Countdown to retirement

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Preparing for retirement can be a lot of work. Consider it one of life’s great ironies.

retirement clock Whether you’re just starting to consider retirement – or you’ve been preparing for some time – there are a number of key factors that you’ll need to consider in the years, months and weeks leading up to retirement.

Three to five years before retirement: Will you have enough to retire?

If you haven’t already, start planning for your retirement as soon as possible. That way you’ll know ahead of time if you need to save more, adjust your retirement expectations or, if you can, go ahead and buy those new golf clubs.

Review your investment portfolio – As you get closer to retirement, revisit your investment strategy. With your retirement date approaching, you have less time to recover from any significant investment losses. With that in mind, you may want to start shifting your additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to more conservative (lower-risk) investments. Remember, your basic pension savings with Silver Thatch will be shifted to a more conservative portfolio automatically.

Know your plan – Putting money away for retirement is one thing, withdrawing your savings is another. Your Silver Thatch Pension Plan has rules that can restrict how and when you can start withdrawing money. Make sure you know the rules and options and factor these into your retirement plans. At retirement, you can convert your Silver Thatch pension savings to an income in several ways:

  • Buying an annuity, and/or
  • Transferring your savings to a retirement income fund (RIF) or a Retirement Savings Arrangement (RSA).

Re-evaluate your lifestyle and residence needs – What will you do differently in retirement – and how much will it cost or save you? Sit down and think about your retirement lifestyle. Do you have hobbies or travel plans you’re going to pursue? Are you planning to work part time? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself when evaluating your future needs.

Estimate your living expenses – Track everything you spend in the next year or so – and then use this information to estimate your retirement income needs and develop a realistic budget. When estimating your future expenses, don’t forget about inflation. Even a modest level of inflation can – over time – have a significant impact on your expenses. Although it may seem like a lot of work to track and project your expenses, it will give you a good idea of how much you really need to maintain your lifestyle – and whether you’ll have enough.

Estimate your retirement income – Take inventory of all potential sources of income, including additional voluntary contributions, pension benefits, bank accounts, investment funds, stocks, bonds, rental properties, etc.

One year to go: Getting your affairs in order

Review your insurance needs – Your insurance needs may change in retirement. You might find you can get by with less life insurance or home insurance. On the other hand, you may be less able to handle big deductibles or recover from a loss.

Think about estate planning – Do you have a will? Is it up to date? Sit down with a professional to review your will, powers of attorney, and investment plans. Make sure your powers of attorney for healthcare and financial matters reflect your wishes.

Six months to go: The home stretch

This is it. You have planned and budgeted, organized and reviewed; now you just have to tell everybody!

Update beneficiary information – Remember to update your beneficiary for your Silver Thatch Pension Plan, insurance policies, etc. Keep in mind that for your Silver Thatch pension savings, your spouse is automatically your beneficiary. If you don’t have a spouse, you will need to appoint a personal or estate representative.

Apply for your pensions – Be sure to apply to begin receiving your Silver Thatch pension and let your employer know when you will start your pension. There are numerous decisions and forms to complete, and the process can take from 60 to 90 days.

As you count down to retirement, there is a lot to think about and some tough but critical decisions to make. Set some time aside now to start mapping out the milestones… and make sure your road to retirement is a smooth one.