Four essential retirement tips to consider for the coming year
|By: Mary A Durra, CFP®|
There is an abundance of things you need to do prior to retiring. A great place to start is to organize a checklist to ensure you address all your questions, concerns and issues.
Here are four points to make sure you include on your list.
1. HEALTH INSURANCE
If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, you need to find out if it will carry over into retirement years.
Some employers offer health insurance benefits for their retired employees, and some even extend the offer to spouses as well. Find out what coverage options for which you are eligible and be ready to choose the one that best fits your situation.
If employer-sponsored retiree health insurance is not an option, then you will need to shop for a Medicare supplement plan. Whether you have employer coverage or not, you will most likely need to enroll in Medicare at some point -- either immediately upon retirement, or, at age 65 if you retire at a younger age.
2. RETIREMENT PLAN OPTIONS
Investigate your retirement plan options. If you have a pension, find out the different monthly payout choices, and if a lump sum payout also is available. Determine whether you should do any pension enhancement planning, such as choosing the single life option, and purchasing permanent life insurance to cover your spouse.
If pension enhancement makes sense in your case, you need to begin the process well in advance of retirement to ensure that you have the coverage in place before signing any pension documents. If you are under age 59 ½, be aware of how to avoid an early withdrawal penalty.
Know what options you will have for your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan. Find out the process for rolling it over into an IRA, and when you will be able to do it — typically it is within a few weeks after your final paycheck.
3. PRACTICE RETIREMENT SPENDING
Live like you already are retired for at least 12 months before you actually do retire.
Extra income should go straight into a savings account to build a cushion for any shortcomings in your plans for spending needs.
Estimating spending needs is usually the most difficult task for pre-retirees - many people answer this by delineating the sources of income they will have or listing the expenses that they won’t have any more.
What you actually need to do is take it a step further and understand everything you will need to spend money on when you’re retired — not only regular things like taxes and utilities, but also periodic things like vacations and house or car repairs. It is crucial to incorporate non-regular expenses into your planning.
4. DELEGATE THE WORRY
Make sure you have the right advisors to help with all your planning. You’ll want to consult with an insurance agent who specializes in Medicare supplements, and a financial advisor who understands pension enhancement planning and retirement income maximization techniques. Let them help guide you into retirement as stress-free as possible.
Mary A Durra, CFP®
Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor
Featured in the Crain's Cleveland: 8.14.2021