We spend so many years of our life working. Once we reach our early 20s, we can expect to invest some 40 years in pursuing our career or job opportunities. Our everyday existence centers on showing up for work at a fairly early hour, responding to an avalanche of emails and tackling multiple project tasks with tight, conflicting deadlines. It’s no wonder that we are stressed out all the time.
Then, suddenly, we reach our 60s and retirement is just around the corner. In a way it feels like it will be a carefree time, with little in the way of obligations or responsibilities. Before we do stop working, though, there are many key choices to be made and important things that need to be addressed. It’s time to map out our plan for the future, begin looking into retirement planning apps and put the building blocks for our retirement into place. These decisions will shape our financial future over our remaining years to come.
- Decide What Age You Will Retire and Take Social Security
While some may think of 65 as a classic retirement age, in reality you could to take your Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 70. The retirement age for full benefits is calculated on a sliding scale of sorts, depending on the year you were born. Currently, for example, if you were born in 1960 or later, full retirement age would be 67.
If you wait to collect Social Security until your full retirement age, you’ll receive your full monthly benefits. Conversely, if you retire earlier, your monthly payment will be reduced by a small percentage for each month you are retiring before your full retirement age.
- Talk to a Medicare Expert
Another area where you need to do your research and make key decisions is with Medicare. It’s helpful to think of Medicare as a maze, where your role is to solve the puzzle and make sure you get the coverage you need. There are many different options ranging from Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and you’ll need to do lots of research to decide what your best options are.
It’s really helpful to talk to a medicare specialist who can help guide you through the maze and explain the pros and cons of the add-on plans that are available. You may have different choices depending on where you live, so you’ll need to give your guide your zip code so they can find the choices that apply to you.
- Decide What State You Want to Live In
When you retire, you’ll find that there are tax and cost of living decisions that need to be made. Some states will tax your retirement benefits while other states will not. The policies vary dramatically by locale so it’s well worth doing your research and making the right decision here.
An area’s cost of living should also be a factor in deciding where your retirement home should be. When you are on a fixed income, you’ll want your monthly costs to be kept to a minimum. Choosing a location with lower costs for housing or rent, food and other monthly expenses can make a big difference in your lifestyle.
As you enter your 60s, it’s never too early to begin planning for your upcoming retirement. Key decisions need to be made related to your retirement age, your Medicare and supplemental health coverage and the tax and cost of living implications of where you choose to live.