The Guide to Retirement Checklist

Jeffrey Haxton
Certified Financial Planner™

So you’ve got that feeling that you’re close to retirement. All your years of hard work to reach the ultimate reward. But you might not be fully confident to take that next major journey in life. It’s completely okay to have this feeling as it is normal for anyone who has been working a long time to get to this point in life. Use this checklist as a starter guide to rate your own retirement readiness.

Reassess your goals

Now that you’re close to your retirement, are you still picturing the same life style you always have? Does traveling across the world hold the same appeal as it did 15 years ago? Or are you now thinking about staying closer to home with family? This is the time to think about what your retirement will look like and if your goals have changed.

Prepare a balance sheet

Once you decide on your vision for retirement, it’s important to understand if you’re on track to meet your savings goals. Prepare a balance sheet showing your assets and liabilities to determine your net worth. Assets include personal possessions of value, such as cash, real estate and investments. Liabilities are your debts and legal obligations. If you’re falling short on your assets, do what you can to bulk these accounts up before your retirement.

Build your retirement budget

Prepare a monthly budget or spending plan to give yourself an idea of what your actual living expenses will be once you are not working. Make sure to include any of your retirement goals such as travel. This will give you an estimated idea of what you want to spend each month and can compare with your assets to see if this lifestyle is affordable. Underestimating expenses is one of the biggest retirement mistakes people make.

Social Security

Deciding when to start taking Social Security can affect your retirement income for the rest of your life. If you begin taking benefits when you first become eligible at age 62, you will receive less per month then you would if you waited until age 70. However, this is a decision that is different for each person’s individual plan and there is no right answer. It’s best to talk through this with a financial planner before you decide to take Social Security because once you start taking it, you’re locked into that amount.

Know your post-retirement employer perks

If you’ve qualified for a pension or health benefits, make sure you understand the process and what rules apply. With a pension, you may have to choose between a lump sum and annuity payments. If you have a 401k plan you may have options to leave your money in the plan or roll it over to an IRA account.

Take a test drive

To be truly confident in your ability to retire, try living for a month or two on the income you expect in retirement. If it’s smooth sailing, great! If not, you may want to rethink your expenses, income or both.

For more information on your retirement checklist listen to my interview with Clay Moden on 106.5FM WYRK. Also if you want assistance getting ready for your retirement, call our office to set up an appointment.

WEEKLY SEGMENT ON WYRK

You can catch our weekly Plan.Protect.Invest. segment live on WYRK 106.5FM at 7:20am every Wednesday. Each week we will have a Sgroi Financial planner on with Clay Moden and the WYRK morning show to discuss financial topics to educate and help their listeners.
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