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All that hard work has paid off, but just because you're retired doesn't mean you should stop thinking about your financial plan.  Just as your lifestyle is about to change, so will your financial strategy.

  • Choose a good financial adviser.  As tax laws, savings options and benefits become more and more complicated, it's almost impossible to understand your options on your own.
  • Determine your retirement expenses.  Consider how your lifestyle might change over the next 25-30 years and account for what you might spend on travel, hobbies and entertainment.  Health care costs might significantly increase during mid and late retirement.
  • Consider consolidating assets as you near retirement.  Leaving funds in a number of places or institutions makes it more difficult to manage.
  • Have five years of living expenses in safe, liquid spots, like online bank accounts, high yield savings accounts, money-market funds and CDs.
  • Customize your investment plan.  Most people want to moderate the risk profile of their investments as they approach retirement, moving funds out of higher-risk stocks and into lower-growth (and lower-risk) investments.  But don't get out of equities entirely because if you live 25 years into retirement, you'll want some growth investments to get you through.
  • Review your insurance coverage.  Make sure to review your life, health, homeowners and auto insurance policies so that your coverage is appropriate for your new lifestyle.  Consider long-term care coverage to supplement Medicare.
  • Note Medicare milestones on your calendar.  The Medicare application process, timelines and premiums vary, and applying late may result in delayed benefits and higher premiums.
  • Review your estate plans every few years and update as needed.  This includes your will, trust, power of attorney and medical advance directive.
  • Apply for Social Security three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday or three months before you wish to start collecting benefits.  At the earliest, you may apply at 61 years and 9 months of age, although benefit reductions apply depending on your full retirement age (determined by year of birth) and personal situation.

Learn more about financial needs during various various life stages, such as starting a family, sending your children to school, starting your career, getting married and becoming an "empty nester."

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