Five Tasks to Tackle before Retiring
For many, retirement is an end-goal for a lifetime of preparation. Couples have saved carefully and have made plans for the day when they will have time to pursue hobbies, take classes or spend more time with family. This next phase could last for 25 to 35 years or more. The following could help you prepare:
1. Take a trip…to the dentist: In our experience, dental plans offered through employers are usually more robust than those that can be had through Medicare or supplemental policies. If your employer offers dental insurance that allows you to get some complicated dental work completed, it may make sense to schedule it sooner rather than later. This work would be outside of normal check-ups and cleanings and can include treatments such as implants or root canals. Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care and may or may not cover complicated procedures. Even though you may purchase a supplemental policy; the cost of the insurance plus deductibles may be much more than what may have been available through your workplace plan.
2. Social Security – One of the easiest ways to get a handle on your potential Social Security benefits in retirement is to sign up for an online account through https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. Through the administration’s website you can get an estimate of your future benefits. Once you have this information, you can then run a cost/benefit analysis on taking benefits at different ages. If you need help in running these projects, check in with a financial planner. They should be able to run various scenarios that can help you make a decision and come up with a timeline for taking benefits.
3. Calculate your retirement income: Retirement income is income that is derived from many sources. It usually includes sources such as the sale of a business or primary home, Social Security, employment, a pension, dividends, interest or rental income. The sources of retirement income vary but do require a careful look. Many assume that once they reach retirement, their income will be less than in their working years. For some that is the case but for many, income in retirement actually goes up. This can be especially true once you reach the age of 70½ and begin to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts. Proper financial planning should include taking into account tax implications and in planning for the most efficient ways to access income from assets.
4. Track your spending: A major question can be “How much money do I need?”. In order to realistically answer this question, you first need to know how much you are spending each year for basic and discretionary living expenses. A financial planner will again help you create a real-time expense plan and will look at other expenses that may come up such as a catastrophic illness or long-term care. They will also plan for Medicare premiums and supplemental plan payments. You most likely won’t ever get the “exact” number for living expenses as they often ebb and flow, but a good planner will help you build a plan that provides for different scenarios.
5. Pump up your HSA (Health Savings Account): If you are maximizing retirement plans and are able to contribute to your HSA (and maximize it, if possible) this could be a great benefit in retirement. Contributions to an HSA are pre-tax and distributions for qualified medical expenses are also tax-free. This can be a big benefit when you are in retirement as you can use the funds to pay for Medicare and a portion of long-term care premiums. Since the HSA doesn’t have a time limitation on its use, you can fund it during your working years to then utilize once you reach retirement. HSA funds can usually also be invested for growth which means that you can us it as an additional tool for providing income for health care expenses during retirement.
In order to work toward your retirement goals, a real plan must be utilized. Don’t just assume it will all work out. Take the necessary steps required to put your unique plan in place and revisit the plan continuously. Implement the tasks to tackle what needs to be done. This is your retirement!
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.