Whether you’re a soon-to-be retiree, a late-career professional, or a younger person trying to figure out your retirement ahead of time, it’s crucial to know in advance what kinds of choices you’ll have to make during retirement. Here are some important items to check off before you hit that milestone.
Use your time wisely
You’re undoubtedly looking forward to getting a break from work when you retire. But what will you do instead of working? Many retirees find that the structure and sense of purpose work provided them is lacking in retirement, and while some retirees do well with the increased freedom, others thrive on routine and consistency. Either way, it’s important to plan for how you’ll fill your time with activities that bring meaning and purpose to your life.
While you’re making these plans, take a look at your current lifestyle and make sure it aligns with the goal of being able to enjoy your desired hobbies and activities in retirement. Are you planning to spend more time with friends and family? Make sure these relationships remain strong during your working years. Do you want to pursue an active hobby, or travel extensively? You may need to pay increased attention to maintaining your health and fitness in order for that to happen.
Figure out your health needs
Your health is one of the biggest determiners of your quality of life in retirement. Before you retire, you’ll want to start figuring out factors like how to meet your healthcare costs, where to get medical care, and what kinds of lifestyle changes might give you a better chance at a long and healthy retirement.
If you have long-term health needs, now is the time to explore ways to maintain your health and mobility in retirement. You may decide to move to an area with access to the type of care you need, for example, or modify your home for increased accessibility.
Get serious about your legacy
For many retirees, a significant part of retirement planning is estate planning. If you haven’t updated your will or trust, or if you’re unsure what would happen if you passed away unexpectedly, you might want to revisit these topics with an attorney or financial planner.
If you have a permanent life insurance policy, such as universal life insurance, that’s also an important part of your legacy. The guaranteed death benefit can be a great way to leave something to your significant other or family members.
Find your happy place
When searching for a place to retire, you might want to look at more than just the weather. Write down a list of priorities and decide how much each of them matters to you. For example, your top priority might be living close to family members, while lower tax rates or sunny skies might be nice-to-haves.
Make sure to share these considerations with important family members, like your significant other or children. If you and your loved ones disagree on prioritization—for example, if your spouse wants to live somewhere with access to fine dining, while your top priority is public transportation—it’s better to have these disagreements now than to find out after you retire.