When doing your retirement planning, you should consider doing all these items.
- Setting up a budget. A budget is an itemized summary of estimated or intended expenditures for a given period along with proposals for financing them. In other words, it is figuring out how much you are going to spend (i.e. your expenses) and how you’re going to pay for it (i.e. your income).
- Adjusting your investment plan. As you get closer to retirement, adjust your investment plan. Make sure your money has the opportunity to keep growing. While you may scale back the amount you’re investing in stock funds in favor of more conservative investments, you still need the opportunity to outpace inflation. You may also want to think about consolidating assets as you near retirement. Leaving funds in a number of places or institutions makes it more difficult to manage your income and your investments because you’re juggling statements and putting more time and effort into keeping track of things.
- Determining whether you’ll be transferring any of your assets to family or other beneficiaries. If so, will it be during your lifetime or after?
- Drawing up a will. You’ve worked hard to save your money and accumulate assets. Now, make sure they’re distributed as you would like after you’re gone. See an attorney. If you’ve already drawn up a will, you may want to review it annually. Legal provisions you’ve made at other life stages may need to be adjusted to be more appropriate for your current situation. Perhaps your marital status has changed, maybe you’ve accumulated more assets or other life-impacting changes have occurred. Make sure that in the event you or your spouse should become incapacitated your affairs will be handled in the manner you desire.
- Considering setting up trusts for children, grandchildren, charities or others, if appropriate. This may reduce your estate taxes and help protect your assets. See an attorney.
- Determining life insurance needs. Do you have enough and should you create life insurance trusts?
- Putting your important legal paperwork in order. This includes wills, a living will, trusts, power of attorney and medical power of attorney. Also assemble information on key contacts in your life: your attorney, accountant, financial adviser, doctors and dentist. Compile a list of account numbers you hold. Tell a trusted family member or friend where to find this information.
- Apply for Social Security. You should apply for Social Security three months prior to when you want to retire and start receiving Social Security benefits.
- Apply for Medicare. You should apply for Medicare Hospital benefits three months prior to your 65th birthday if you are not already receiving Social Security benefits. If you would like to file for Medicare only, you can apply by calling 1 (800) 772-1213 or make an appointment at any Social Security office. If you are already getting Social Security retirement, disability benefits or railroad retirement checks, you will be contacted a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and given the information you need.
- Continually reassessing your retirement income plan, your budget, will, trusts, life insurance and insurance needs. A successful retirement plan requires a periodic review at least annually-to make sure it’s still meeting your objectives. Reevaluate your plan when market conditions change, your needs change and if time and asset withdrawals change your retirement investment plan.
The information provided in this page is not intended to be legal or tax advice. You should consult your attorney or tax advisor for information that relates to your specific circumstances.
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