Comprehensive Pre-Retirement Checklist

By Home Bay

Posted on September 27th, 2017

Getting ready to retire can be a joyous occasion. But it can also be a stressful one with many steps to take that can get overwhelming. There are several moving parts to preparing for retirement, and you’ll want to make sure you have everything in order before giving your two weeks’ notice.


With this comprehensive checklist, you can stay on top of what needs to get done before you can start enjoying your golden years.

  • Update Legal Documents
    If you don’t have a will yet, you should get one to ensure that your final wishes will be carried out even if you aren’t leaving behind any family members. Talk to a lawyer who concentrates in wills and estates, and meet with them at least once a year so that you can update your estate plan as needed.

  • Update Your Life Insurance Policy
    Depending on your family situation and what the rest of your retirement assets look like, it may be time to update the beneficiaries and/or terms of your life insurance policy. If you have whole life insurance and your retirement assets are falling short, you might want to consider using the cash surrender value if you have no beneficiaries, or they will be taken care of through other assets.

  • Figure Out Your Finances
    Generally, the later you can start taking Social Security benefits the higher your payouts will be if you are still working. The benefit amount increases until age 70. Your Social Security benefits are calculated by a formula based on the strongest 35 years of your lifetime earnings and an average wage index. Find out how much your benefits will be and how much of your retirement income it will comprise.

  • Get Your Assets in Order
    Contact the financial institutions where you hold retirement accounts, and find out what you can expect to earn from pensions and other retirement assets. Make catch-up contributions while you’re still working. Per tax laws, you will have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and other plans once you reach age 70 1/2, but you can start receiving distributions as early as age 59 1/2 without getting penalized.

  • Consider Your Living Arrangements
    Ideally, most people want to age in place in the houses they lived in most of their adult lives, but this isn’t always physically possible. But should you sell your home? Hand it down to a beneficiary? If you will require assisted living or nursing home care in the future, this will drastically impact budgeting your living expenses.

Checking on and maintaining your estate plan is of utmost importance, as is determining how much your aggregate retirement income, as well as your living expenses, will be. Selling your home can help finance your retirement if you don’t think you can age in place.

Use this checklist as a guide when you prepare for retirement and enjoy stress-free golden years!

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Posted in Personal Finance