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10 Things to Know Before You Retire

Transitioning into retirement means going through a lot of changes financially and in your day-to-day lifestyle. While most people look forward to the day they can finally retire and relax, too many people go into retirement unprepared.


Before you take the leap, make sure you’re aware of these 10 important things.


1. Understand your expenses: Know how much money you’ll need to live comfortably each year after you retire. Once you know that amount, you’ll be able to see if you’re in good shape for retirement planning or if you’ll need to make some changes.


2. Income plans: Once you retire, where will you pull your money from? You probably have an IRA or retirement plan through your employer, but you should also consider setting up investment funds or other savings accounts for retirement so you’re better prepared.


3. Lifestyle plans: Before you retire, you should consider what you want your life to look like during retirement. Do you want to prioritize travel or another hobby that will require funds? Additionally, you should think about ways to maintain your health and wellness, so you can live life to the fullest.


4. Revisit investments: The way you set up your investment portfolio years ago may not work for you as you enter retirement. Revisiting your investment strategy and moving things around will keep your assets more fluid and secure.


5. Minimize debt: If you enter retirement with existing debt, you’ll need to put a portion of your retirement funds toward monthly payments, which can affect the amount you have to live off of. Eliminating debt before retirement can free up your finances later.


6. Insurance plans: Managing insurance plans can be tricky as you enter retirement, since your health insurance will need to switch over. You’ll want to think ahead to avoid any insurance snags and maintain consistent coverage until Medicare takes over. You also may need to consider adding new plans, such as long-term care.


7. Explore Social Security: If you plan to rely on Social Security benefits, be sure to explore your options to maximize the benefits available to you. Make sure you know when it’s the best time to apply and find out how much you can expect to receive.


8. Estate planning: As you sort out your finances for retirement, you should also sort out plans for your estate. Although you will hopefully have many more years to enjoy your property, possessions and investments, it’s a good idea to set up wills, trusts, powers of attorney and related documentation to make the transition easier on your beneficiaries and minimize probate.


9. Consider downsizing: If you know you have a home much larger than you’ll need during retirement, consider downsizing to a smaller home to improve cash flow. Keep a close eye on the market before retirement to know when it’s the best time to make the switch.


10. Create a budget: Ultimately, having a well-rounded view of your finances will help you create a realistic pre- and post-retirement budget that helps you live comfortably, achieve your goals and stay prepared. Take time to create a budget that will work for both stages of your life and make the most of your finances.


Get prepared for retirement


Planning ahead and staying informed before retirement can ultimately set you up for a more stable, successful future. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get your retirement plans in order.

There are a lot of aspects to retirement planning, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Set up an appointment with a retirement advisor for help in navigating your finances and getting prepared for one of the biggest changes in your life.