I've made a commitment to myself to set a firm retirement date within the next year. I've saved, invested and thought about retirement for a long time, so now what? For those of you who are retired, what did you do, or wish you'd done, in that final year to prepare for the next phase in life? And for those whose retirement is drawing near, what are you doing?
Great questions TroutBum! I look forward to seeing how others respond.
Not just that final year (I knew 2009 March 4 that I would be retired as of 2009 July 1) but throughout the decade to eleven years I worked where there was a retirement plan (which is how I ran into TIAA-CREF) -- both my spouse and I contributed the maximum to our Roth IRA accounts each year and maximum to 403(b) of which we each had such voluntary retirement savings, mine being TIAA-CREF (half). The "maximum" means over age 50 "catch up" plus, in the case of my spouse, 15 year $15,000 (she qualified because she had been at least 15 years in the same job / position). We also attended three times a weekend preparation for retirement provided ("free") by the Board at the denomination where my spouse served as a pastor (27 years).
I too have contributed to Roths and maximized my contributions for the past several years. I've also taken advantage of employer provided retirement investment sessions, but what about those last minute loose ends? As I look at my investments it seems I'll have to decide if I want to keep things spread out as they are, or consolidate to keep things more easily manageable. I know I need to make an appointment with my TIAA/CREF counselor to firm up a short term plan (I've always looked at investment as a long term thing), and I guess I need an appointment with my local social security office. Probably should go back and confirm what I've learned about my health insurance payments and coverage upon retirement, but then what?
It just seems like I should be tidying up a lot loose ends and, quite honestly, I'm not. I'd sure hate to realize the day after I officially retire that I missed something important. Thoughts?
I retired a little over a year ago. I found there was a lot of information on building your financial nest egg. Max contribution to tax deferred accounts, diversification, keep debt down, etc. etc. Much less information on withdrawal of money after retirement. I did combine my tax deferred accounts under TIAA-CREF. The wealth management people helped me to put together a well diversified portfolio that lowered my risk exposure, but kept a good rate of return. Also set some benchmarks on what percentage of my assets should be in different asset classes. As time goes on, if these percentages vary by more than a certain percent, I know I should rebalance my portfolio. Withdrawing some funds from post-tax accounts as well as pre-tax accounts can make a big difference in your income tax exposure as well. In general, retiring is the smartest thing I have ever done. I probably should qualify that and say marring my wife was the smartest thing I have ever done, but retirement is right up there.
Thanks for your input. I've found the same thing in regard to there being plenty of info on saving and investing but very little about withdrawing. My last private session with a tiaa-cref consultant was about 16 months ago and I plan to call this afternoon for another.
BTW, I'm glad to hear that retiring was (one of) the smartest things you've ever done. Although I think I've prepared well, there's still that little bit of apprehension.
I will be retiring as of Sept. 1. I know most of the advice in the other posts was financial, but I did a little planning ahead for my health too. Both my husband and I took care of health issues that would be expensive if we didn't have my health insurance. The issues ranged from having cataract surgery to getting tooth implants. I still need to get my hearing checked, and I need to see a podiatrist to make sure my feet are healthy. Fortunately, there's nothing major to worry about, but I used the past year for a health maintenance program.
Thanks.....This coming from someone whose dentist tells him he needs two crowns, and whose optometrist says we are waiting for cataracts to "ripen." I guess sometimes financial and health can be one and the same.
Limber up the fly rod, plan a few trips to places where you might like to live, visit them in several seasons, start looking at RE costs and taxes along with living costs. Don't make any sudden moves. You have lots of time and need to conserve money now. Good Luck!!!! :-)))
Jerry, always good to hear from you. I like the way you think!
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