If you’re like many people, the majority of your retirement strategy has been in planning and doing over decades. But what about when you’re almost ready to retire? Your strategy is likely to change.
Here are some things that you can keep in mind if your retirement is literally right around the corner, thanks to an article from the Motley Fool.1
One step is to make sure you take advantage of your flexible spending account (FSA) right up until you retire. Remember, in 2020 you could funnel $2,750 in pre-tax dollars1 into your FSA and that number stayed steady in 2021.2 That money can be used for things like glasses, visits to the dentist, some medications, and doctor visits. Of course, if you don’t use the money in your FSA, you lose it.
Health savings accounts (HSAs) may be an even stronger play because the money you put into them doesn’t get forfeited.1 They can remain in your account and withdrawn without a penalty. You should note however, that the money you withdraw does become taxable income. The 2021 HSA contribution limit is $3,600 for indviduals and $7,200 for families.3 Also, people who are 55 and older can kick-in another $1,000.
When it comes to organizing your healthcare right before you retire, it’s also critical to have a thorough understanding of Medicare because there are plenty of options and nuances. Healthcare, especially Medicare, is a reason to meet with an experienced financial services professional who can help you make healthcare decisions that fit into your broader financial and retirement strategies.
Another thing to make sure you’re considering before you retire is inflation. You’ll want to make sure that you factor inflation into your savings goal to make sure your money is working just as hard for you 10 years into your retirement as it was on the day you retired.
Finally, it’s no secret that Social Security is an essential part of retirement for millions of Americans. Therefore, it’s important to understand what you’re likely to receive, when you should file, and ways you may be to increase your monthly payment.
Currently, the average monthly Social Security check is $1,478, which equates to $17,700 per year.1 You don’t need to have an economics degree to know that’s not going to come close to covering an extravagant retirement lifestyle. But remember, that’s just the average. If you were a high earner, your monthly check will be higher. And the current maximum monthly check is $2,788, good for $33,500 annually.1
If you don’t already have a clear idea of what your monthly benefit will be, you can visit the Social Security Administration’s website, at ssa.gov and set up an account to do so. One note here: The Social Security formula used to tabulate your monthly check considers your 35 highest-earning years. That means if you’re currently earning more than you ever have, and you like your job, you may want to at least consider working for another year or two because it will drive up your eventual Social Security payment.
There are many factors that you’ll want to consider before you make the leap into retirement. A financial services professional can help you. But most of all — congratulations! You have worked for years to reach this moment. Enjoy it.
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