When it’s finally time to retire, what should you focus on besides your bucket list?
Smart Financial Steps to Take After Retirement
If you haven’t already started the task of organizing your finances for your retirement, it’s not too late to start. Whether it’s investments, downsizing, or creating a will, here are some things you should know.
Don’t Go it Alone
There are often deadlines and requirements to meet when it comes to retirement. If you have questions about where to start, or how to make sure you’ve crossed all the “t’s and dotted the “i”s, there are a lot of resources available.
If you’re a member of a Credit Union, check to see if they partner with Medicare Solutions or offer estate planning guidance. You can also refer to a lawyer for help with legalizing a will, and you should always rely on an experienced realtor if you plan to sell or purchase property.
Speaking of property, maybe it’s finally time to downsize. You may have had children living at home who have finally moved out, or maybe you no longer have time for the upkeep that your current home requires. You have options when it comes to downsizing, including renting out your current home, or selling it and investing the equity in something better suited to your current lifestyle.
Renting Your Property
Whether or not you have the time, energy, and know-how to act as a property manager for your home, hiring one is often a better option. A property management company can give you the freedom to focus on other things in retirement while they handle rent collection and property maintenance.
The current housing market is unable to meet demand, making now a good time to own rental property. With so many people relocating thanks to the flexibility that working from home allows, there’s a shortage of homes available. As a homeowner, it gives you leverage (since it’s a seller’s market right now) when pricing your rental. If your home is already paid off, rental income can serve as supplemental income to whatever you’re drawing from retirement funds. Even if you still owe on the mortgage of your home, a seasoned property manager can help you find the ideal price point that allows you to cover your expenses as well as have some left over.
Buying a Vacation Home
Maybe you’re finally ready to invest in that dream vacation home. From the Rocky Mountains in the West to the white sand beaches of the East, there are a lot of options available to you. But is now a good time to purchase a second home?
Current real estate trends show that mortgage interest rates may go up in 2022; this means locking in the 3% rates now could be a great investment. If you choose to wait, however, it could also be beneficial as there may not be as much competition between buyers. If you want to learn more about whether or not it’s a good time to purchase a vacation property, you can read THIS ARTICLE from Lakota Real Estate Colorado.
Of course, maybe it’s simply time to sell what you have and move into a cozy condo with a homeowner’s association that will shovel your walks, mow your lawn, and provide recreational activities in your neighborhood such as tennis courts and a pool. If that’s the route you want to take, by all means, go for it! A real estate agent can help you price your current home appropriately so you can get the most equity possible and invest it in a place where you can enjoy your Golden Years.
You may not want to bring attention to a time when you’re no longer around, but it’s important to take care of your estate planning when you have the ability to do so. Leaving the division of your assets up to loved ones after you die is not the kind of legacy for which you want to be remembered. Adding legal woes to their grief is not helpful.
As mentioned previously, some credit unions and banks have estate planning guides. Or you can refer to a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Investopedia recommends the following when getting your financial affairs in order:
- Itemize your assets
- Itemize your debts
- Consolidate retirement accounts
- List your memberships – clubs, charities, AARP, AAA, recreation centers, etc…
- Update your insurance policy beneficiaries
- Draft a will
- Assign “Transfer on Death” designations
- Assign an executor of your will
Most importantly, share these documents with anyone who will be involved in managing your estate after you pass away. Your financial advisor and/or attorney can ensure you’re covering all the bases if you have any questions.
What to Include in a Will
A will designates who is in charge of your estate when you die. It should list your assets (real estate, money, physical items of value) and who the beneficiary of those assets will be. You can leave your belongings or wealth to an individual, divide it up, or bequeath it to an institution, such as a charity or a museum.
If you neglect to name specific beneficiaries in your will, there is no guarantee they will inherit the items you intend for them. Being in a committed relationship with someone doesn’t offer them legal recourse to inherit anything from your estate at the time of your passing. Additionally, your children do not automatically inherit your assets if you die without a will that leaves instructions.
Be sure you also indicate what you want to happen for any dependents or pets you have at the time of your death. Be specific about who will care for minor children or your beloved dog so their needs can be promptly met.
After taking care to leave detailed information about your assets and beneficiaries, be sure your will is signed by yourself and the required witnesses. You should also include a notarized “self-proving affidavit” to your will so it cannot be contested for validity.
Did you know you may actually need to sign up for Medicare before you retire? Depending on when you plan to step away from the workforce, it could happen after the deadline for your Medicare application.
In order to be eligible for Medicare, you need to apply before you turn 65. If you neglect this deadline, you run the risk of paying more for your healthcare coverage, as well as having a lapse in coverage before Medicare begins. Even if you plan to continue working after the age of 65, you’ll still want to enroll in Medicare so you have continued health coverage when the time for retirement does come.
With a little planning, you can sail into retirement and know that you’ve tied up loose ends. Not only will you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself, but you can rest assured that you’ve done what you can to provide for your family after you’re gone. There’s no better legacy to leave.