Retirement Planning Checklist

This retirement planning checklist covers pre retirement planning to be sure you start your retirement on a solid foundation. Make sure you are fully prepared to begin a most comfortable retirement.

When you begin seriously planning to start your retirement, review this checklist to be sure you have everything covered.

Depending on your situation, you will probably have more items to add to it.

Spend a little time brainstorming to customize your retirement check list.

Review Your Insurance Needs

Consider Long Term Care Coverage

This insurance pays for nursing home and similar care situations.

Having this insurance will protect your hard earned savings in the event you or your spouse needs to stay in a nursing home or extended care facility.

This type of care is not covered by your standard medical insurance and can cost hundreds of dollars per day.

Life Insurance

You may have your life insurance coverage through your employer. If that will end when you retire, what will your life insurance needs be? Consult a highly regarded insurance provider for a quote and more information.

Disability Insurance

If you are retiring early and plan to work part time, you may want to have disability insurance to fill the gap in your income should you become disabled before you reach full retirement age.

Financial advisers experienced with retirement services will be able to explain which insurance products are important to your plans for retiring.

Consult your insurance agent to finish up this item of your retirement planning checklist. Let them know you won't be commuting to a job anymore because this could reduce your insurance rate.

Your Retirement Budget

Prepare this well in advance. You need to really spend some time on this item. If you haven't read my page on retirement budgets, make sure you check it out when you are ready to work on yours.

If you haven't done this yet, it is critical that you do it before you set your retirement date.

Use your current budget as a starting point and adjust from there. This may not be the first thing to do, but it is one of the most important items on your retirement planning checklist. Include everything you might spend!

Consult a Financial Advisor Specializing in Retirement Services

I suggest you consult a fee-only financial adviser offering retirement services to discuss your retirement plans. This is important so that you know you are getting advice based on your needs rather than the adviser's needs. Do this AFTER you prepare your retirement budget so you have a good idea of your income needs.

We did this before our early retirement and it cost around $500. Our adviser determined our net worth, recommended that we look at certain types of insurance, and validated our retirement plan by analyzing our income needs against our savings goal. He prepared 4 booklets documenting all of these items.

It was very satisfying to know we were on track with a solid plan for a successful retirement. Some of what I learned from that consultation is part of this retirement planning checklist.

For Helpful Info

If you need more details on any of these topics, visit the retirement help page for useful links or the Visitor Sitemap page.

Auto Expenses

retirement auto expenses

Replacement vehicles

When your current car or truck is ready for the junk yard, you will probably need a replacement. Plan for this before the time comes. Will you have a car loan or lease, or will you purchase outright? Either way, it could be a large expense. I suggest you start with a nearly new car that you own free and clear when you begin your retirement and drive it for 10 years. You need a plan for replacing it 5 or 10 years into your retirement.

One car or two?

If you and your spouse have your own car, do you really need both when you retire? Maybe you will need them even more than before if you both plan to be active.

Auto insurance

If your car is paid off, you may want to eliminate your collision coverage or increase the deductible to reduce expenses. This depends on your particular situation, but at least give it some thought.

We decided to keep our full collision coverage, even though our cars are almost 10 years old.

Where to Live

Downsize, Stay, or Relocate

If you are thinking of moving from your current home, be sure you consider cost of living differences between your current location and another.

There can be serious differences between property tax rates from one state or county to another, and possibly income tax and sales tax differences. Investigate all of these as you plan for a move.

Even if you downsize in the same neighborhood, there may be different expenses to factor in. This could be condo fees, changes to your entertainment expenses, and similar things that you should include in your budget.

Retirement Planning Checklist Summary

  • Brainstorm to create a retirement budget to estimate retirement needs.
  • Review Insurance needs: long term care, life insurance, disability insurance
  • Consider where you might want to live as a retiree or whether to downsize.
  • Consider future auto expenses
  • Consult a financial advisor to review or validate your plan
  • Think about how you will spend your time during retirement.
  • Talk with your spouse in great detail about how you will spend your time and about your individual goals and wishes.
  • Double check your preparations the How To Retire page