The Ultimate Retirement Checklist

Investment 101

Published: May 8, 2022

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Retirement: It’s a word that conjures different images for different people. For some, it’s a long-awaited time of relaxation. For others, it’s a time to pursue new interests and hobbies. 

There are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to retirement planning. Some people might want to retire early, while others might keep working for as long as possible. The average age of retirement is around 62 years. Regardless of when you plan to retire, it’s important to have a retirement plan.

Preparing Financially

Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it’s never too early to start saving for it. The sooner you begin setting aside money, the more time your money will have to grow.

Ideally, the rule of thumb for saving for retirement is the 80% rule. This guideline counsels you to aim to replace 80% of your pre-retirement income. This will help ensure that you don’t outlive your savings.

In addition to saving, it’s also essential to eliminate debt before retirement. This will reduce the amount of money you need to cover your expenses and give you more financial flexibility in retirement. There are several ways to achieve this, but one of the most effective is creating a budget and sticking to it. Then, you can get a clear picture of your financial situation and start taking steps to improve it. 

Take Inventory of Your Assets

It’s a good idea to take inventory of your financial assets before retirement. This will help you determine how much money you have to work with and your options. Every debt, liability, savings balance, income stream, and insurance policy should be accounted for. Also, don’t forget to include any important belongings that may influence your bottom line.

Some of the most common financial assets include:

  • Traditional IRA: A tax-deferred retirement account. You don’t have to pay taxes on the money you save in the account until you withdraw it.
  • Roth IRA: A special type of IRA that offers tax-free withdrawals in retirement. This account is best for people who expect to be in a higher tax bracket when they retire.
  • 401(k): An employer-sponsored retirement account. This account allows you to save money on a pre-tax basis, which can help reduce your tax bill each year.
  • Other assets: Common financial assets include stocks, bonds, gold, and real estate.

It’s essential to have a variety of financial assets in retirement. This will help ensure that you’re not too dependent on any one investment and that you’re prepared for any financial emergencies.

Along with having a diverse portfolio, it’s important to invest in assets that will be fruitful even in hard times, such as gold, and even a Gold Individual Retirement Account. Since gold is a physical asset, it’s typically a stable investment and is resistant to inflation. Learning the best way to invest in gold and other things such as real estate allows you to spread financial risk and have a financial cushion.

Review Your Savings Accounts

Take stock of your accounts. The sooner you start contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, the longer your money has to grow. And thanks to compound interest, even small contributions can add up to a large sum over time.

Of course, there may be times when you must withdraw money from your retirement accounts early. However, according to the IRS, you can take penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts once you’ve reached age 59-and-a-half.

Starting early allows you to take advantage of tax-deferred growth. This means that you won’t have to pay taxes on your earnings until you withdraw them from your account, at which point you may be in a lower tax bracket.

Build an Emergency Fund

It’s crucial to build an emergency fund for any problems you may encounter during retirement. This will provide you with a financial cushion in case of unexpected expenses.

Ideally, you should aim to have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses saved in your emergency fund. This will give you enough money to cover most financial emergencies.

You can use several methods to build your emergency fund, including:

  • Saving your spare change: You may be surprised at how much money you can accumulate over time.
  • Setting up a budget: This will help you ensure that you’re not spending more money than you have available each month.
  • Taking advantage of a high-yield savings account: This type of account offers competitive interest rates, which can help your savings grow faster.

If you’re having trouble building an emergency fund, consider working with a financial advisor. They can help you develop a savings plan that works for you.

Preparing Mentally

Many people find retirement is a time of significant change. Not only do you have to adjust to a new lifestyle, but you may also have to deal with new financial responsibilities. This can be a lot for some people to handle, so it’s essential to prepare yourself for retirement mentally.

Keep Yourself Busy

As you age, social isolation can become a major problem. This is especially true if you’re no longer working and don’t have many friends or family members nearby. One of the best ways to combat loneliness and boredom in retirement is to keep yourself busy. 

According to a study published in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, over one-third of adults aged 45 and above are lonely, and almost one-quarter of those aged 65 and older are socially isolated. They have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even premature death.

