So, you’ve finally set your retirement date.
Time to start your new job – getting ready for post-career life.
Whether your target date is five years or five months away, here are 9 things you should start thinking about and take care of before you pack up the office and turn in your ID badge, courtesy of Wisebread.com. Taking care of this business will help with your transition and set the stage for a great retirement.
1. Establish your retirement budget. Ideally, this was done well in advance and tweaked as things changed. If not, sit down with your spouse and lay out all your expected monthly expenses. Compare this with all your sources of retirement income – Social Security, savings, pension, rents, part-time work, et cetera – and make sure it’s all in synch. If not, look for ways to reduce costs or increase your income. Be sure to allow for one-off expenses (a special trip) and emergencies in your budgeting.
2. Pay off your mortgage. The happiest retirees have no mortgage, based on research for my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think. A paid-off house frees up a ton as monthly cash flow and eases your mind if things get tight down the road. While you’re at it, pay off those credit card balances, too. You don’t want crazy interest-loaded minimum payments eating up any of your retirement nest egg.
3. Consider relocating. Your money will go further living in a low-cost area. If you aren’t really tied to your expensive current location, begin looking at places that offer an appealing lifestyle with lower taxes and cost of living. There are many college towns in the middle of the country that fit that description. If you are adventurous, think about joining the thousands of Americans who have retired in low-cost countries, many of which are in Central and South America, an easy plane ride away.
4. Start researching insurance. Your Medicare coverage kicks in at 65. If you are retiring before that age, you’ll likely need to buy a policy. It ain’t cheap. Budget about $1,000 per month for a policy that will cover you and your spouse.
The verge of retirement is also a good time to review your other insurance policies – home, auto, life – to make sure you have the right coverage for this stage of life. For example, you may no longer need that huge life insurance policy that was designed to replace 20 years of your income.
5. Look at downsizing. It might be time to let go of that big place you needed to raise three kids. Moving to smaller quarters offers many potential benefits – smaller maintenance and energy bills, shorter honey-do lists, and maybe even a profit from the sales that can be used to fund other wants and needs.
6. Get a part-time job. Working part-time is a great way to ease into retirement. It provides familiar routine, purpose, a place to meet new people, and additional income that can take pressure off your savings. Start thinking about jobs that might appeal to your interests, and give you enough flexibility that you begin to enjoy the freedom of post-career life.
7. Assign a power of attorney. Designate someone you trust implicitly to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. Trust me when I tell you to prioritize this decision. We never know what’s coming for us, and I’ve seen too many cases in which suddenly diminished people were financially victimized – often by family members.
8. Create a will. A will lays out your wishes for the distribution of your estate. Incredibly, 41% of Americans don’t have a will in place. If you are among that number, you risk the state deciding who gets the fruits of your life’s work.
9. Consider buying a rental property. If you have met all your other retirement-related money goals, think about buying a rental house or condo to juice your monthly income. Think careful on this one, as there are lots of potential pitfalls and will need to devote time and energy to the property, even if you decide to fork over some of the rent to a management company.
Wow! That’s quite a task list. You might be busier on this job than your full-time gig!
Well, at least the boss of your retirement-prep job is a cool guy.
Disclosure: This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only. It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.