Retirement Planning Checklist

Where should you start when beginning your retirement planning?  Below are some areas you should be checking and evaluating.

Many who are planning their retirement need someplace to start — a list to begin their thinking.

1. Check your projected income sourceschck list

  • Social Security — Create a “ my social security ” account to get estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. Additionally, you can use my Social Security to get your earnings record and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. For more information on Social Security, check out the “ Apply for Social Security ” page at
  • Pensions — The American Academy of Actuaries’ Pension Assistance List will provide up to 4 hours of free help to individuals interested in checking their plans’ calculations. Visit the Pension Rights Center website for a list of projects and the states they cover . You can also call the toll-free hotline at the Labor Department’s Employees Benefits Security Administration 866-444-3272.
  • Possible inheritances.
  • See if you’re saving enough with AARPs retirement calculator .
  • Sale of real estate, personal property, antiques,jewelry, gold, collectibles, business interests, etc.
  • Annuities
  • Life insurance values, if any.
  • Income from investments and retirement funds including, stocks, bonds, trusts, real estate.

2. Check your projected expenses

  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Credit card debt
  • Loans
  • Taxes
  • Health care — The average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 with Medicare insurance coverage will need approximately $276,000 to cover medical expenses during the combined remainder of their lifetimes. This estimate includes deductibles, supplemental insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and services excluded by Medicare.
  • Insurance — Auto, Home, Life, Health & Medicare, Long Term Care, Assisted Living.
  • Relocation — If you’re considering relocating.
  • Travel/Vacation Costs

3. Estate planning

List all your assets, contact information of your accountant, investment adviser, banker, and the location of important documents, passwords, bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, etc. and give copies to your spouse, attorney and accountant. Here’s a handy, printable form to help you capture all of this personal information and more .

  • Make sure you have an updated will, including medical power of attorney, DNR, etc.
  • Make sure your spouse, attorney, physician and accountant understand your wishes in case you are unable  

4. Additional concerns and resources

    • Where possible reduce, consolidate or restructure your debt.
    • If you have any questions as to the ability or reliability of your physicians, attorney, accountant, financial planner consider finding a new one now. If you do not have a professional in each of these areas get one.

    Discuss this list with your spouse to make it as accurate as possible and then with your financia

    Make sure your list of assets is complete and valuations are accurate. Then check to see if you will need to draw against them, and if so, what the estimated yearly amount is. Project these numbers out with your financial adviser to insure you will have enough to last.

    If after a thorough review of your information you find yourself falling short of your retirement expectations, consider working longer or adjusting your

Trends Towards Avoiding Nursing Care

Reports show that an increasing amount of baby boomers are choosing in-home medical care over nursing home services.

The number of Americans over age 65 living in nursing homes has dropped 2% from 1990 to 2010.  In-home medical care

can offer more comfort for seniors and their families, but also can cost much more than a nursing home.  A few ways seniors

can manage in-home healthcare costs include Medicaid’s Community Alternatives Program, Money Follows the Person,

Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and Veterans Benefits.

See Gregory Herman-Giddens