It’s only when their birthday cake is covered with 50 candles that most people start thinking retirement has moved from an idea to a reality, says The New York Times in the article, “Countdown to Retirement: A Five-Year Plan.” Suddenly those ads about annuities and Medicare Part B are a lot more interesting. Even the AARP mailings, are deemed important enough to read.
Retirement is now too close for comfort. Do you have enough money saved? Is your portfolio invested properly, or is it too aggressive? Is it not aggressive enough? What about that long-term care insurance plan you’ve been meaning to buy? Do you have a will?
This sudden awakening usually hits about five years before retirement. It is not a bad thing. In the next five years, you can take important steps that will enhance your retirement life significantly. However, you don’t have to make all of these decisions right now. Spread the work out over a few years and do it at a comfortable pace. Just make sure that you do it.
Here’s some key points for planning your retirement:
- Take an honest inventory of your finances. How much have you saved, what are you expecting from Social Security, and do you have any other retirement income? Will it be enough?
- Where do you want to live during your retirement? Start researching communities right now if a move during retirement is in your future. There are an enormous number of choices. Do you want to live in a CCRC—continuing care retirement community—where you start out in a townhouse or apartment and then move to assisted living or hospice as your needs change?
- Do you have a long-term care insurance policy? If you or your spouse were to become ill and require long-term care, do you have enough assets to pay for it, while enjoying the rest of your own retirement? If not, you need an LTC policy. They are expensive, but so is the cost of nursing care.
- If you project your care needs will outpace your funds, you may want to consider Medicaid Planning.
- Who will you lean on if you need assistance with financial or medical decisions in the future? Sit down with an attorney to discuss medical and financial powers of attorney, as well as your will, which may need to be prepared or updated.
- How do you want to spend your time? Many people enjoy the first two weeks of retirement. However, the reality of not working then hits and they don’t know what to do with themselves. Consider what brings you joy and fulfillment. You’ll have many options: volunteering, going back to school, working part-time or maybe even traveling to visit family and friends. These are all possibilities.
Advanced planning for the many different aspects of retirement increases your likelihood of enjoying this next stage of your life.
Reference: The New York Times (July 6, 2018) “Countdown to Retirement: A Five-Year Plan”