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Retirement: Are You Ready?

RetirementBelieve it or not, the last five years before you retire may be some of the most critical in retirement planning. Don’t wait until the very last minute to make sure you are prepared, says Michael H. Milarski, a partner and senior financial advisor with Signature Financial Planning. “Retirement is such an important transition for an individual and, oftentimes, people are so busy with their day-to-day lives that they don’t sit down to begin planning for this transition until they are a few months from their desired retirement date. As a result, they find themselves scrambling to try and get all of their ducks in a row at the last minute,” says Milarski.

A recent Fox Business article, titled “5 Things to Do Now if You’re Near Retirement,”says that these are the five important things to work on in the five years before you retire.

Calculate Your Post-Retirement Expenses. In addition to calculating how your monthly bills will line up with your projected income, you also should include all of the things you want to do once you stop working. Things like travel, hobbies, and spending more time with family are probably on many future retirees’ lists. Many things like these will cost money.

Create a Plan to Avoid a Potential Lapse in Medical Coverage. Medical insurance is critical and only becomes more important as we get older. The Affordable Care Act dictates that if you lose your coverage for any reason other than a qualifying event, you won’t be able to get health insurance until the next annual open enrollment period. The article cautions you to make sure you don’t have a gap in medical coverage between your date of planned retirement and when you become eligible for Medicare.

Create a Plan for When to Tap Into Your Retirement Income. Calculate how and when to access your retirement savings to create an income stream that will last the rest of your life.  This will include examining your monthly retirement budget and funding that budget with your available retirement income sources, such as Social Security, pension, retirement investments, savings, and so on. The article suggests you develop a plan to initiate all of your retirement income sources in the best possible way.

Update All of Your Estate Planning Documents. A will, living will, and power of attorney are essential and must be reviewed for changes in your situation, like if your children are now grown and/or you have accumulated more assets. An attorney can help create or update your estate plan so that your assets pass to your beneficiaries exactly as you want and in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

Look into Tinkering with Your Life Insurance Portfolio. When your kids are grown with families of their own, there may be less of a need to continue paying your life insurance premiums. The article says that if you have an existing life insurance portfolio that was created some time ago, make sure it’s still the right solution for you and your family.

Speak with an estate planning attorney to get more help with your retirement plans.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Fox Business (May 22, 2015) “5 Things to Do Now if You’re Near Retirement”

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