Congratulations, you are almost ready to retire! While people almost always create a to-do list, some people don't begin planning the next phase of their lives until after they have already retired, which is a mistake.
Here are three essential steps you should take before retiring.
1. Figure Out Your Budget
If you are not already tracking your income and expenses, now is the perfect time to get started. Both will change in retirement, so it is important to think ahead. Your steady paycheck will obviously be gone, so you will need to figure out how much you will receive from investments, retirement accounts, pensions, Social Security, and other income sources. You may or may not end up spending less money than you did while you were working. This depends on your plans for traveling, upcoming purchases, and your lifestyle.
Luckily, technology has made this much easier than before. Websites like Mint.com, EveryDollar.com, and others allow users to create monthly budgets and track their spending right on their phone, tablet, or computer.
2. Hire A Professional To Put Together Your Estate Plan
What would happen if you got sick? What will happen after you pass away? If you are either uncomfortable or unsure of the answers to those questions, it is time to take action.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to make sure that you have a solid estate plan in place to make sure your wishes are carried out. Now is not the time to be penny-wise and pound-foolish with your life savings. There have been countless horror stories of people who either failed to plan or who used cookie-cutter, generic, low quality estate planning documents and what happened to them. Even if you are someone who prefers DIY, having a review with an experienced professional can be a great way to make sure that your plan protects you while you are alive and provides for your family after you are gone.
A comprehensive estate plan, if done properly, will provide for all of the "what-ifs" in your life. It will take into account your cash, insurance, investments, retirement accounts, and other assets. It will allow you to pass on your values to future generations while addressing what will happen to your assets when your heirs inherit them.