Your Retirement Checklist
If retirement is just around the corner, then first of all, congratulations! But do you have your retirement plan in place? Many seniors look back and wish they had planned things just a little better. You can avoid falling into this statistic by creating a retirement checklist. Once you have everything covered, you can sit back and enjoy those hard-earned golden years.
- Set the date: These days, not everyone automatically retires at the age of 65. For various reasons, you may want to retire early, or even continue working after 65. You need to decide what works best for you, so you can start working toward that date.
- Pay off your mortgage: If at all possible, this is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself to prepare for retirement. This will cut your expenses drastically, and you can use your cash toward things like recreation.
- Establish your lifestyle: How do you want to live during your post-working years? Even if you don't intend on lavish overseas traveling, you need to calculate things like trips to visit family, dining costs, recreation, shopping, and more. Fidelity estimates the most retirees need at least 80 percent of their pre-retirement income.
- Sign up for healthcare: This is a huge item on your retirement checklist. Obviously once you stop working, your employee health benefits will expire. You must get a healthcare plan in order before this happens, as healthcare costs are a leading cost of debt in America. If you opt for Medicare, sign up three months before the birthday you will reach retirement age.
- Maximize your investments: Whichever way possible, start putting as much money aside as possible. A great way is to contribute more to your 401(k), which allows workers 50 and older to contribute an additional $4,000 on top of the $14,000 annual limit.
- Assess the risks: Though you have money invested, there are a few things that could impact that number, such as longer lifespans, inflation, and more. It might be a good idea to meet with a financial planner to get a clear picture of what your investments actually equal.
- File for Social Security: Keep in mind, you need to file three months before the birthday on which you become eligible, but your payments will be higher the longer you wait.