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Sketch Out a Winning Retirement Gameplan

Sketch Out a Winning Retirement Gameplan

After years of toiling away in the office, you’ve finally decided to enter into your glorious retirement years. You’re probably dreaming of relaxing days, visits with the grandkids, plenty of travel and lots of free time to explore new hobbies. Not so fast—before you clock out for the last time and bid farewell to your co-workers, you’ll need to sketch out a winning retirement gameplan.

As with every other major life change, retirement takes plenty of preparation. Not only do you need to figure out how you’re going to pay the bills—you’ll also want to prepare for the emotional and mental challenges many retirees face after leaving the workforce. Once you’re retired and have more free time, you may find yourself bored, isolated and even depressed.

Here are a few steps you should take to ensure your exit from the working world and entry into retirement is a smooth transition:

· Do your boss a favor: You may be tempted to take off running from the office as soon as you announce your retirement. However, it would be beneficial to both you and your employer if you stick around and help your boss find a suitable replacement. You may even offer to help train your successor. Not only will your boss be forever grateful, but this will help ease your transition into retirement.

· Draw up a retirement budget: Before you jump into retirement, you’ll want to make sure you have enough income to last throughout your lifetime. Sit down and figure out just how much money you’ll need each month for the next 40 years in order to maintain your current lifestyle. If you don’t think you have enough money in your retirement funds to cover these monthly expenses, you may want to rethink your plans. You might consider delaying retirement, exploring an “encore” career or picking up a part-time job.

· Consider health care expenses: Even if your employer offers a retirement health plan, you should set aside plenty of funds to cover the cost of health insurance. A company can take away these retirement health benefits at any time, so you’ll want to make sure you’re covered from every angle.

· Sign up for government aid ahead of time: Sometimes, it can take 90 days or longer for Social Security benefits or Medicare to kick in for eligible retirees. If you’re 65 or older, approaching retirement and want to start receiving benefits as soon as you stop working, you should sign up for benefits a few months before your official retirement. Visit ssa.gov or call 800-772-1213 to register.

· Plan now for retirement hobbies: Boredom is one of the biggest challenges many retirees face. But if you plan ahead to stay active, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy a full, rewarding retirement. Think about some new hobbies you’d like to pursue, sign up for volunteer work, register for some interesting classes or even consider a part-time job. You may also want to find out if your company offers an “alumni group” you could join. Many businesses arrange these groups as a way for retirees to stay in touch with other former colleagues. As long as you continue to take part in meaningful activities and feel like you have a purpose to your life, your retirement will be much more fulfilling and enjoyable.