To get the most out of your retirement days, it’s best to create and follow a retirement checklist. We’ve put together a list of 10 things you need to do before retirement!
10. Dream Big
Spend time dreaming about what you want your retirement life to be like. Start building a bucket list of things you want to accomplish in retirement, including things beyond just travel.
In addition to the places you’d like to visit, you can explore French cuisine, create your own garden or write a book.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to go snorkeling or swimming with a dolphin.
The sky’s the limit, so don’t be afraid to think big and get excited about your next chapter!
Consider Reading: 25 Best Vacations on a Budget
9. Expand Your Social Network
Staying connected to others is an important part of life, no matter what stage you’re in.
When you retire, you’ll no longer be spending your days with coworkers and clients. You’ll want to find new ways to get that human connection.
Start by examining your interests. If you’re passionate about golf, maybe you’ll want to join a group that heads to the green every Thursday. Do you like to write? Why not look for a local writer’s group?
Your library may even know of a group you can join. Check with your community Senior Center to find out about day trips and special programs.
If your church has a monthly luncheon, sign up. You’ll make new friends and fill your time with fun activities.
8. Plan for Changes in Your Medical Insurance
Switching to Medicare can be a big change from what you’re for what you’re currently responsible for with your work-related insurance.
You can visit Medicare.gov to review their various plans.
If you find them to be a bit confusing or you need help comparing deductibles, co-pays and prescriptions costs with what you currently pay, so you can identify any shortages, give your local Department of Aging a call.
You can set up an appointment with a representative, who can answer any questions that you have and even make recommendations based on your specific circumstances.
7. Check Your Insurance Policies
There are two main insurance policies you’ll want to look at before you retire.
- Life Insurance: If you have a life insurance policy as part of your job’s benefits package, find out when it expires. It may only cover you while you work for the company. If so, you may wish to obtain a new policy that will cover you through retirement.
- Long-Term Care Insurance: Consider adding long-term care insurance, as it is designed to protect you and your spouse from financial ruin, should either of you need to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility in the future. Typically, most health insurance companies stop paying for long-term care facilities after 30 days.
6. Update Your Estate Plan
Now’s the time to update your estate plan. If you don’t already have one, I highly encourage you to make an appointment with an attorney that focuses on elder law.
You can certainly pick-up fill-in-the-blank wills and such at office supply stores, like Staples and Office Depot, or even download forms from websites, like NOLO, however, you won’t get the important advice and direction that comes from a knowledgeable attorney.
I’m all for being frugal and saving money, but I never skimp when it comes to legal matters.
We currently sell a Peace of Mind Planner on Amazon. This doesn’t replace a will, but rather lets your loved ones know where your will and other important documents can be found in the event of your passing.
The last thing grieving loved ones need is to have to try and sort out your finances and final wishes. This tool will help them do that without the stress.
5. Max Out Your Retirement Accounts
Each year you want to max out your retirement accounts to create more financial security during retirement. If you’re self-employed, you can still sign up for an IRA, as well as a self-employed 401(k).
I use Fidelity, but there are many other banks and financial institutions that you could go through.
4. Decide When You’ll Begin Taking Social Security
How much you get each month in Social Security income is dependent upon several things, including your age.
For example, your check will be less if you choose to retire at 62 verses if you wait until you’re 67.
The Social Security Administration has a retirement calculator on their website that you can use to quickly determine your percentage of benefits based on your expected retirement age.
You can also sign in to your Social Security account to see the exact benefit amount you qualify for based on your work history.
This figure is important to know, as Social Security itself isn’t enough to live on. You’ll be able to determine how much money you need to have set aside to supplement this check.
3. Get Rid of Debt
When you retire, you want to do so with the least amount of bills, as you’ll be switching to a fixed income. That means you’ll want to aggressively attack any debt, while you’re still working.
This includes credit cards, car loans and home mortgages.
If you have a car loan and you’re close to retirement, consider trading the car in and getting a cheaper vehicle with a lower monthly payment.
Then, continue paying the higher amount per month that you were on the more expensive vehicle. You’ll have it paid off in half the time!
We sell a Monthly Budget Planner on Amazon that actually has worksheets in it for paying off debt. If you have any debt to tackle, this could be an excellent resource.
2. Ensure Your House is Ready for Retirement
As you age, you’ll find things like stairs become much more difficult.
A home with a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor is ideal, as then you won’t have to make modifications, like adding a stair lift later on.
It’s always a good idea to be forward-thinking. If you wait until you have the need, making necessary changes become stressful and rushed.
Even if all of your bedrooms and bathrooms are on the first floor, a larger home requires more upkeep. Determine whether downsizing would be a better choice for your situation.
Downsizing would allow you to free up time for beach days and outings with your grandkids.
1. Complete Major Home Repairs
When my dad was nearing retirement, he did a complete home inspection and tackled all major home repairs.
This way, when his income was less, he wouldn’t have to deal with the large expense of replacing a roof or updating the heating system. You can hire a home inspector or a contractor to give your home the once over.
I spent about $350 for a home inspection, but you can certainly make a deal with a contractor for a little less. Don’t worry about inexpensive fixes, like paint and updated fixtures.
You want to concentrate on the bigger, more costly repairs that would be harder to cover during retirement.
What do you think about our retirement checklist of 10 things you need to do before retirement?
If you’ve taken any of these steps before retirement, or you have additional steps you’d like to recommend, let us know in the comments!
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4 thoughts on “10 Things You Need to Do Before Retirement”
Thanks for sharing your collection of 10 things to do before retirement. It’s interesting that you recommend getting a home inspection in order to identify costly repair issues, as previously the only time I have heard of people doing that is when they were purchasing a new home. It seems that someone who has been living in a home for a while would already be aware of upcoming maintenance needs and things that would need to be fixed. I think you share a lot of helpful advice, but for people who have been keeping up with their homes for a while anyway, it seems that the $350 for an inspection could be better spent elsewhere.
There’s often repairs that are unseen, yet come to light during an inspection. Before my father retired, he spent time to find out what those issues were and repair them while he had an income. Now he doesn’t have to worry now that he’s on a fixed retirement income. It’s certainly up to each homeowner, but hopefully by the time you are ready to retire, $350 isn’t that big of an expense, and like I pointed out, you can often get a contractor to give your home the once over for much less if money is an issue.
You have made some incredible points on being prepared for retirement Alicia. I am a recent retiree and even though it’s important to plan for travel, Insurance, home renovations , making sure you have your will in place, etc, the one thing you mentioned that is the most important to me is developing a social network. If you lose your partner, having friends within your community becomes a real bonus.
Your message to future retirees is an important one, being an ex bank manager I have witnessed a lot of people not implementing the procedures you discussed and ending up with no backup cash. In the end the only option for them us to survive on a small pension or take out a reverse mortgage. I hope that you get this important message out to the younger crowd.
Thanks for your insight Jim! I agree, the younger crowd needs to hear this. Many individuals don’t think about it until it’s too late.