If you’re nearing retirement age, you’re probably starting to wonder what you need to do to make sure you’re financially prepared. Is the amount of money you’ve saved over the years enough to sustain you for 20 or 30 years?
Here are some steps you should take before you retire:
Know Your Current Cost of Living
It’s important to know how much you spend each month so you can know how much money you will need each year. If you don’t have a budget, now is a good time to start one. This will give you a good idea of how much you spend each month. Keep in mind that each month will vary. While you may just need money for bills and food one month, you may need new tires and health prescriptions the next month. It’s smart to give yourself a buffer each month so you will have a little extra for unplanned expenses.
Also, don’t forget that as you get older, your medical expenses will most likely rise. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that costs and rates fluctuate such as tax rates, food prices, clothing, etc. And don’t forget about inflation—your every day expenses will go up! This is one of the most overlooked pieces to retirement planning.
Estimate How Much Income You Will Be Receiving
Add up everything you will be receiving from social security to retirement savings. This will just be an estimate, but it will give you a good starting point to knowing how much you will receive each month. Then, deduct how much you believe you will spend each month from that number.
If you can, wait until you’re 70 to take out Social Security. You are eligible to file for social security benefits when you turn 62, but if you do, your monthly check will be reduced significantly for the rest of your life. You may have little choice if you are out of work or in poor health and need the money to pay expenses. But if you have the wherewithal to work a few more years or have other sources of income, delaying checks until age 66, or your full benefit age, will increase your monthly amount by 33% or more.
Make Sure You Are Emotionally Prepared
Retiring can be a huge change and although it sounds fun, many people struggle with the emotional aspect of it. It can be difficult to go from working full time to having nothing to do. That’s why it’s best to have something lined up for retirement. You need something to keep your mind busy and your heart happy. At Envoy, we describe retirement as your Future Funded Ministry. This is the time where you get to use the resources you saved to support you as you follow God’s call in this last part of your life. Retirement should not be a time of sadness. Instead, it should be a time of joy as you live out the rest of your years in ministry. This could be volunteering for special needs children, creating meals for those in need, or simply helping your grandchildren with their homework.
Here’s the bottom line—make sure that you can estimate how much you will need in retirement. Then make sure you will be receiving enough each month to cover that. Once you retire, begin to follow God’s calling on this latter part of your life.