Your Pre-Retirement Checklist

Retirement is like fog. You’re told to prepare for it but may not understand how until it’s too late. This can be scary. But with the right tools, a financial planner may help you see through the haze and plan for your best retirement.  Check out this easy checklist to kickstart your prep.

15 years out

  • Look into long-term care. Whether you think you’ll need it or not, preparing as if you do will save you stress and time in the future. There are several payment options such as LTC insurance, a health savings account, personal savings, or a rider to an existing life insurance policy.
  • Start your bucket list. Retirement isn’t all about saving and settling down. This is a time to travel, relax, explore, and do the things you’ve always wanted. Start making your experience list now. You can estimate how much money you’ll need and create a rough savings timeline.
  • Increase savings. If possible, start increasing the amount you put away now. Though you probably have more expenses now than in retirement, you’re also probably making more now. If you have expensive plans for retirement, try reducing your budget until then.

10 years out

  • Create/update your will. Whether you have one or not, a will is essential. This can ensure your desires are fulfilled exactly as you imagine. A will can potentially prevent any confusion and lawsuits. Creating this now takes a heavy weight off your retirement planning plate.
  • Determine retirement needs. You can do this by listing anticipated expenses in retirement plus any travel or big spending plans. Consider the help of a financial planner. This professional will help you build a retirement plan and budget. They can also introduce new vehicles for saving such as life insurance, annuities, rollover accounts, etc.


5 years out

  • Tax strategy. Now is the time to tax plan. You’ll need a professional, such as a CPA. If you have a complicated tax situation or own a business, then you may save thousands through tax planning. Doing this ahead of time can plan your expenses to leave the most money in your pocket, not Uncle Sam’s. Want to know more about tax planning? Check out our blog post here.
  • Catch-up contribution. If you’re over 50 and able to, max fund your retirement accounts. This catch-up rule allows an extra $1,000 for IRAs and $6,000 for 401(k) & 403(b) accounts.
  • Pay off high-interest debts. While you should try paying off all debts, focus on the high-interest balances first. Eliminate all or as much debt as possible before retirement will ease the income-gap burden.

1 year out

  • Map income plan. Now is the time to figure out where you’ll receive income. Is your retirement account(s) enough? Do you need Social Security benefits? Will you be working part-time? Calculate how much you’ll need and where you’ll get it, so you have time to make changes if necessary.
  • Decide when you’ll take Social Security benefits. Determine if you’ll need it right away or not. If you can delay it, you’ll receive a bonus of about 8% for each year delayed.
  • Health insurance. Will Medicare be enough? For many, it’s not. If you’re retiring before 65, then you won’t be eligible for this insurance yet. A financial professional can help with supplement health savings. Consider any pre-existing medical issues when looking for the right insurance.
  • Practice living like a retiree.  Get a taste of the life you’ll be living. Adjust your spending and savings habits and decide how you feel about your plan. Maybe not having work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Perhaps you’ll love the downtime and can take on more hobbies. A glimpse into your future life may change your plans or assure you’re on the right track.

The most important part of your plan is preparing it. Working with a knowledgeable financial professional is key to developing the right retirement plan for you. Let’s chat! Our diverse staff of financial planners, consultants, tax specialists, attorneys, and more are here to help! Click the link below to schedule.


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