Retirement is a big life transition, and it is important to plan carefully to ensure you have a secure and fulfilling retirement. Here is a checklist of important action items to follow as you get ready for your retirement:
1. Create a budget
The first step is to create a budget for your retirement years. This is essential, as it helps you understand how much retirement income you'll need to generate to live comfortably and within your means. So you'll want to tally up your living expenses, travel, hobbies, subscriptions, and any other expenses that you plan on having in retirement.
2. Review your retirement income sources
After creating a budge, the second step in planning for retirement is to take stock of your retirement income sources. Evaluate your Social Security benefit, pension, retirement accounts, investments, and rental income.
3. Evaluate your health insurance coverage
If you are under 65, you may need to purchase health insurance until you are eligible for Medicare. Determine how you will cover your healthcare costs and ensure that you have adequate coverage.
4. Assess your housing needs
Your housing needs may change during retirement, and it is important to evaluate your current housing needs. Ask yourself whether you should downsize or move to a retirement community. Think about your budget, lifestyle, and health when making this decision.
5. Plan for long-term care
Long-term care can be expensive, and it is important to plan for this possibility. Think through how you will pay for long-term care if you need it at some point deep into your retirement.
6. Evaluate your life insurance needs
Weight out if you still need life insurance and if so, how much coverage you will require. Consider your dependents and your financial situation when making this decision. It can prudent to maintain coverage if you still carry some large debts when you retire, like a mortgage.
7. Review your estate plan
Your estate plan should be up-to-date and include all necessary documents, such as a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance health care directive. A well thought-out estate plan ensures your wishes are honored and that your loved ones will know what to do in case of an emergency.
8. Social Security
Decide when to start taking Social Security benefits. Delaying benefits increases your monthly payment, but waiting may not be the best plan for everyone. You need to take into account your financial circumstances, government pensions (which can impact your benefit), and your goals when bringing your claiming strategy into focus.
9. Pay off debts
Typically, it's wise to pay off any high-interest debts before retiring. Sometime it can even make sense to downsize so you can reduce your expenses and pay off your debt more quickly.
10. Pursue your interests and hobbies
This last one is often overlooked when planning your retirement. But it's just as important to your health and financial wellbeing as each of the above action items. After all, retirement should be time to enjoy your interests and hobbies — you've more than earned it! So make a plan for how you will spend your time during retirement and pursue those activities that bring you joy and fulfill your core desires.
Retirement is a major life transition, and it requires careful planning to ensure that you have a financially secure and fulfilling retirement. Use this checklist as a guide to help you prepare for retirement and enjoy this new phase of your life.