Retirement is more than sleeping in the Monday after your farewell party – it’s starting the next chapter of your life.
Before you leave work for the last time, you’ll need to prepare. There are many considerations in retirement planning: defining how you want to spend your time, taking stock of assets, evaluating your health and insurance needs, deciding when to start collecting Social Security, crafting a budget and more. Among the important things you need to prepare, here are five you should do to get started.
1. List key expenses
Whether you’re planning to travel, relocate or even work part-time, it’s important to budget. Draft a list of your monthly essentials – including larger expenses such as a mortgage and travel. Having a realistic plan for monthly expenses can go a long way in helping ensure you can enjoy all retirement has to offer.
2. Look over your assets
An important part of being able to budget in retirement is knowing what assets you have. Account for what you have in the bank, investments like IRAs and 401(k) plans, and fixed income like pensions and social security. If you aren’t aware of the retirement benefits provided by your employer, speak with your Human Resources representative.
3. Set aside emergency funds
It’s always good to have an emergency fund to help reduce financial and emotional stress in a crisis. An emergency fund can also help you avoid having to sell any of your investments or change your plans. If you or your spouse is still working, you should try to put away enough cash to last 12 to 18 months. A retired couple should have two full years of cash saved to fund everyday living expenses.1
4. Evaluate Estate Planning Documents
Regardless of the size of your estate, an effective estate plan, or will, may be necessary if you want to ensure the right parties inherit your assets. Review documents you have in place to verify that they accomplish your intentions.
5. Nail down your health and life insurance plans
Before retiring, be sure that your health insurance and life insurance are in order. Some employers allow retirees to stay on their health plan for a premium. In many cases supplemental insurance is needed so it’s important to know your options. Additionally, take care of your health by staying active, scheduling regular checkups and keeping in touch with friends and family. Some life insurance coverage may still be available from your employer, but remember that employer-provided coverage, unlike a policy of your own, can be discontinued at any time. Life insurance can give you peace of mind by offering financial protection to those who depend on you if you were to pass away.2
1 10 Key Steps to Take Before You Retire, Forbes, 2014.
2 Strategies to Use Life Insurance for Retirement, Investopedia, 2017.
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