If you’re a recent retiree, you’re probably still getting used to your new lifestyle.
There are a lot of changes to take in, and not just things like having all day to do whatever you like, or not having to get up at a certain time each morning.
Your finances will have to be managed a little bit differently, too. Now that you’re living off the distributions from your retirement accounts, you’ve got to make sure that you’re budgeting accurately, planning for major expenses, and keeping an eye out for alternative options for increasing income, should you need it.
This can all be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve put together this retirement finances checklist to help you ensure that you get everything you want out of this new phase of life.
1. Organize your finances.
The first thing to do when you begin retirement is to organize and streamline your financial accounts. You don’t want to have to log in to four different websites to see your whole financial picture - that can lead to a greater potential for costly mistakes, and it may make you less likely to keep track of your money.
There are two options for making this easier. If you don’t actually need to have your cash or investments split up into different accounts, you can consolidate those multiple accounts into just one or two.
If you do need to keep your funds and investments in different accounts, you can sign up for an online service like Mint, CountAbout, or LearnVest. These apps aggregate your accounts into a single dashboard, so you can see everything at a glance.
2. Review your investment portfolio.
Reviewing your portfolio on a regular basis is an important part of ensuring you don’t outlive your savings. If you’re investment-savvy, you can do this on your own, but it’s still always a good idea to work with a financial advisor if you can. An advisor can look at your investments and your goals and help you make sure that they match up.
While conventional wisdom has held that you want to invest more and more conservatively as you move further into retirement, new data shows that you actually want a good mix of low- and higher-risk investments as you age. Gradually increasing your investment in stocks and decreasing it in low-risk bonds has been found to work best, according to Forbes.
However, before you make any serious changes, you should talk to your financial advisor.
3. Keep alternative income options open.
Retirement doesn’t look the same today as it did 40 years ago, nor does it look the same for every person.
“Encore careers,” part-time work, and entrepreneurship are increasingly becoming part of people’s retirement plans. Many are finding that they don’t like not working, and they want to have something meaningful to occupy their time. Others may have to keep working longer than they’d originally planned.
Another option for increasing income during retirement is a life settlement. If you hold a life insurance policy that you no longer need, and you meet certain qualifications, you can sell your policy on the secondary market through your financial advisor and a life settlement broker.
Policies can typically be sold for much more than their cash surrender value, and the proceeds are delivered to the policy seller as a lump sum, with no strings attached. If you think this option might be a good fit for you, read our post “Majority of Seniors Still Unaware of Life Settlement Option.”
Getting used to managing your finances as a retiree can take some time, but if you focus on these three points, you’ll be well on your way to success.