What to think about when thinking about retirement

What to think about when thinking about retirement

How much thought have you given to growing old?

A little? A lot?

Wherever you are, keep these things in mind when thinking about your financial future as you age:

  • The longer you wait to plan, the more difficult the decisions surrounding your financial situation will become.  
  • Not only do the decisions get tougher, but the expenses can swell due to potential healthcare needs and shifts in living arrangements.

Start thinking about your retirement and life after work by clicking on the suggestions below:

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Thinking ahead

Find a retirement planner

Retirement planners are skilled in understanding Social Security, pensions, taxes that may accompany retirement income and more. Most importantly, they can help determine if and when you can retire and highlight potential shortfalls if you do.

Note: Estate planners are not retirement planners. Estate planners help determine where your assets go after you die.

Don't keep plans too secret

Understandably, you might want to guard information and protect relationships with your spouse and children. However, bringing them into your decisions can lead to sound financial management conclusions understood and agreed to by all.

Timing also is key. Approach the subject before it’s too late, such as when issues like cognitive decline appear.

Also, talk about matters beyond money such as health care, estate planning, funerals and assistance from family members.

Discuss health concerns with doctors and family

If you have a chronic condition such as COPD or diabetes, talk to your doctor about long-term scenarios and potential complications concerning your health. This may help determine how much care you might need in the future and bring projected budget forecasts into focus.

Put advance directives in place

Advance directives — like a living will — are legal documents that provide guidance if you become temporarily or permanently unable to make or share decisions about your health or finances.

More about advance directives

Daughter holding mother's arm at table

Thinking financially

Learn to budget

Even better, learn how to stick to one. Find simple tools online to get started.

Get fluent in Medicare

Know what Medicare covers while painting your post-retirement picture.

Need it explained in plain English?

Visit our Medicare FAQs.

Calculate your Social Security benefits

It’s another crucial income source for your post-retirement years.

You’ll find several helpful calculators by clicking here.

Review auto, health, life and property insurance coverage

Insurance experts suggest reviewing your policies annually. Set aside time to discover potential savings.

Are cost breaks available depending on certain milestones you’ve crossed? Can you save money by bundling coverages?

Is there a policy you can dump? Is there coverage you should add?

Examine long-term care plans

Most people want to grow old at home. The reality is, the older you get, the less likely you’ll be able to.

The percentage of people who will live in a nursing home increases from 1 percent of people ages 65-74, to 3% for people 75-84 years old, to 10% for people 85 and older.

However, resources ranging from non-medical services at home to assisted living are there to meet older Americans’ needs.

Long-term care insurance policies cover various services and settings.

Research withdrawal rules behind your IRA or 401(k)

Generally, your first distribution from an IRA or 401(k) is required around age 70½.

Federal withdrawal rules

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service

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