You did it. You made it to retirement. That light at the end of the career tunnel is within your reach now, and it's no bad days ahead. Sure, you're ready, you have trips planned in between days of no alarm clocks, and life is good. Before you slice the au revoir cake, here are a few last-minute retirement items to consider before the work party concludes.
1. Take advantage of last-minute tax-free savings. Folks 51 years and older can sock away a maxim
um of $24,000 per year towards individual retirement savings, all tax-free. So, if you have some stock options due or other bonus money coming your way, endorse whatever you can into your retirement account. You earned it; you might as well hang on to it.
2. Keep working. Yes, you can officially retire and still produce revenue if you need or want to do so. Consider consultancy, or freelance work to boost your bank account without battling the morning commute. You've acquired a considerable amount of knowledge during your career, why not put it to use in a way that benefits others? Yes, times have changed, and the new working class is facing challenges never seen before. But, strategies and lessons you learned can contribute to the new kids on the block.
3. Adjust your cost of living. This is a broad topic and should probably consist of a few categories instead of just one, but we have to prolong your attention. Start with your housing costs. Most households spend 40% or more of their income on where they live. Is there a way to downsize or move to a place that isn't as expensive? If so, you can save the money you were spending on a mortgage and use it to travel, or spoil your grandkids.
4. Pay off what you can. Car notes, boat loans, revolving debt, can all weigh on retirement living. Eliminate monthly payments to the best of your ability before fixed-income living becomes a reality. Those extra hundreds or thousands doled out for payments will come in handy during the retirement years.
5. Check your Social Security benefits. The Social Security administration has a website (ssa.gov) where you can check your estimated monthly benefits come retirement. There are many ways to file for Social Security benefits, depending on life events leading up to that point. Seek out help on this topic.
Oh, and file for Medicare benefits three months before you blow out those 65 candles on your birthday cake. Even if you are not retiring at age 65, you are still eligible for Medicare. Consult an expert, because there are ways to maximize benefits that are not listed on the government website.
6. Make the most of it, you deserve some fun. Here's to a happy retirement!