Less Than 5 Years From Retirement? Here’s What You Need To Do

Senior man relaxing while floating in the ocean using swimming tube

I wonder if there’s a correlation here: according to an Allstate/National Journal poll, 64% of workers expect to retire by age 70, and according to a study performed by LinkedIn, 63% of professionals use to-do lists.

Does this mean to-do lists help you retire on time?

The correlation is likely a coincidence, but I believe to-do lists can keep you on track to accomplish important goals. So if you’re less than five years from retirement, use this one to make sure you’re ready.

Get Educated About Health Insurance

If you think health insurance is a pain now, try retiring before you’re eligible for Medicare. According to CBSNews, health care costs are top financial worry for many retirees.

Will you be able to carry over any group health benefits you receive through your employer? Do you know what parts of Medicare to sign up for? Should you get supplemental coverage?

Retirees need a foundation of knowledge to stand on when making these important decisions.

Begin Tracking Your Current Monthly Expenses

Now is the time to figure out how much you spend every month. If you discover it exceeds your projected retirement income, start gradually cutting back so you’ll be within budget by the time you retire.

Pay Off Debt

Sure, there’s plenty of people who manage to retire while still holding debt, but it is better not to have any. Even a home mortgage can significantly hinder your freedom in retirement, so start making extra payments while you still have a full employment income.

Increase Cash Savings

You never know if there might be delays receiving your first pension, social security or IRA/401(k) withdrawal checks, so it’s a good idea to have enough cash set aside to get you through the first six months of retirement.

Reallocate Investments

As retirement grows closer, your investment goals begin to change.

Speak to a financial professional to determine the diversified mix of investments that will best fit your retirement income needs and risk tolerance. You’ll likely need to begin moving your focus to a more conservative allocation according to a timeline suggested by a financial professional.

Create a Real Estate Strategy

Will you relocate, downsize or stay put? These are big decisions that are best made with plenty of forethought. Plus, if you plan to move, you’ll want to begin preparing for the associated expenses.

Use Your Current Health Benefits

It’s likely your out-of-pocket health costs will rise in retirement, so now is the time to take advantage of your employer health plan and make elective visits.

Start Hobbies

When you’re in the work-a-day world, a retirement filled with rest and relaxation sounds most enticing, but ask any retiree and you’ll hear it quickly turns to boredom.

Start seeking new hobbies now so you will be both physically and socially active from the outset of your retirement.

Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of time for lounging by the pool.  And if not, just add it to your to-do list.


Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including AARP.org and GoBankingRates.com.