Pre-Retirement Checklist


You have been dreaming of this moment for years. The time has come to start planning for your retirement. To ensure that you are set up for a successful retirement, we have compiled  eight items that you should cross off your financial checklist  before you say goodbye to your nine-to-five.

1. Plan Your Retirement

One of the key steps to your pre-retirement planning is  knowing how you plan to spend your retirement. Do you dream of golfing every day or traveling across Europe? Do you plan on having a part-time job or turning a hobby into a small business? Your decisions will guide the rest of your retirement planning.

Use a budget-tracking tool to monitor your spending habits, determine where you can cut back, and ensure that all of your invoices are paid on time. As a self-employed worker, your budget is likely to change from month to month, but by closely monitoring your spending, you can establish average monthly income and expenditure totals.

2. Establish a Budget

Add up all of your assets to get a full understanding of where your retirement savings currently stand. Review your 401(k), IRAs, stock portfolios, real estate holdings, pensions, and any other assets you may have. This will give you an idea of  whether you have saved enough to enjoy the type of retirement you have dreamed of, or if you want to spend a few more years saving.

Calculate your necessary living expenses against your retirement portfolio to ensure that you will have enough savings to live comfortably.

If you aren’t retiring for a few years, try living on your proposed retirement budget during this time. This will allow you to see whether your projected budget is realistic.

3. Decide on Insurance

Health care can be one of the costliest items on your retirement checklist. A 65-year-old couple retiring can expect to spend at least $275,000 in healthcare-related costs over the course of their retirement. 1 If you are retiring before you qualify for Medicaid, that number could be even higher.

Ask your human resources department and insurance company whether you can  extend your existing insurance coverage into retirement. You will also want to look into supplemental insurance plans as Medicare Part A accounts only for hospitalization costs.

4. Prepare an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund will help you avoid dipping into your retirement savings for an unexpected medical or housing expense. It will also give you a cushion in case there is a downturn in the market. Aim to have  six months’ worth of living expenses set aside  in your emergency account.

If you already have an emergency fund in place, simply keep those assets in a high-yield savings account to earn maximum interest on them.

5. Plan Your Housing

Will you stay in your current home during your retirement or will you be downsizing? Do you have a plan for what you will do if you or your spouse needs additional care? These decisions will greatly impact your budget.  Stress-test your budget with different housing scenarios so that you know what options are available to you.

6. Know When Your Social Security Payments Begin

You cannot fully plan for your retirement without knowing  when you will begin withdrawing Social Security benefits. For many, Social Security benefits begin after they turn 66. If you able to hold out until you reach 70, you may be able to increase the amount of your payments. Use the Social Security Administration’s retirement calculator to get an estimate of how much you can expect from your SSA payments:

7. Find the Right Financial Advisor

A good financial advisor can help you navigate the ins and outs of retirement. He or she can help you realign your investment goals and adjust your budget throughout retirement as unexpected expenses arise.

8. Plan Your Withdrawals

With your financial advisor in place, now is the time to  lay out your withdrawal timeline. Your advisor can help you decide which funds you will want to tap into first, and which you should let mature more. He or she can also run different scenarios to show you the tax implications of tapping into your different retirement accounts, and how that may impact your annual income.

Set Yourself Up for Success in Retirement

How you prepare for your retirement may be the biggest set of financial decisions you make in your life. Taking the time to work through this pre-retirement checklist can start you on the right track to retirement success.

For information on how the high-yield financial products available from UFB Direct, including  UFB Best Savings  and  UFB Best Money Market, can help you to save for your retirement, please contact us by telephone at 1-877-472-9200 or by email at

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1 "Expect to spend more on health care in retirement - even if you're well" by Kelli B. Grant, CNBC.  August 24, 2017

Pre-Retirement Checklist