Money Moves You Should Make Before You Retire

By Amanda C. Haury | August 06, 2012 AAA

Retirement is a huge step in the life of a working citizen. After decades of diligent work in the job market, the decision to retire is often a monumental step in that person's life. A successful retirement takes much preparation. Not only are you ending your career, but you are also treading into uncharted territory in terms of your financial security. If you are well-prepared for retirement, your financial situation will reflect this. If by chance, you are not where you would like to be in terms of your post-retirement savings and expenses, its not too late to start. Here is a look at 10 money moves you should make before you retire.

SEE: Retirement Planning: Introduction

Pay Down Debt
Prior to taking on the exciting and often times intimidating venture of retirement, there are several must-do items beforehand. One of the most important things you can do to help create a better financial future for your retirement is pay down as much debt as possible. Go into retirement with as little debt as possible so that you will have more money to spend on other things such as bills, travel or entertainment.

Determine How Much Health Insurance You Will Need
Another important aspect of retirement that will need to be considered is health insurance. While some employers offer their employees retiree benefits, many others do not. At age 65, American citizens are eligible for Medicare, but will Medicare Part A be enough coverage for you? Keep in mind that there are deductibles, coinsurance and maximum limits to worry about. Many consumers opt for a Medicare supplement plan or commercial health insurance policies to offset the cost that Medicare does not pick up.

Pay off Your Mortgage
If at all possible, you should try to pay off your mortgage prior to retiring from your job. A mortgage is a big monthly expense, and if you can eliminate this before you retire, you will put yourself in a much brighter financial situation. Additionally, if you want to uproot and retire somewhere else, having your mortgage paid off will allow you to do so with no strings attached.

Create a Last Will and Testament
Prior to retiring, create a last will and testament indicating who should receive your financial assets in the unfortunate event of your death. While no one likes creating a last will and testament, it is a necessary part of adulthood. Rather than allowing your assets be distributed by a lawyer, take control over your estate and specify how you would like your assets to be divided.

Confirm the Balances of Your 401(k) and Pension Plan
Before you walk away from your job completely, you will want to confirm the balances of your 401(k) plan and pension plan. Verifying how much you will receive upon retirement is a good idea, so that if there is a discrepancy you can dispute it well ahead of your retirement date.

Create a Detailed Budget
Creating a detailed budget that works well for your household is of the utmost importance during retirement. Since your sources of income will be limited, it is highly important that you strictly control where your money is going.

Do a Mock Run
Once you have configured a household budget fit for retirement, do a mock run. Try living under your retirement budget for a month or two, to see how you fair. If you find it difficult to work with, you may want to make some alternations, and opt for a less stringent budget.

SEE: 5 Retirement Planning Mistakes You Might Already Be Making

CD Investments
A smart decision many citizens make is to invest their hard-earned money in CDs where their money is held in a safe place. Their funds will gain interest over time, and give consumers a true benefit to saving money in a CD.

Continue Saving
In the years prior to your retirement, you will want to save as much money as possible. The more money you save, the better your retirement's financial picture will be.

Have a Back-up Plan
Life has the tendency to be a bit unpredictable. Should your retirement budget or plan not work the way you wanted it to, it is always a good idea to have a back-up plan. Don't be caught off guard by medical expenses or a spike in your utilities. Make sure to have a fund saved for rainy days.

The Bottom Line
Retirement can be an exciting yet intimidating time for many citizens. To better prepare yourself for the big transition from the office to the world of retirement, get your financial matters in order. When you have dedicated years of preparation to your retirement, and strategically prepped for the big move, you are much more likely to be able to enjoy your golden years than spend them worrying about where you are going to find the money for bills.

SEE: The Complete Guide To Retirement Planning For 50-Somethings

Related Articles
  1. If that's always been your dream, there actually are affordable ways to retire in France. Some regions to explore and some cautions to keep in mind.
    Retirement

    Can You Afford To Retire In France?

  2. Here's how to incorporate life insurance into a plan to ensure that you and your family have the smoothest possible transition into retirement.
    Retirement

    The Smart Way To Use Life Insurance ...

  3. A delightful climate, World Heritage sites and a low cost of living are just some of the reasons to retire to Ecuador. Here's more about what to expect.
    Retirement

    Why Retiree Expats Adore Ecuador

  4. The names sound similar – continuing care, assisted living – but retirement communities differ widely. How to tell them apart and what you'll need to pay.
    Retirement

    Don't Pick The Wrong Type Of Retirement ...

  5. Government employees don't receive Social Security and 401(k)s for their government work. Learn about these other tools to plan for a good retirement.
    Retirement

    Work For The Government? Top Retirement ...

Trading Center