When someone enters their 60s, there are many financial planning topics to consider, such as Social Security planning and maximization, pension optimization – depending on what potential benefits you have available to you – Medicare selection and, ultimately, retirement goal planning. These are stressful decisions that you don’t have to go through alone.
Whether you are planning on working through your 60s or looking to retire in the upcoming months, this checklist will help start thoughtful conversations with your financial advisor about properly approaching this important decade of your life.
Can I Replace My Income and Other Benefits in Retirement? – There is always the option to work part-time. If a phased retirement makes more sense for your situation, working part-time may give you additional income and medical coverage. Here are some other factors to consider:
- Max out your retirement plan contributions and health-savings accounts while you are eligible
- Develop a strategy for income and tax-efficient distributions in retirement
- Evaluate the best Social Security strategy. Many factors go into this decision, such as health, the need for income and longevity, which will help decide when to start receiving benefits
- Sign up for Medicare, potentially as soon as three months prior to turning age 65, even if you will be delaying Social Security beyond 65
- Review your portfolio allocation to ensure proper income and appropriate risk as you near retirement
Have You Revisited Your Retirement Budget? Your expenses will change as you near or enter retirement. Some liabilities, such as the mortgage, new car and college expenses will shift to “How am I taking care of myself regarding healthcare?” Here is why you should revisit this in your 60s:
- Readjust your budget to account for changes in income and recurring expenses. Ongoing expenses may stay the same or adjust, but some employer-provided benefits, such as medical coverage, may need to be paid from retirement income
- How do you feel about having a mortgage in retirement? You might have a reduction in income as you leave your peak earning years and enter retirement. Will this burden cause you stress? Are you going to potentially impact the portfolio even more, depending on how great the mortgage is, by paying it off, or can we use your retirement income going forward to pay off that mortgage as we have on a regular schedule?
- Do you have pension income, Social Security benefits, or excess levels of cash to cover upcoming expenses? Or will you need to start pulling from other accounts? Working with a financial advisor can help set up regular payment schedules with the appropriate tax withholding to simulate a regular “paycheck,” like you received in your working years
What Is My Ongoing Investment Strategy? As your age and goals in life change, so should your investments. Here are some things to consider when adjusting your investment strategy:
- With large market swings, too much equity exposure could cause serious damage to your portfolio. Allocating the appropriate amount of risk based on different accounts and objectives will be important in retirement years
- Generating income, rather than account accumulation, should be a major consideration
Do You Have a Plan in Place for Your Family? Insurance coverage and estate planning are essential in your 60s. While there are many options that help cover individuals and their families, here are a few highlights to pay attention to:
- Most employer-provided coverage will end at retirement. Make sure you have adequate life and health insurance coverage for current liabilities or upcoming major expenses
- Purchase long-term care insurance, as this may be your last opportunity before it becomes cost prohibitive. Explore different opportunities to provide protection. With every year that you wait, your health might change, you might not pass underwriting and your costs might increase.
- Are all of your beneficiaries updated to reflect your current intentions?
- Having Wills, Powers of Attorneys, and Advance Health Care Directives that include the proper language will be even more important as you get older. Ensure that you have a plan in place for your estate and loved ones after you are gone or incapacitated
- Does a trust make sense for your situation? How will you shelter assets for beneficiaries that cannot handle the assets on their own or avoid probate?
Start Planning Now
It’s not too late to plan. Your 60s are an important time to reflect on your hard work up to this point, so you want to be sure a solid plan is in place for the future. Whether you plan to continue working into your 70s, or you’ve been retired for years, focus on income planning and having adequate funds to maintain your lifestyle.
As a financial advisor, I help clients go through this journey by providing them with an expert and caring opinion throughout the process. My goal is to make sure you only need to retire once! This checklist is meant to serve a general guide to making some important financial and life decisions.
At Hefren-Tillotson, we feel it is never to early or too late to be thinking about retirement or about putting your plan in place. To get started on your comprehensive MASTERPLAN®, contact me at 412-633-1524 or at email@example.com. I am dedicated to helping you navigate through this dynamic time.