To stay busy and socially connected, consider taking up a new hobby or traveling the world. There are many activities and hobbies that are perfect for retirees, including:

  • Gardening;
  • Reading;
  • Traveling;
  • Painting;
  • Playing golf;
  • Taking classes.

If you’re unsure what activity to try next, consider talking to your friends and family members. They may have some great ideas that you never thought of.

Approach Life With a New Outlook

One of the best ways to enjoy retirement is to approach it with a new outlook. Instead of looking at it as the end of your life, think of it as the beginning of a new chapter. This will help you stay positive and motivated, which is essential for a happy retirement.

If you’re having trouble staying positive, consider talking to a counselor. They can help you to work through your feelings and come up with a plan to stay positive in the future.

Plan for Retirement as Soon as Possible

The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better. This will give you plenty of time to save money and adjust to your new lifestyle.

There are several things you can do to prepare for retirement, including:

  • Automate your savings — This means a fixed amount of money will automatically be transferred from your checking account to your savings account.
  • Invest in stocks and mutual funds — These types of investments can help your money grow over time.
  • Talk to a financial advisor — They can help you create a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle.
  • Review your expenses and make cuts if necessary.

The most important thing is to start planning as soon as possible.

Freshen up Your Communication Skills

Retirement can provide the perfect opportunity to freshen up your communication skills and rebuild those important relationships. Without the demands of a job or caring for children, you finally have the time to pick up the phone, send a card, or even visit your loved ones.

If you’re unsure how to start, consider doing something small, like sending a text message or writing a letter. Once you get the ball rolling, it will be easier to keep the communication flowing.

Preparing Physically

While financial planning is essential for retirement, it’s also necessary to prepare physically. This means staying active and eating a healthy diet. According to studies, physical activity helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Find activities you enjoy. There are many ways to stay active in retirement, including:

  • Exercising is a great way to stay healthy and prevent diseases. 
  • Swimming offers exercise without putting stress on your joints. It’s also a great way to cool down in the summertime.
  • Gardening allows you to exercise while taking in the fresh air. It’s also a great way to relax after a long day.
  • Hiking offers a chance to see the world and get some exercise simultaneously.
  • Volunteering is a great way to stay active and give back to the community.

It’s important to note that while it’s important to stay physically active, you also need to eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods.

Review Health Insurance Benefits

Typically, retirees have Medicare, which is a government-sponsored health insurance program. Medicare provides coverage for hospitalization, doctor visits, and prescription drugs. To be eligible for Medicare, you must be 65 or older or have a qualifying disability.

If you are eligible for Medicare, it’s important to review your health insurance benefits before you retire. This will help ensure that you have the coverage you need and can make the most of your retirement years.

Here are some tips to help you review your health insurance benefits:

  • Reading your policy — This is the best way to understand your health insurance benefits. However, it can be difficult to understand, so you may need to ask a friend or family member to help you.
  • Making changes — If you don’t like your current health insurance plan, you may be able to make changes during the open enrollment period. This is typically a window of time when you can switch plans at the beginning of the year.
  • Checking costs — It’s important to compare the costs of different health insurance plans to find the one that fits your budget.
  • Getting help — If you need help understanding your health insurance benefits, you can contact the plan’s customer service department or a financial advisor.

Your health is in your hands, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to stay healthy during retirement.

Maintain Your General Health

In addition to financial planning and staying active, it’s important to maintain your general health. This means seeing your doctor for regular checkups, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress.

Regular checkups are important because they allow your doctor to catch any potential health problems early on. This makes it easier to treat them and may even prevent them from developing in the first place.

Other common benefits of maintaining your physical health include:

There are several ways to stay healthy in retirement, so it’s important to find what works best for you.

Get Active

One of the best things about retirement is that you have more time to do the things you love. This includes getting active and spending time with friends and family.

There are many physical activities that retirees can enjoy, such as:

  • Yoga;
  • Cycling;
  • Walking;
  • Pilates;
  • Water aerobics.

No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is to enjoy this new phase of your life.

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