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Your Pre-Retirement Checklist

As you get closer to retirement, use this checklist to help decide if your goals and finances are on track.

  1. Decide how and where you'll spend your days. Saving enough for retirement is important, but it may not guarantee a happy and fulfilling retirement. The transition is not always easy — you can prepare by setting goals and making plans for how to spend your time in retirement. Watch Real Retirees — Insights on Handling the Unexpected‡, and see how some real couples dealt with the transition.
  2. Create a retirement budget. Estimate what your expenses may be during your retirement years. Don't forget health care costs — which some studies estimate to be around $265,000. Will you have enough retirement assets to last through your retirement years? Use this worksheet to help you find out.
  3. Review options for Social Security benefits. To learn more about Social Security and your eligibility, visit ssa.gov and select Retirement Estimator.
  4. Check retirement plan balances. Determine if your savings are on track to replace 80% of your estimated pre-retirement income when you retire. To get started, sign on to your retirement plan account. On the Dashboard you'll see an estimate of where you stand. You can also add other retirement savings you may have to see a more accurate estimate.
  5. Review life, auto, and homeowner’s insurance coverage. Are your current policies in line with what you may need during your retirement years? Is your coverage affordable? You may want to consider long-term care insurance, too.
  6. Review health coverage. If your employer offers retiree health insurance coverage, find out how much it will cost. Check out Medicare's website for details about its plans, costs, and when you can apply. You may also want to research Medigap policies to find the best coverage if you need it.
  7. Review beneficiaries. The beneficiary designation for your retirement plan account could override your will. If you don’t name a beneficiary, your assets could become part of your probate estate, which can take a long time to distribute.
  8. Evaluate your investments. Rebalancing means that you reallocate your account balance based on your investment strategy. This may be necessary when market fluctuations cause one or more investments to exceed your targets while other investment balances drop below your target allocation. Evaluate your investments to ensure they still match your timeline to retirement, goals, and risk tolerance.
  9. Make a plan for withdrawing retirement assets. Decide how you want to receive your savings (as a lump sum or in periodic or monthly payments), when to start taking withdrawals, and in what order.

As you near retirement, it might be the time to talk with a financial planner. A financial planner can help you look at the big picture, including your retirement accounts, insurance, and other investments, while also helping you create an income plan for retirement.