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It’s a big step in your life, stepping away from your job, entering into that long-awaited retirement. But like many, you are likely feeling uncertain whether you are doing it in the best way possible. You may even be wondering what impact the global Coronavirus pandemic may have on your plans.

The short version is that you may need to adjust your Financial Plan. (We mean a real, documented plan. This is something your financial advisor can help you create. If you do not have one, schedule a call with us. It’s what we do.) There are also some important decisions you may need to make about Social Security and health insurance.

Now, to begin, work through this checklist for retiring in 2020. How’s it look? You want to be able to confidently address each item.

#1. Decide when to start Social Security.

Eligibility for Social Security begins at 62, but it helps to wait until your Full Retirement Age (FRA), which can vary depending on your date of birth. Taking payments before you reach your FRA means reduced payments. If you wait until you reach your FRA, your monthly Social Security payments increase. Each year you wait to receive payments beyond your FRA increases your potential monthly payments, all the way up until age 70. Create a mySocialSecurity account to calculate your potential payments.

#2. Sign up for health insurance or Medicare.

If you retire before turning 65, you will need to find health insurance independently from your job. After the age of 65, you are eligible for Medicare. In either case, you will need to make all the relevant decisions that will affect the cost of your health insurance (supplemental plans, prescription drug coverage, and the like). Remember, you may qualify for coverage through a spouse as well.

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#3. Understand your retirement benefits to date.

Often, employees miss certain benefits from the earlier years when they did not really think of themselves as retirees. Go back to your employer, and former employers for that matter, and review your benefits and eligibility—pensions, 401ks, life insurance. Do you qualify for employer-sponsored subsidized health insurance? Maybe even a health club membership?

#4. Take advantage of last-minute benefits.

With your circumstances soon changing, you may want to take advantage of benefits that may be less robust in retirement. Maximize your 401k contribution. Put some more money into your HSA. Get that new pair of glasses with your vision coverage, or have that sore tooth checked out under your current dental plan. Perhaps you have a child’s state-sponsored college scholarship; will it still be available after you leave? All of this underscores the task of checking your job benefits. Use them while you still can.

#5. Consider rolling over your 401k to an IRA, especially in this market.

While you can often keep your 401k with your former employer during retirement, IRAs are usually more useful to you in retirement—more investment options, lower fees, or better performance. It may also be time to sell that company stock to reallocate your investment portfolio. All of this will be clearer in the context of your Financial Plan.

It is worth noting we have seen many of our clients begin to lower the risk of their investments as they approach retirement, especially because of the market volatility anticipated to come from the year-end elections.

Not sure if a Financial Advisor can help improve your retirement? Schedule 15 minutes with us to find out.

#6. Make or refresh your Financial Plan.

We cannot stress this enough. We almost would prefer to throw this item to the top of the list. Get a Financial Plan. They do a lot more than you may think, but their greatest advantage is that they make the proper course of action much clearer amidst the sea of financial choices. One of our team members can help you form a comprehensive one, but for a basic plan, start with laying out all the income you have coming your way (Social Security, pensions, retirement savings, part-time work, other investments), then calculate your living expenses. Start with last year’s if you know them. Then ask yourself, “Am I likely going to spend more, less, or the same than I did before retirement?” Do you want to travel more? What does your emergency fund look like now? Will your medical bills start increasing in the coming years? What about those major home repairs you’d been putting off? Now, do a rough calculation for the next few years. Do you have enough?

#7. Decide what to do next.

Now that you have all the basic, relevant information in front of you, laid out into some context with a Financial Plan, what happens next? What will your retirement look like? Do you have enough? More than you know what to do with? Too little? Not sure? Think it over. Above all, we remember to ask yourself who you want to be in retirement. Stepping away from a job can be stepping away from a part of your identity. Your financial health should be determined by your goals, not your goals by your finances.


Schedule a call with us if you’d like some help. Otherwise, we at Compass Ion Advisors wish you the best. We love to watch our friends and clients step into that meaningful season of life.

Let’s talk.

“This presentation is not an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. The information contained in this presentation has been compiled from third party sources and is believed to be reliable. This presentation may not be construed as investment advice and does not give investment recommendations.

Additional information, including advisory fees and expenses, is provided on Compass Ion’s Form ADV Part 2, available upon request or at the SEC’s public disclosure site, https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/summary/166418. As with any investment strategy, there is potential for profit as well as the possibility of loss. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.