Retirement planning is something that should go hand in hand with estate planning. If you are like most people, however, you may not know where to begin when it comes to planning for your retirement. While saving money for your Golden Years is certainly a retirement planning priority, there are a number of additional steps you should also take to prepare for retirement. To help get you started, we have created a “Retirement Planning Checklist” for you to use. Given the highly personal nature of retirement planning, your checklist may include additional steps as well; however, the following common steps should get you started.
20 Years or More Away from Retirement
- Calculate how much you need to save for retirement
- Sign up for employer sponsored retirement plans
- Try to maximize yearly contributions
- Start an IRA
- Keep an emergency savings fund to prevent using retirement funds
- Start a separate college fund to keep those expenses separate as well
10 to 20 Years from Retirement
- Re-calculate how much you will need for retirement to account for any changes
- Increase contributions to retirement plans if possible
- Get an estimate of your retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration’s website
- Work toward paying off your home and any other long-term debt
- Discuss investment options with your advisor to create additional retirement income
- Incorporate Medicaid planning into your estate plan
5 to 10 Years from Retirement
- Re-calculate your estimated retirement needs
- Start liquidating assets that are not being used or that are costly to maintain
- Re-invest profits from liquidated assets
- Discuss your retirement budget with your financial advisor to make sure your investments and savings will support your plans.
- Set a target retirement age.
- Make sure you understand the difference in your Social Security benefits if you retire early, on time, or late.
Less than 5 Years from Retirement
- Prepare a monthly retirement budget based on what you spend right now. Assume you will need about 80 percent of what you spend now; however, that is countered by a 2-3% cost of living increase each year, leaving you with a monthly need during retirement of about what you spend now.
- Check your Social Security Retirement benefits again as they should be close to what you will actually receive at this point.
- Create a withdrawal schedule for your various sources of income. Some sources, such as an IRA, may have required distributions. Make sure you know when you are required to start taking those.
- Consider downsizing your home.
- If you plan to move to another city/state/country, start looking for housing there at this point.
- Make sure you understand the tax implications of retiring.
- Consider rolling over retirement accounts into an IRA.
- Review home, auto, health, and life insurance policies and make any recommended changes.
- Review your estate plan and make any necessary changes.
If you have additional questions or concerns about retirement planning, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.