When you’re retired, the start of a new year can mean all sorts of things. Perhaps this is the year you’re taking that big trip you’ve been looking forward to. Maybe you’ve got a new grandchild on the way, and you’re planning on helping out for a month or two. Or maybe you’re starting a class or picking up a new hobby.

These are just some of the exciting developments another year of retirement can bring. The key to enjoying them, however, is financial stability, and that requires planning.

So as you enter 2016, it’s important to talk to your financial planner about any tactics or strategies you may want to explore this year to ensure that you continue to maintain a strong financial position.

Your advisor will, of course, be your best source of helpful information, as he or she already knows your financial situation. However, there are a few ideas you might want to begin considering right off the bat.

    1. Make sure you’re planning for a long retirement. How many years do you think you’ll need to be able to live off your retirement savings? Chances are you’re underestimating your lifespan or that of your spouse, who may also need to live off your retirement income.

For example, what if both you and your spouse live past 90? Or what if you do not, but your spouse does? They’re very real possibilities, but few of us make a habit of thinking quite that far ahead. It’s also important to remember you’re more likely to have greater medical expenses when you live to an advanced age, so make sure you’re devoting some planning to covering those costs, as well.

    1. Maintain open communication with your spouse. As any married person knows, this is a good rule of thumb for every area of marriage! But it especially applies to finances. If you and your spouse are living off of two retirement accounts - one for each of you - that’s excellent. You should still regularly sit down together to take a look at the total amount you have saved, in addition to any investments or other sources of income you have.

If you’re both living on only your or your spouse’s retirement savings, then it’s even more vital that you check in together regularly to see where your finances stand. After all, if one of you outlives the other, he or she will need to have enough income to live on comfortably.

    1. Analyze your assets, and consider disposing of the ones you no longer need. The start of a new year can be a great time to look at your lifestyle and identify things that are no longer bringing you value. Maybe you have an SUV sitting in your garage that rarely gets driven, but costs you a fortune in car insurance. Maybe you have a second home that you rarely visit anymore.

Or maybe you have a life insurance policy that’s costing you a great deal in premiums, but that you really no longer need. You could look into disposing of that policy in a life settlement transaction, selling it through a life settlement broker on the Secondary Market.

Instead of simply surrendering the policy, you’d receive a lump sum that is typically many times higher than the cash value. This can be a good way to both cut out an unnecessary expense, and give your income a quick boost.

  1. Invest in your health. If you’ve been letting your health fall by the wayside for the past year, decide to make a new start. Whether that means joining a gym or simply taking a walk every day, make this the year you do something to maintain and improve your overall health. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you’re able to enjoy a long, happy retirement. And as an added bonus, you’ll be less likely to develop medical problems - and the medical expenses that go with it.

Planning for the new year as a retiree is exciting, but it’s important to make sure you’re ready to enjoy it to the fullest - and to do that, you’ve got to be in a solid financial position. Talk to your financial advisor, and if you think a life settlement might be a prudent decision for you, ask your advisor to contact Ashar today!