Welcome to your 60’s! You’ve made it through the many years of careful planning, budgeting and diligent saving, and now it’s time to start thinking about retirement. While much of the hard work is behind you, how you manage your assets in the coming decades will still have a major impact on your ability to maintain your current lifestyle.
Below are our top tips for making the most of your 60’s and beyond.
Take stock of your savings.
The first step to transitioning into retirement is to take stock of the assets you’ve built over your career, like your 401(k) and IRA accounts. If these funds are spread across multiple employers, putting them together into one account will give you a better sense of whether your investments are properly allocated while also helping to limit fees.
You’ll likely have a target retirement date by now, but you should carefully evaluate how long your assets will last you and adjust your retirement date to maximize your comfort. If 2-3 more years of maxing out your retirement account contributions makes sense (including the additional over-50 annual catch-up), seriously consider it.
Your retirement income will also include Social Security benefits depending on when you decide to start receiving them. If possible, hold off until after age 66 – your lifetime benefits could grow by about 8 percent a year if you wait until age 70 to start receiving them.
And, of course, keep in mind that although this is the decade many people quit working, it’s not a requirement. If you love what you’re doing and can still mentally and physically do the job – keep doing it! Not only will it allow you to keep building your retirement savings, but recent studies continue to show the many intellectual and psychological benefits of staying engaged with society and maintaining a sense of purpose. In other words: work is actually good for you (if you love what you do).
Set a long-term budget.
Having a realistic idea of how long your savings will last you is a critical part of choosing your retirement date and the kind of lifestyle you’ll enjoy during the golden years. Financial planners usually suggest you’ll need 70 - 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to cover living expenses after you stop working. Of course, you’ll need to adjust that depending on healthcare needs or if you plan to work part-time.
But while many of your current costs - like commuting - will disappear, it’s possible that other categories, like entertainment, will get higher. Here’s one idea: see if you can calculate how your costs unrelated to work have risen over the past 20 or 30 years. Is there any reason to think that trend won’t continue? Use that increase to project ahead for your needs.
If your retirement funds appear to be coming up short, but you can’t delay your retirement date, think about options to lower your cost of living. Downsizing is a great and obvious way of lowering your cost of living, but a lesser known strategy is moving to a more affordable area.
Many urban coastal areas cost as much as 30 percent more than other regions of the country. What’s more, some states have no income tax, which could lower your overall expenses even more. Although it may seem out of reach, moving internationally can also be a great way to live affordably. Some Latin American countries have programs to attract US retirees by granting them residency and allowing them to move over belongings, like a car, tax-free.
Prepare for unexpected health stuff.
Many retirees who initially sign up for Medicare often get a serious wake-up call – some health care expenses are suddenly no longer covered by insurance.
Items like dental care or long-term care, such as assisted living costs, often require supplementary insurance. In our discussion of tips for your 50’s we noted that long term-care insurance can be the right option for many people (but for others, it can end up being more expensive than the care it is worth). The best way to determine this is to meet with a financial planner and insurance broker that can give you advice on the policy that’s right for you.
You may also want to look into other supplemental medical insurance like Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans that can help you limit out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment (that’s because, in addition to Medicare’s deductible, you’ll be on the hook for 20 percent of the cost of most kinds of outpatient treatments, like doctor visits, with no limits on what you can ultimately owe).
You’ve worked a long time, but your retirement could last nearly as long. Before you stop working, take a reality check to ensure that you have the means to live the life you expected in retirement.
Plan for a bright future ahead.
There’s no law that says you have to retire. If you love what you’re doing, keep doing it. Plus, every year that you delay retirement keeps your nest egg growing – not to mention that delaying your draw on Social Security until 70 will max out your monthly benefits.
Plan for your physically declining years by considering long-term care insurance.
Sign up for Medicare once you stop working full time.