You have met with your financial advisor and determined that you are ready economically to retire. The finances are in place. You are already planning how to spend your newly created free time.
Have you updated all of your estate planning documents and made certain that all of your legal matters are ready for this next phase of your life?
I know that many people are very private about their financial and personal information. I urge you to share information with your children even if it feels uncomfortable. They will be able to assist you in getting all your matters organized. In so doing, they will then be able to help you in the future when you need that help.
Make a listing of all accounts, where they are held. Check to see if there are the appropriate transfer on death or beneficiary designations on the accounts. Don’t assume that you did it. Check!
This might be a good time to streamline your finances – make it easy on yourself. Consolidate accounts to one bank and one financial adviser. This will make administration easier and it will give you a better idea of what you own.
This is a good time to streamline bill paying. Set up automatic bill paying where possible. You can still check your statements monthly, but it will eliminate the need to keep track of all the due dates.
If you have insurance, this is the time to review. Are the policies appropriate? Are you over or under insured? Are the correct beneficiaries on each policy?
If you are uncertain, set up a meeting with your insurance advisor to review the policies.
When was the last time you looked at your estate planning documents? Review all of them. Are the choices you made when you executed the documents the ones that you want today? Maybe things have changed.
Do you have up to date Durable Power of Attorneys and Patient Advocate Designations? These are so important. Without them, your family may have to go to the Probate Court to obtain a Guardianship or Conservatorship in the case of an emergency. This takes time and money.
Is your Will or Trust up to date? Take a look. Are the distributions correct? Are the agents (Personal Representative or Trustee) appropriate?
What is your plan as you age? Is your current living situation working? What would you want to do if you became ill and could not live independently?
It is important to discuss this with your family members. They should be informed as to your wishes. Without that knowledge, they cannot assist you in the way you would want.
Is there money to pay for an illness contingency? You need a plan.
Make a listing of all your doctors, their addresses and phone numbers. Also list what they are treating you for.
Make a listing of your medications and the dosage. These are important facts your family may need to pass on in the case of an emergency hospitalization.
Make copies of your health care cards.
Discuss with your family what your treatment wishes are – today while you are healthy. Let them know what you want and what you do not want. It simply is not fair to leave them guessing.
By taking the time to organize this information and share it with trusted family members, you will be positioning yourself for a steady future.
Then, next step – Retirement.