Retirement planning checklist

Soaring health care costs and expanding life spans mean that planning ahead is more important now that ever. Use these checklists to make sure that you’re on track for a healthy, wealthy retirement.

Checklist for retiring in about 30 years
1. Control debt.
2. Establish and maintain an emergency savings plan.
3. Make regular contributions to an IRA.
4. Contribute to employer retirement plan if one is available.
Checklist for retiring in about 20 years
1. Emergency savings plan in place.
2. On track to be debt free by retirement.
3. Well-established retirement savings plans with suitable investments for your time frame.
4. Keep spending in check.
5. Update your will and consider estate planning.
Checklist for retiring in 5 to 10 years
1. Evaluate investments for suitability.
2. Emergency savings plan in place.
3. On track to be debt free by retirement.
4. Well-established retirement savings plans.
5. Determine how much money needed for retirement; compare that to current savings.
6. Work to close the gap between retirement savings and the amount of money needed for a comfortable retirement.
7. Is downsizing your home an option?
Checklist for 1 year from retirement
1. Estimate a budget for your retirement income.
2. Set up payment plan to coordinate savings, pension and retirement plan withdrawals to coincide with budget.
3. Consider part-time jobs.
4. Speak with a Social Security representative to determine when you should apply for benefits.
5. Review will and power of attorney; insure that beneficiaries on retirement accounts are up to date.
6. If retirement comes before Medicare eligibility, make plans to purchase private health insurance or continue your employer’s plan through COBRA.

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