variable Annuities has simplified retirement investing into four "retirement food groups": guaranteed income, long-term assets, insurance and investments.

The association hopes that reframing retirement planning will help investors tackle the daunting task of planning for their futures. With many people focusing on physical fitness and healthy eating, the retirement food groups are intended to help investors improve their fiscal fitness.

"Our goal is that by offering a simple analogy, we might encourage more Americans to take the time, on their own or with the help of a financial professional, to begin the very serious process of planning for their financial retirement security," said Mark Mackey, president of NAVA.

Direct mutual fund and separate account ownership play a role in the "investments" category, which is used for "discretionary spending, including travel and luxuries, during retirement," the association said. While investors can meet basic income needs using "guaranteed income" products such as annuities, "savings and investments can be used to make the retirement years truly golden."

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