Once you hit your sixties, you’re in the home stretch toward retirement. At this time, you need to confront several big decisions and make plans for certain parts of your life. If you’ve reached this decade and you’re approaching retirement, consider these five decisions carefully.
Decide when to claim Social Security. Social Security deems “full retirement age” as 66 or 67, depending upon your year of birth. This is the age at which you can claim your full scheduled benefits. Otherwise, claiming your benefits early will result in smaller monthly checks, and waiting beyond full retirement age can result in larger checks. At this point, you need to determine your full retirement age and then decide if you will claim benefits on time, early, or later.
Research your Medicare options. Generally speaking, you’re required to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, except in certain situations (like you or your spouse are still working). If you’re required to enroll and neglect to do so, you could end up paying higher premiums for the rest of your life. And since Medicare is actually composed of many different programs and options, you need to start researching them now in order to achieve a healthcare plan that meets your needs.
Determine whether you want to enroll in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, and whether you need to add supplemental plans.
Look into long term care insurance. You might be surprised to learn that Medicare covers very little toward the cost of long-term nursing care. So if you ever need this option in the future, you will be responsible for the bill. Premiums for long term care insurance rise as you get older, so if you haven’t purchased a policy by your sixties this is the time to consider doing so.
Claim your discounts. Once you reach age 65 (and sometimes earlier) you can claim discounts on a variety of purchases such as airfare, hotel stays, restaurant tabs, and more. Don’t forget to ask about these discounts, because the savings really add up.
Access your property tax break, if available. Some states and municipalities offer breaks on property taxes to homeowners age 65 and up. Discover whether this provision exists in your area, and claim it.
And of course, planning for retirement overall requires many other decisions along the way. Meet with us regularly as you plan for your retirement income and budget, and we can help you decide how to set up streams of income to provide for your needs.