Couple in their 60s on beach together

Getting Ready for Retirement: In Your 60s

March 16, 2021 by Eileen Loustau

Reaching your 60s means often means transitioning into retirement. For the first time, you’ll be switching from building up your retirement savings to spending from it — a fundamental shift in your financial mindset.

There are some key things to consider during this period to make sure you enter retirement prepared.

1. Determine How Much You Will Need to Spend Each Year

This is really a matter of figuring out your yearly budget. When you are younger, it is a little more difficult to estimate your retirement spending. In your 60s though, when you are just a few years out, it gets easier. The reality is in the first few years of retirement you’ll probably spend about as much as you do now to maintain your current lifestyle.

Make sure to adjust as necessary if you plan to travel more, move to a new area with a different cost of living, or start a new hobby that will affect your spending.

2. Check Your Social Security Benefits

Once you determine your spending needs, figure out if you have enough retirement income to support it. Social Security provides a base of income in retirement, so it makes sense to start with how much yours will be and planning from there.

Your benefit depends on your own earnings history, birthdate, and when you choose to claim your benefit. You can check your record and get a benefits estimate at the Social Security Administration's website. 

3. Decide How Much You Can Spend From Savings

If Social Security won’t replace all of the income you need, look to your savings to make up the difference.

To do that you’ll need to get an idea of how much you can withdraw each year. The trick, of course, is to not withdraw too much from your savings and deplete it too quickly.

There are many strategies for this, such as the 4 percent rule that suggests you can withdraw 4 percent of your savings in the first year of retirement and then adjust each year for inflation.

By limiting yourself to a percentage, you’ll delay relying too much on your investment accounts. The longer your investments sit, the more you may make off the earnings.

Budgeting plans aren’t one size fits all. Spend some time researching and decide on a method that works best for you.

4. File for Medicare

In addition to figuring out your spending plan, you’ll also want to sign up for Medicare. If you’ve started your Social Security benefits, you may be enrolled automatically. If not, you’ll need to enroll yourself.

Your first enrollment window is the seven-month period surrounding your 65th birthday. If you don’t sign up during this window you’ll be hit with a 10 percent late enrollment penalty for Part B. If you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A coverage the 10 percent late enrollment penalty applies there, too.

Planning your retirement budget, knowing if you have enough income to support your desired lifestyle, and getting signed up for Medicare are smart financial moves. Going through these steps can significantly reduce your anxiety and ensure that this period of transition is a happy one.


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