What to Think About When Thinking About Retirement

Keep these helpful tips in mind when planning for your financial future and family after retiring.

- Posted on Apr 7, 2017

Woman calculating numbers using a calculator

Content provided by the Good Samaritan Society.

How much thought have you given to growing old?

A little? A lot?

Wherever you are, keep these things in mind when thinking about your financial future as you age:

  • The longer you wait to plan, the more difficult the decisions surrounding your financial situation will become.
  • Not only do the decisions get tougher, but the expenses can swell due to potential healthcare needs and shifts in living arrangements.

Start thinking about your retirement and life after work by clicking on the suggestions below:

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

Thinking ahead

Find a retirement planner

Retirement planners are skilled in understanding Social Security, pensions, taxes that may accompany retirement income, and more. Most importantly, they can help determine if and when you can retire and highlight potential shortfalls if you do.

Note: Estate planners are not retirement planners. Estate planners help determine where your assets go after you die.

Don't keep plans too secret

Understandably, you might want to guard information and protect relationships with your spouse and children. However, bringing them into your decisions can lead to sound financial management conclusions understood and agreed to by all.

Timing also is key. Approach the subject before it’s too late when issues such as cognitive decline appear.

Also, talk about matters beyond money such as healthcare, estate planning, funerals and enlisting family help.

Discuss health concerns with doctors and family

If you have a chronic condition such as COPD or diabetes, discuss long-term scenarios about your health and potential complications with your doctor. This may help determine how much care you might need in the future and bring projected budget forecasts into focus.

Put advance directives in place

Advance directives – like a living will – are legal documents that provide guidance if you become temporarily or permanently unable to make or share decisions about your health or finances.

Thinking financially

Learn to budget

Even better, learn how to stick to one. Find simple tools online to get started.

Get fluent in Medicare

Know what Medicare covers while painting your post-retirement picture.

Calculate your Social Security benefits

It’s another crucial income source for your post-retirement years.

Review auto, health, life and property insurance coverage

Insurance experts suggest reviewing your policies annually. Set aside time to discover potential savings.

Are cost breaks available depending on certain milestones you’ve crossed? Can you save money by bundling coverages?

Is there a policy you can dump? Is there coverage to add?

Examine long-term care plans

Most people want to grow old at home. The reality is, the older you get, the less likely you’ll be able to.

The percentage of people who will live in a nursing home increases from 1 percent of people ages 65-74, to 3 percent for people 75-84 years old, to 10 percent for people 85 and older.

However, resources ranging from non-medical services at home to assisted living are there to meet older Americans’ needs. Long-term care insurance policies cover various services and settings

Research withdrawal rules behind your IRA or 401(k)

Generally, your first distribution from an IRA or 401(k) is required around age 70½.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service

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