The last thing you want is to outlive your assets. Your financial health in retirement will require thoughtful planning to ensure that you are comfortable and able to take care of yourself financially. According to a recent Gallup poll survey, only 33% of non-retirees planning for their retirement believe their Social Security will be a meaningful source of income, while 57% of current retirees name it as a major source. Although if you are already in the midst of planning for your retirement, you probably didn't need a poll to tell you we are in the middle of a paradigm shift. Which means knowing your personal situation inside and out, and having a plan, is more important than ever.
Starting Your Retirement Checklist
Building a strong and realistic financial foundation for retirement--before you retire-- is your first step to organize before you can consider other aspects of what you will be doing in your golden years. To help get the task started, below are some of the vital to-do items you can begin to check off on your retirement checklist:
Knowing Your Income Streams
1. Verify the amount of Social Security you will be receiving when you retire.
2. Add to that the amount of income you can plan on receiving or earning each month.
3. Now add up your estimated core expenses for living, such as housing cost, health care, utilities, food, and gas.
4. Deduct your expenses from your estimated income to arrive at a clear picture of what your financial assets and needs will be. If your resources fall short of what you think you will need, begin to explore options for making money after retirement.
5. Make a list of unexpected drains on your resources. One of the biggest shocks to financial stability for retirees is if they need long term care. If you have the means, look now for affordable long term care coverage to provide you with peace of mind.
6. Find a financial advisor to help you assess your situation and use a retirement calculator to help you track where you are versus your goals.
7. If you determine that you will need to continue working to earn extra money during retirement, begin well ahead of time to take classes to learn a new skill or train for a new field.
8. As you get closer to your retirement age, try it on for size. Put yourself on the budget you are planning for retirement and tweak it before you actually have to live on that amount of money. Give yourself enough time to make adjustments and change plans before you actually retire. If you need to put away extra money, you will have time to cut your discretionary expenses or take on extra work in order to do so.
9. If you are still working and contribute to a 401K plan, contribute the maximum amount possible until the very last day of employment.
Personal Happiness On A Budget
1. If you would like to move from your present location, begin to research parts of the country or the world that offer the lifestyle you long for and that meets your budget.
2. Remember that real estate can lose value. Think ahead of time about selling your house if you own one and downsizing to pocket the profit while you still have one.
3. Make a list of possible retirement communities that might suit your needs as well. They offer the advantage of being geared towards seniors and encouraging a feeling of community, activities, and connectedness.
4. Make a list of hobbies and passions that you would like to pursue, and look into ways you can develop them and create a new life around them.
5. Set some personal goals. Having something to look forward to is a healthy way to approach retirement years.
6. Explore personal and financial pre-retirement information on the non-profit web site mypaycheck.org for more help thinking about personal needs, financial needs, and how to successfully manage the two in your retired years.
Taking Care of Your Physical Health
1. Do you have conditions that will possibly get worse?
2. Do you need to be near certain doctors or facilities?
3. How will you pay for your healthcare after retirement? Plan ahead to ensure a smooth transition. Find local agencies and counselors skilled at helping seniors plan their health care and make full use of their services.
Preparing and using a retirement checklist will ensure you will enter this new stage of your life with minimum stress and with maximum assurance that you have done everything possible to plan and arrange for an anxiety-free, happy transition to your next adventure.