Get Ready to Retire with This Checklist: 5 Years to Go

ready for retirement

The transition into retirement doesn’t have to be stressful. Creating a checklist a few years out is a great step to retiring with a happy and fulfilling plan in place. So, what can you do to be proactive and help ensure that you’re ready to retire with a healthy financial foundation?

Five Years Out:

Check Your Readiness for Retirement
About five years before you plan to retire, it’s time to figure out your level of readiness for retirement and what your timeline looks like.

  • Are you contributing a percentage of your pay toward retirement? Experts suggest saving 10 percent to 15 percent of your pay each year for retirement.1
  • Have you been taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match?
  • Are there expenses in your daily life that you can cut down to lower costs and increase savings?
  • Do you have any illnesses that you may need long-term care (LTC) insurance for?

Talk to a Financial Advisor
Talk to a financial advisor to understand your options for retirement. Be ready to ask questions like:

  • Is my 401(k) well-established?
  • Should I open up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?
  • What are the annual limits for IRA contributions?

Create Retirement Goals

  • Create a bucket-list with places you want to travel to or different volunteer opportunities that you’ve always wanted to get more involved with.
  • Write down a list of other must-do activities to help shape a plan for your retirement.
  • If you’ll be enjoying retirement with a spouse, have a conversation with them about your goals so you can work toward a shared vision for retirement.

Deal with your debt
Do you have credit cards, a car or a mortgage to pay off? Are you assisting your kids or grandkids with student loan debt? Make sure you understand the weight of bringing debt into retirement with you and have a plan set in place to pay it off.

One Year Out:

Build Your Ideal Daily Budget
You may find that your ideal retirement budget looks similar to your current day-to-day one, but you may not need to spend as much on certain expenses.

  • For example, you probably won’t need to allocate as many funds toward work attire or payroll and income taxes.
  • Instead, you may be spending more on travel or hobbies.
  • You should also be allocating some funds toward medical costs and insurance.

Consider Your Health Insurance Costs
One of the top costs for retirement is out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Make sure to do your research on the different options for healthcare coverage. These include coverage options under:2

  • COBRA Continuation Health Coverage
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • The private insurance marketplace

You can enroll in Medicare once you turn 65; however, you need to understand which plan is right for you. In all plan types, you are always covered for emergency and urgent care:

  • Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance
  • Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage – Part C
  • Medicare Advantage – Part D

Learn How to Claim Your Social Security Benefits
You’re eligible for Social Security benefits once you reach the age of 62.

  • That being said, you can apply for Social Security benefits when you’re at least 61 years and nine months of age.
  • You should apply four months before you want your benefits to begin.3
  • Learn more about how much your approximate Social Security benefits may be.

Retirement should be an exciting and fulfilling milestone. Make sure you’re well prepared by taking the steps to help secure your financial footing ahead of time.

1 CNN Money. Web page: Ultimate Guide to Retirement. Retrieved on April 24, 2018 from
Investopedia (September 9, 2017). Web page: Top 3 Health Insurance Options if You Retire Early. Retrieved on April 30, 2018 from
Social Security Administration. Web page: Retirement Benefits. Retrieved on April 25, 2018 from

Registered Representatives offer securities through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisor representatives offer advisory services through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc.

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