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Retire Ready Checklist
  Checklist
Create and maintain your custom retirement checklist here. Each category has suggested steps and dates. Delete the ones that don’t apply by clicking on the red X. Click "Save" to save your checklist. Print a copy any time.

  DOCUMENT YOUR RETIREMENT DREAM
Determine your priorities in order to write your dream statement (such as, golfing, grandkids, travel, volunteering, reading, hobbies, lots of nothing, new business, consulting) 10 YEARS
State your retirement dreams in writing - add photos if you like 5 YEARS
Pick a retirement date 5 YEARS
Post a copy of your retirement dream where you will see it frequently 5 YEARS
  GET STARTED
Track expenses, and evaluate whether they will continue in retirement NOW
Create a budget for now (income, savings, & expenses) NOW
Determine current net worth NOW
Get an estimate on pension or 401(k) [HFRC 1156] possibilities, and determine when you are eligible for retirement NOW
Get an estimate of your Social Security benefits from www.ssa.gov or 800-772-1213 NOW
Determine who you'll be providing for in retirement and plan for long-term care for any dependents NOW
Calculate your life expectancy NOW
Set a retirement savings goal total amount NOW
List anticipated major expenses up through retirement (college for your children/grandchildren, new autos, remodeling, home, weddings, recreational vehicles, business startup) to determine how much you can save monthly for retirement NOW
Evaluate your retirement planning skills - where you have gaps, find professionals (accountant, lawyer, financial planner, investment advisor) to assist you NOW
Determine your investment style (risk level you’re comfortable with and how involved you want to be) NOW
Open retirement vehicles, such as IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, or ESOP NOW
Start or continue saving NOW
Set up automatic transfer from your credit union checking to a retirement account NOW
Create an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses, and keep it in a liquid investment, such as a savings account or money market account NOW
Draw up a will and financial Power of Attorney NOW
Create a document that lists all your accounts, investments, wills, and policies and give a copy to your executor NOW
  REVIEW EACH YEAR
Recalculate net worth EACH YEAR
Reallocate assets to keep a balanced portfolio EACH YEAR
Review investment performance EACH YEAR
Adjust budget and lifestyle to meet retirement goal EACH YEAR
Review your will and advance directives EACH YEAR
Review and update your beneficiaries EACH YEAR
Meet with financial planner EACH YEAR
  PLAN RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE
Evaluate your lifestyle behaviors and habits, and make any needed changes now in order to enjoy your retirement 20 YEARS
Think about how you would spend your time in retirement (small business, hobbies, volunteer work, leisure activities) 20 YEARS
Think about where you want to live in retirement - new country, new state, or new dwelling? 10 YEARS
Estimate what income you might need to live on and adjust your current savings plan and lifestyle 10 YEARS
Get realistic - if you’re part of a couple, build a contingency plan for retirement on your own - just in case 8 YEARS
Make younger friends to maintain your circle 5 YEARS
Visit friends and family that are retired to get a feel for how they spend their time 5 YEARS
Join clubs or activities now to see what you enjoy 5 YEARS
Read at least one book on retiring well 3 YEARS
Plot out your first year of retirement. Are you ready for this? 12 MONTHS
Review your auto insurance - if you’re changing your lifestyle and daily driving needs, you may want to adjust your coverage 6 MONTHS
Plan an event during your first month of retirement (to give you something to look forward to) 3 MONTHS
Trust yourself, you’ve prepared - this will work, and you can face anything. Enjoy the transition. Leave room for unexpected feelings to surface 1 MONTHS
  FINANCE YOUR RETIREMENT
Plan to use your home as a hedge against inflation and a possible source of income if you choose to sell it in retirement 20 YEARS
Make saving for retirement a priority, even if you plan to buy a home and send children to college (certain retirement accounts are not considered when your child applies for financial aid) 20 YEARS
Increase your savings - if you are 50 or older, take advantage of catch-up provisions for IRA or 401 (k) contributions 10 YEARS
Do you need an estate plan? Now’s a good time to decide 10 YEARS
