You may have considered all the fun things you will do in retirement – travel, take up a new hobby or spend more time with your family – but well before your official retirement, it’s a good idea to create a pre-retirement checklist. This checklist should help you to continue pursuing your financial goals even when your income and financial strategies have changed. Consider these options when creating your pre-retirement strategy.
1. Take Inventory of Your Assets Figure out where you stand financially by taking a comprehensive inventory of all your assets. This can include savings accounts, checking accounts, other income streams, investments, real estate, and insurance policies. This inventory should also include any debt you have. Your asset inventory may change as your assets change, so it can be a good idea to keep a running list of all your assets as you go through retirement. This can benefit both you and your loved ones in the future.
2. Determine Your Retirement Needs Consider factors like where you want to live, what you’ll do with your time, and how you’ll pay for life’s necessities. These should be factors that you have previously considered as you near retirement, but as you get even closer, it’s important that you add more detail to your strategies. It’s also important to consider how long your retirement may be so you can plan accordingly. Think about the expenses you plan to incur, as well as the different income streams you might have and how to best use them.
3. Make Decisions About Social Security You’ll also need to decide when you want to sign up for Social Security benefits. While you are eligible to begin claiming Social Security at 62, most experts suggest that you wait. As you can sign up for Social Security anytime between the ages of 62 and 70, the longer you wait to sign up the more advantageous it could be for you. At 70 you qualify for the maximum monthly benefits. You will need to decide if your other income streams can allow you to wait for as long as possible or if you might need to begin drawing from Social Security earlier than 70 years old.
4. Create a Withdrawal Plan It may seem counterintuitive to start planning to withdraw the funds you worked so hard to save and invest. But hopefully, your retirement is what you’ve been saving for. There are tax considerations for withdrawing the funds, just as there were considerations for adding the funds and maximizing your contributions when you were doing the bulk of your wealth accumulation. Depending on the type of retirement accounts or plans you have, you might consider rolling the funds into a different type of account – one that can help you minimize the taxes you’ll pay and allow you to take out the funds more conveniently.
5. Examine Your Insurance Options You should also consider your insurance coverage when thinking about your retirement expenses. Healthcare is one of the largest expenses you may face in this stage of life. If you’ve previously used the insurance options provided by your employer or your spouse’s employer when you retire, that will no longer be an option and you’ll need to secure insurance independent from an employer. If you are 65 or over and retired, you may also consider Medicare for your insurance needs in retirement.
When you’re ready to begin creating your pre-retirement checklist, contact the office. We’ll help you create a strategy that you feel comfortable with that may also help you pursue your goals in retirement.