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Checklist: Getting Ready to Retire

With retirement coming into view, it’s time to get your financial planning into high gear. Check your progress and catch up if you need to. Plan ahead for things like Social Security, health care costs and how to go from saving to spending.

Planning to retire in 10 years or less? In addition to talking with your financial advisor, use this checklist to help you get started.

1. Sharpen your focus on retirement

The closer you get to retirement, the more important it is to be realistic about your goals and savings. By taking a close look at where you stand now, you can make changes to stay on track — or catch up if you need to.

  • Work with your financial advisor to identify a specific goal for the amount of savings you want to have at retirement — and develop a strategy to reach it. Try out different scenarios by using our retirement calculator.
  • If you still have a few years to retire, ramp up your retirement plan contributions and savings. Limits on contributions to IRAs and many employer plans, such as 401(k) 403(b) plans, are higher for people 50 and over.
  • Work to pay off all your debits, including mortgage, car loans, credit cards and home equity loans.

2. Determine your income and insurance needs

With retirement typically lasting 25 or 30 years and beyond, it's important to create a retirement investment strategy that can convert your savings into retirement income

  • Work with your financial advisor to estimate how much income you think you'll need in retirement. Take into account how many years you may spend in retirement and how you’d like to spend your time — either working part-time or leaving the workforce altogether to spend time with family, volunteer, travel and so forth.
  • If you don't already own a permanent life insurance policy, you might want to consider purchasing one from Edward Jones. It allows you to build cash value that you can pass on to beneficiaries, tax-free.
  • Consider annuities to supplement your retirement income.
  • What other financial obligations do you have? Are you caring for parents or supporting children? Do you want to help children or grandchildren with their education or leave an inheritance? Do you wish to make donations to charity?

3. Plan now for the cost of health care

With greater longevity and rising health care costs, retirement is getting more expensive. And while Medicare will pay some of your health care costs (once you reach 65), it doesn’t cover everything

  • If you’re leaving your job before age 65, determine how you’ll cover health care. 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
    • Purchasing private insurance
  • Consider funding a health savings account (HSA) on your own or at work, if your employer offers one. Qualified distributions will be federally and possibly state tax-free. Any unused balance carries over from one year to the next.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance.

4. Develop a Social Security and retirement date strategy

Although Social Security will make up just a portion of your retirement income, it’s an important part of your overall retirement strategy. Give careful consideration to when its most advantageous to take your benefit.

  • Estimate your Social Security benefits and any pensions or other government benefits.
  • Besides Social Security, you may be eligible for other benefits and programs to help pay for medications, health care, tax relief, and more. Visit this National Council on Aging website to find out.

5. Revisit your estate plan

Meet with an estate-planning attorney to ensure you have a strategy in place that will carry out your wishes. Review and, if necessary, update your:

  • Will
  • Living Will
  • Durable health care power of attorney
  • Trust

How we can help

You've been working for retirement your whole life. First, talk to your financial advisor to make sure you're on track according to your goals ‒ and then start living the life you've been planning for.

Important Information:

Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P., and in California, New Mexico and Massachusetts through Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C.; Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C.; and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C.

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