Retirement is a big life change, and oftentimes people begin to think about retiring long before they actually do. So if you find yourself in a similar boat and thinking about retiring soon, here are some early-bird tips to start on in the last year before you retire.
1. Talk to your partner
It’s important that your spouse in on board with your lifechanging decision as well. Talk to your partner about how your retirement might change your family’s lifestyle and routine.
If you are home all day and they are still working, maybe they expect you to pick up more of the workload at home. Conversely, if they are already retired or a stay-at-home spouse, you may have to adjust to being around one another far more frequently. Either way, it’s important to talk about this as a team and have their full support.
2. Vision board
Having a solid idea of what your goals and dreams are for retirement can help you actually accomplish those dreams. Additionally, you will be better able to financially prepare for your future and ensure that you really can do everything you want in retirement.
3. Update your health insurance plan
Because most peoples health insurance is given through their job, once you retire, things will probably change. Maybe Medicare is the best choice for you, or maybe your company allows retirees to extend their coverage for a while post-retirement through a COBRA plan. Either way, it’s important to figure out your plan early on and enact it.
4. Think about what you want your housing situation to look like
Once you retire, you don’t have to live near where you worked. That’s a huge freedom! But it’s also a potential for huge change. It’s important to decide if you want to retire in place or move somewhere you’ve been dreaming of, and plan accordingly.
5. Plan for your retirement taxes now
Because retirement funds are often spread out in many different accounts, all of which have different tax requirements, there can be quite a lot of work sifting through all these numbers. You should get as much information as you can in order to optimize your retirement accounts and taxes.
6. Make a budget
When you retire, you lose a big chunk of your consistent income. You’ll have to rethink your budget and be real about what is available to you.
7. Detail your pension
Your pension will help you out a lot in retirement, but there’s a lot of choices to make before you can start collecting. This is something you’ll want to do long ahead of time, because according to The Retirement Manifesto:
“The process of understanding my options and implications took several months.”
8. Claim your Social Security
According to Barber Financial Group:
“nearly 96% of American’s are claiming their Social Security at a sub-optimal time, collectively leaving $3.4 trillion on the table. That’s $111,000 per household of lost retirement income due to claiming at the wrong time.”
You’ll want to do a lot of research on Social Security in order to know when exactly to claim it. This can take a while so you should start it in advance.
9. Personal calendars are going to come in clutch
While up until this point, you have probably organized most of your life through a work calendar, things are about to change. Once you lose access to your company’s servers, you’ll have to figure out a new method for tracking your appointments and events. You should start doing this long before retirement so that you don’t lose any events in the transition.
10. Move your personal files out of work
Many people keep personal files on their work computers, but this won’t work after you retire. It will help for you to find ways to manage your files outside of work, so that you can keep a hold on these important documents and family photos after you leave the office for good.
11. Start planning your estate
Estate planning is a vital step for everyone, regardless of how big your estate is, everyone has one. And, since it helps your loved ones too, you should thoroughly plan exactly what your estate will be managed once you are gone.
12. Talk to people at work
Transparency is important during big changes. If you’ve been at the same company for a while, you have probably become an essential part of the company. You should be upfront with your boss as soon as you make this decision, so that they can properly plan for your departure. Additionally, you should communicate with HR, because they can help you plan for certain aspects of your departure.
13. Pay off debt
Financial independence is important at any point in life, but in retirement it becomes much harder. To make things easier, you should pay off any debts you have while you still have a paycheck.
14. Maintain contact with people, don’t keep everything in your work address book.
Similarly to moving your personal files off the work server, you should also move your address book out of the work server. After you retire, you’ll have much more time to keep in contact with all sorts of people, and having a personal address book will make this even easier!
15. Make your larger acquisitions now
You know that R.V. you’ve been thinking about buying to drive around the country with? It’s best to buy that pre-retirement, while you still have a paycheck. It’s hard to buy larger items when you are retired, so plan ahead.
16. Don’t rely on your work phone
Once you retire, you’ll lose rights to your work cell phone and fancy computer. You should be prepared and own and understand your own technology and gadgets, so that you can still be connected to the internet age even once you retire.
Okay, now the fun part of retirement planning. You’re gonna need to find some ways to fill up your days without working. This will give you so much freedom to find your passions and develop some skills. It’s important to keep your mind and body occupied even out of the office, and find some more fulfillment in life.
18. Begin the countdown
You have so much to look forward to in retirement. Once all the planning is out of the way, you should embrace the newfound freedom and excitement. Get a countdown app, or simply cross the days off a calendar, but you’ve got some good stuff to look forward too!
19. Begin your farewells.
Once you retire, you won’t be seeing the same colleagues that you saw on a daily basis for years. This can be a little sad, but everyone will be very excited for you to begin your next adventure. You should say goodbye to as many people as you can.
20. Say hello to the new you.
With a big life change comes all sorts of opportunities to embrace different sides of yourself. Retirement is scary, but also a lot of fun. If you plan ahead, you leave yourself more time and space to simply enjoy all that retirement can be.
To learn more, read this article.
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