Things to do if you’re Six Months from Retirement
Retirement is knocking at your door. It is countdown time. You know that the choices you make today will ultimately affect your lifestyle in the future. Now is the time to do some careful double-checking of all your plans and preparations.
- Determine if you’ll be eligible for retiree medical and life insurance benefits; if you have a working spouse, don’t forget to review his or her retiree benefits. If either of you is planning to retire early, determine what your insurance plans, and Medicare, will and will not cover.
- Complete a thorough inventory of all your assets. This includes your 401(k) plan, IRAs and other tax-deferred plans, personal savings, and investments. You should be able to get accurate retirement figures from your employer at this time. Don’t forget to include non-income-producing assets, such as your home, cars, rental or vacation property, jewelry, antiques, artwork, or miscellaneous items of value.
- If you’re eligible for Social Security, audit your personal Social Security record. A Social Security Statement is sent annually to all individuals age 60 or over who are not yet receiving Social Security benefits. Review your Social Security Statement to determine the monthly benefit you can expect to receive. If you are under the age of 60, you can expect your statement every five years. If you have not received this statement, you can register for online access with the Social Security Administration and view your statement whenever you wish.
- Picture what your retirement will be like. If you are planning a second career, or you’re considering moving to a different location, start exploring your possibilities now.
- Plan to handle any shortfall in retirement income. This may mean turbo-charging your savings and investment strategy, selling a home, altering your lifestyle, or postponing retirement.
- Learn the different ways to access your pension and/or account balance from your company savings plans. Re-investment considerations are important here.
- Be aware of the tax issues involved when taking distributions from your retirement plans.
- If you’re planning to sell your home, make sure you know what tax opportunities and pitfalls exist.
- Make estate planning a financial priority. Make sure you are taking advantage of tax planning strategies to minimize estate shrinkage and maximize transfer of assets to family members, heirs, or charitable organizations.
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