50 Tips for Retirement

50 Tips for Retirement

Finances and Personal Affairs

Finances and Personal Affairs

Preparing Your Finances for Retirement

1. Estimate your longevity. Consider your family history, current health status, and lifestyle to help you determine whether your nest egg will last as long as you do.

2. Allocate your invested assets for retirement. Generally, it might help to manage your retirement assets according to time periods. For the next three years, you need a stable return and value protection. For three to six years out, you need better returns, such as bonds ladders with intermediate maturities that you hold until maturity. Your long-term assets should protect you against inflation and taxes and provide you raises.

3. Pay for long term care (LTC) insurance with your annuity or life insurance - tax-free. You are allowed to use funds from your annuity or other life insurance policies to purchase LTC insurance without the taxable event that normally occurs when funds are withdrawn from a policy.

4. Plan your estate. Estate planning allows you to determine the benefactors of your estate, in private, within a reasonable timeline and with less cost. Plus, with the changes to federal estate tax laws, you need to ensure your federal plans mesh with your state laws.

5. Consider part-time work. Working part-time can extend your investment portfolio, give you extra spending money, provide an outlet to do something interesting that you weren't able to do in the past, and keep your mind active.

(From MOAA's benefits information and financial education experts in the Transition Center)

Making Your Money Last in Retirement

6. Pay down debt to free up cash for other expenses.

7. Eliminate expenses for items you might no longer need (e.g., gym memberships, newspaper subscriptions, cable TV plans).

8. Considering downsizing to alleviate monthly expenses.

9. Look into state and local tax breaks for seniors and veterans.

10. Adjust your life insurance policy to meet your current needs.

(“Are You Financially Fit to Retire?”by Capt. Bud Schneeweis, USCG-Ret., CFP®, Military Officer, September 2011)

Getting Your Affairs in Order

11. Put your important papers and copies of legal documents in one place. Set up a file, put everything in a desk or dresser drawer, or list the information
and location of papers in a notebook. Review documents each year to see whether there's anything new to add.

12. Tell a trusted family member or friend where you put all your important papers. You don't need to tell this friend or family member about your personal affairs, but someone should know where you keep your papers in case of emergency. If you don't have a relative or friend you trust, ask a lawyer to help.

13. Give consent in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk with your caregiver as needed. Without your consent, your caregiver might not be able to get needed information. You can give your OK in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor. You might need to sign and return a form.

(National Institutes of Health)


Living a Healthy Lifestyle

14. Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet also can lower your blood pressure.

15. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to estimate a person's excess body fat.

16. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

17. Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. So, if you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.

18. Limit alcohol use. Drinking too much can cause high blood pressure.

(Centers for Disease Control)

Staying Physically Fit

19. Make exercise a habit. When exercising becomes part of your everyday routine, you'll be less likely to stop.

20. Make it a priority. Think of your time to exercise as a special appointment, and mark it on your calendar.

21. Make it easy. You are more likely to exercise if it's easy to do. Put two-pound weights next to your chair so you can do some lifting while you watch TV. Walk up and down the soccer field during your grandchild's game.

22. Make it safe. Talk to your doctor if you have an ongoing health condition or certain other health problems or if you haven't seen your doctor for a while. Ask how physical activity can help you, whether you should avoid certain activities, and how to modify exercises to fit your situation.

23. Make it social. Many people agree having an “exercise buddy” keeps them going. Consider joining a walking club at your local mall or an exercise class at a nearby senior center.

(National Institutes of Health)

Staying Mentally Fit

24. Socialize. Studies show isolated individuals typically have a higher risk of dementia.

25. Get regular physical activity. Any exercise strengthening your heart also benefits your brain.

26. Pay attention to your diet. Obesity predisposes people to dementia. Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and walnuts) and foods high in antioxidants (deep-colored fruits and vegetables).

27. Get mental stimulation. Travel, learn a new language, play a musical instrument, or play a board game.

28. Engage in spiritual activities. Both formal religion and informal practices such as relaxation, meditation, and tai chi can reduce stress and slow physical and mental aging.

(“Mental Floss”by Marilyn Pribus, Military Officer, August 2008)

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

29. Follow a regular schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time schedule helps keep you in sync with your body's circadian clock, a 24-hour internal rhythm affected by sunlight.

30. Avoid napping during the day. You might be less sleepy at night.

31. Exercise regularly. This can improve the quality of your nighttime sleep. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.

32. Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.

33. Be careful about what you eat and drink. Don't drink beverages with caffeine late in the day.

34. Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath.

35. If you are so tired during the day that you cannot function normally and this lasts for more than two to three weeks, you should see your family doctor or a sleep disorder specialist.

(National Institutes of Health)


Choosing a Locale

36. Visit potential retirement locations to see how the locals live.

37. Consider proximity to medical care, including VA facilities.

38. Check out local transportation - if you don't want to or might no longer be able to drive, will local transportation be accessible to you?

39. Look at how your retirement income sources will be taxed. Rates vary from state to state.

40. Consider the climate, but keep in mind, if you move from a cold to a hot climate, for example, you could end up replacing high heating bills with high air-conditioning bills.

(“9 Tips for Picking an Affordable Place to Retire,”U.S. News and World Report, August 2011)

Selecting a Retirement Community

41. Ask for blank copies of all contracts and agreements after seeing the sales presentation.

42. Obtain a copy of documents that specify management's rules for living in the retirement community.

43. Ask pointed questions about services and employees (e.g., “Do you provide housekeeping, yard maintenance, appliance repair, etcetera?”).

44. Determine what utilities and maintenance services are included in the monthly service fee.

45. Talk to current residents to get their thoughts on the community.

(“Buyer Beware” by Col. John M. Root, USAF-Ret., Military Officer, March 2005)


46. Start in less-used rooms, such as a guest room, where belongings are less likely to have personal meaning.

47. Give to-be-inherited items when you can see people enjoy them.

48. Hire a professional appraiser to assess your collectibles.

49. Hold a yard sale to get rid of other unwanted belongings.

50. Donate belongings you cannot sell.