Shift a portion of your portfolio to lower-risk investments 5 YEARS
Evaluate your debts - consolidate into a home equity loan 5 YEARS
Consider an outside opinion - if you’re planning on your own, you might sleep easier if you hire a professional (financial planner, accountant, or other) to review your plan and weigh in on your options 3 YEARS
Create a contingency plan in the event of health problems, divorce, marriage, moving, or death 2 YEARS
Consider part-time work in retirement 12 MONTHS
Increase your emergency fund to cover 1-2 years expenses and keep it in a non-volatile investment (such as laddered certificates) 12 MONTHS
Create a plan for supplementing your income from savings - which to use first (tax-deferred or tax-free sources) 6 MONTHS
Set up automatic or online bill payments with insurance premiums, utilities, and credit cards through your credit union - especially if you think you may be away from your home for extended periods of time 6 MONTHS
Register for Social Security benefits - set up direct deposit to your credit union (age 62 is the earliest) 3 MONTHS
If you are older than 70, set up automatic required distributions from IRAs and 401(k)s to your credit union account 3 MONTHS
  REVIEW HEALTH CARE
Determine if you want a living will 20 YEARS
Create advance directives and a Power of Attorney for healthcare, and file them with your physician, hospital, and executor 20 YEARS
Evaluate long-term care insurance. If this is right for you, starting while healthy and at a younger age could save you in premiums 15 YEARS
Investigate health insurance options (what options do you have with your employer, Medicare, and supplemental) including vision and dental 3 YEARS
Tally your annual medication costs and investigate subsidizing programs 12 MONTHS
If changing health coverage in retirement, schedule checkups (dental, physical, vision) and procedures now, under your current coverage 6 MONTHS
Sign up for Medicare three months before you turn 65 (if you’re already getting Social Security benefits, your enrollment will be automatic) 3 MONTHS
If changing insurance, select new healthcare providers if needed 1 MONTH
  PREPARE FOR YOUR MOVE
If you own a condominium or home, find its value 5 YEARS
If moving to another part of the country or world, make longer visits to see if you really like the new location 4 YEARS
Consider buying property or even a home or condo in your new location now if you can rent it out easily until you retire 4 YEARS
Practice retirement in your new location. Ideally, spend a month there, and be open to the possibility that this might not be the place for you 12 MONTHS
Determine the best time of year to sell your house and if you need temporary housing until you leave the area 12 MONTHS
Find a realtor 12 MONTHS
Spruce up your house with repairs and enhancements that deliver the best return on your investment 12 MONTHS
Pack up the clutter or give it away before the first house showing (garage sale, donate to charity, take antiques to local historical society, give items to family members 3 MONTHS
  LEAVE THE WORKPLACE
Investigate saving options offered by your company, such as 401(k)s or 457s and matching contributions 20 YEARS
Set a date that maximizes benefits (birthday or anniversary of service). Work through Human Resources Department 2 YEARS
Decide when to announce your retirement to your employer, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers 12 MONTHS
Meet with Human Resources at your company to determine your options (lump sum, pension, health care continuation) 6 MONTHS
If you have an office, go through your files and drawers - determine what to keep and what to pitch 6 MONTHS
Apply for pension and benefits through HR 3 MONTHS
Set up direct deposit or direct transfer to your credit union for your company benefits 3 MONTHS
File IRS Form W-4P to designate income tax withholding for pension or annuity 2 MONTHS
Review and update designated beneficiaries for company retirement benefits 2 MONTHS
Evaluate your life insurance needs if your are losing coverage through your employer 2 MONTHS
If using COBRA for health insurance, enroll 1 MONTH
Determine what level of contact you want with coworkers after your retirement, and set up plans now 1 MONTH
  TURN OVER YOUR COMPANY
Start a solo 401(k), SEP, SIMPLE, or Keogh 20 YEARS
Decide who you want to run the company 10 YEARS
Decide what role you’d like, if any, to maintain after retirement 3 YEARS
Look for a buyer 2 YEARS
Determine what level of contact you want with coworkers after your retirement, and set up plans now 1 MONTH

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