For many women, the years after 60 are dominated by the transition into retirement. Finally, all the savings and investing you’ve been doing for decades feel real. Your last day at the office isn’t out of reach; you can start pulling money from your retirement plans penalty-free and soon begin collecting Social Security.
As you navigate your 60s, consider these eight smart money moves.
If you’ve worked for more than one company throughout your career, you likely have multiple retirement accounts at different institutions. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to consolidate everything into one central account.
Utilizing one prominent account will make tracking statements, balances, and logins easier. Plus, if you need to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), it will be easier to keep track so you don’t miss an RMD and get hit with a hefty penalty. In addition, ensuring that the same asset allocation is standard across all accounts is much more complicated when you have many different accounts.
If you have high-interest debts, such as credit card debt, personal loans, or student loan debt, now is the time to pay it off. Follow the snowball or avalanche debt paydown strategy to eliminate your debt one at a time.
As you get closer to retiring, the last thing you want to worry about is unpaid balances on your credit cards. If you overspend by using a credit card, lock the account or cut up the card and don’t request a new one. Instead of using a credit card, try an envelope system to get control over your spending and conquer your debt permanently.
Do you know how much your retirement nest egg needs to be to retire? If not, create a desired annual budget for your retirement. Include everything from necessities to splurges. Then, using the basic assumption that you will live 25 years in retirement, you can estimate a 4% withdrawal rate per year or multiply your annual budget by 25.
You may find that you have already hit your target nest egg and can support your annual retirement budget with your investment income. Or you may need to save more.
If the latter, you have a few options: you can reduce your budget in retirement, save more for retirement now, or plan to work longer. Depending on your retirement plan, you might need to combine a couple of these options. But above all, it is essential to know your target nest egg before you retire.
Sitting on the beach daily might get boring if that’s your only plan for the next 25 years. If you can, consider taking a month or two off from work to see if your retirement plans will be ideal for you long-term.
You will also want to determine if the financial logistics are doable. During your test run, you should track your spending and compare it with how much you plan to withdraw during retirement. If your expected retirement income isn’t enough to support your desired lifestyle, consider consulting with a financial planner to get the most out of your nest egg.
Long-term care may not be the most exciting thing to think about, but about 70% of Americans over 65 are expected to require some long-term care in the future, according to a Genworth study.
If you don’t have long-term care insurance, you will either have to pay for it out of pocket or rely on family or Medicaid to support you. No matter what you decide, it’s best to share your long-term care wishes with the people who may be affected.
Analyze your insurance policies against your needs. Unless your partner doesn’t work or you are highly underprepared to retire, it will be unlikely that you will need to pay for life or disability insurance coverage.
Evaluate your car and home insurance policies yearly to check for differences in coverage amounts and compare policies across competitors. If you have trouble and want someone to review your insurance policies, speak with a financial professional.
Medicare eligibility begins at age 65; if you are considering retiring before 65, you will have to consider your health insurance options. Few employer plans offer continued group health insurance in retirement.
However, look into COBRA coverage if you have an 18-month buffer before you hit 65. It is essential to understand that coverage under COBRA is often more expensive than the group employer plan.
Another option for bridging the gap is purchasing marketplace health insurance. However, purchasing marketplace health insurance is often not suggested, as premiums are likely to be high for those who are 60. In addition, those with pre-existing conditions may not be able to purchase coverage.
If you are turning 65 soon, watch out for the Medicare enrollment period to limit a late enrollment penalty. Before enrolling, educate yourself on the four parts of Medicare and the coverage options. Many Americans don’t realize that Original Medicare does not cover long-term care, hearing aids, or dental care.
As you prepare your finances, your financial plan shouldn’t be a puzzle. Tell your family or financial professional about changes to your financial situation. A collection of documents should include your will or trust, legal documents, insurance policies, account information, and a list of important contacts.
If your documents haven’t been updated in the last year, now is the time to ensure that everything is up to date.
What financial moves have you made in your 60s? What do you wish you knew about managing your finances in your 60s? What other money advice would you add to this list?