Home Personal Finance Are you ready for your first year of retirement? Here are 5 things you might not expect — but definitely need to prepare for

Are you ready for your first year of retirement? Here are 5 things you might not expect — but definitely need to prepare for

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Are you ready for your first year of retirement? Here are 5 things you might not expect — but definitely need to prepare for

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You prepare for retirement your whole life — maybe as far back as your teenage years and your first paycheck. You put cash aside. You invest. You live within your means, and when the time comes, you downsize. So are you really, truly ready to retire?

That depends.

Even with decades of planning and saving, surprises are likely to come your way that first year of retirement.

Here are five strategies retirees — and those about to take the plunge — need to put in place.

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Get readt for an adjustment period

Even if you have a smart plan for retirement, there’s still an adjustment period where leaving the labor force means far less money coming in and more going out. And let’s face it, pre-retirement habits and assumptions can be difficult to change.

Make sure to look over your budget before you retire, not after. Where and what do you spend on? What’s your projected cash inflow?

Crunching these numbers might feel overwhelming, especially if it looks like you’re going to have to make some big changes to your lifestyle, so it’s a smart idea to sit down with a financial adviser and take stock of your situation.

If you don’t have one yet, researching and calling multiple advisers can be a hassle, but there are easier ways to find one fast.

WiserAdvisor* is an online platform that will match you with a vetted financial adviser based on your own unique needs.

The process is simple: Just answer a few quick questions about yourself and your finances, and they’ll set you up with a free, no-obligation call* to connect you with an adviser who’s a good fit for you.

Make sure your loved ones are protected

No one ever feels ready to start thinking about life insurance. But the truth is, the younger you are when you purchase a policy, the lower your premiums will be. Life insurance can be used by your loved ones to cover outstanding debts, cover unexpected expenses and pay for funeral costs.

If you’re looking for a policy that will last a lifetime, with a locked-in premium and a cash value that can be tapped into while the policyholder is still alive, a whole life insurance policy from Mutual of Omaha* is the right fit for you. With coverage amounts ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 (in WA, $5,000 to $25,000), you can rest assured that your family will always be ready to cover any end-of-life expenses.

It only takes five minutes to fill out an online application* with your personal and beneficiary information. Once you register, not only will you be guaranteed coverage, but your benefits will never be reduced due to age or health. Plus, no medical exams or health questionnaires are needed to join.

Read more: Retire richer — why people who work with a financial advisor retire with an extra $1.3 million

Have a Social Security strategy

If you take your Social Security starting at age 62, you’ll miss out on additional funds you’d reap at a later retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

If you wait until you hit 66, the SSA calculates that you’d reap $1,000 instead of $750. Further, you could receive delayed retirement credits should you wait until full retirement age, which stops when you reach 70.

To be sure, managing your bills might not make deferment possible, but you may be able to lighten some of your debt load by rolling all your debts into a single loan with a lower rate*.

You can use a free online service called Credible to compare loan rates in minutes* and find the option that will save you the most.

Depending on how much you currently owe, consolidating your debts could save you thousands on interest payments in the long run.

Prioritize your expenses

Want to travel? It’s a delicious luxury but it’s incredibly expensive when you factor in food, lodging, flights and frequency of trips. Want to renovate your home or buy a seaside getaway? Interest rates on first and second mortgages these days are through the roof.

Before you break open the coffers and live it up, get a sense of your “nice to haves” versus your “need to haves.” You can also take steps to lower the cost of those “need to haves” so that you’ve got more money leftover for the fun stuff.

For example, you may be able to save more than $1,000 a year by shopping around for better rates on your insurance.

Using an online marketplace called SmartFinancial*, you can compare rates from hundreds of home insurers to find the best deal available in your area in just minutes. Plus, it’s completely free.

According to data from Forbes, the national average cost for car insurance in 2023 was $2,118 per year, or $176.5 per month.

But, depending on which state you live in, your driving history and the make and model of your car, you can save up to $820 a year on your car insurance.

Luckily, BestMoney, makes it easier to for you to comparison shop instantly. Choose the best available car insurance quote for you in minutes so you can start saving.

Keep adding to your savings

Once it’s time to retire, many folks throw their savings plan out the window of the cruise ship or dream home. That’s the wrong way to go. Saving not only offers a buffer but also a means to make even more aspirations possible.

If you once put 10% of each paycheck aside, you could now aim for 10% of each Social Security check. Even just 5% is better than nothing, especially if you invest it wisely.

Yes, the stock market may be rocky these days, but there are other ways to invest for your future than just dumping your savings into stocks.

Commercial real estate is a great example. As an asset class, it has outperformed the S&P 500 over a 25-year period. And while you might assume that investing in real estate is only possible if you’ve got millions to throw around, that’s no longer the case.

First National Realty Partners* makes commercial real estate available to everyday investors, and their team of experts will manage every step of the investment process for you. All of FNRP’s investment properties are anchored by major grocery stores, so they remain stable even when the economy is shaky.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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