Getting Ready To Retire? A Checklist

If retirement is soon on your horizon, it is time to kick your planning into high gear. This checklist can help you plan ahead for things like Social Security, healthcare costs and transitioning from saving to spending.

Laser Focus on Retirement

  • Define how you envision retirement and develop a strategy to reach it. Consider how you’d like to do in retirement – spending time with family and friends, traveling, volunteering, or working part time.
  • If you have a few years until retirement, ramp up your retirement plan contributions and savings.
  • Review your debt, considering if there is some you should pay down now versus carrying it into retirement.

Define Your Income Needs

  • Estimate how much after-tax income you think you’ll need and how many years you may spend in retirement.
  • Be sure to include other financial obligations – such as parental care giving, supporting children and any outstanding debt.
  • Expect your income needs to increase over time due to inflation.


Healthcare is the largest expense retirees face, so to estimate your retirement income needs, you should:

  • Understand your Medicare options, costs, coverage, and enrollment timing.
  • If you’re leaving your job before age 65, determine how you’ll cover healthcare. Some options include:
    • Enrolling in your spouse’s medical plan
    • Obtaining insurance through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace
    • Extending your employer’s coverage under COBRA
  • Consider funding a health savings account (HAS) on your own or at work, if your employer offers one.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance.

Build Your Income Strategy

  • Decide when it’s most advantageous to take your Social Security benefit, though it will be just a portion of your retirement income.
  • Estimate your other income sources, such as pensions, part-time employment, annuities and other government benefits.
  • Determine an appropriate withdrawal strategy from your portfolio to ensure your money will last.
  • Position your portfolio to provide income for today and potential growth for tomorrow.
  • Consider annuities to supplement your guaranteed income sources.

Your financial advisor can partner with you to determine if your income strategy is sustainable and help to put your strategy into action.

When Income is the Primary Focus

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