Be prepared for retirement
Before you retire you want to make sure that you have your personal finances in order. You need to know if you can afford to retire. You will want to be aware of any lifestyle changes that you will need to make as a result of having less income after retirement. Your entire financial routine will change and you need to review what those changes are going to be now so that you are not caught off guard.
As you approach the age when you are considering retirement, the first thing that you need to do to prepare is to figure out how much money you will need to have in order for you to maintain the lifestyle that you would like to maintain. Your standard of living may have to change. The next thing that you will want to do is to check with the Social Security Administration to determine how much you have in eligible benefits. The SSA sends a statement out every year so you may have a good estimate of what this amount is without having to contact the administration. You will also want to look into what any other benefits you may have available to you are worth (i.e. your pension).
Hopefully there are some costs of retirement that you have been saving for. Most people approaching retirement age have investments that they can cash in. A 401K plan is probably the most popular example of a retirement plan that you would have through your work. Take advantage of your 401k plan. If your employer offers a 401k plan, make a monthly contribution. You will receive this money after you retire. Many employers offer to match your contribution by a set percentage. If you are close to retirement age and have not had the chance to build up your 401K, it may be a good idea to contribute more money so that you can see that account grow more quickly. If you are a young person and retirement is still a long time away, you may want to be less aggressive with your 401K contribution, perhaps only contributing an amount that fits comfortably within your budget.
In addition to contributing to a 401K account, you should be putting some money away in a savings account or another type of investment account. The more money you can put into your investment account early on in life, the longer your money has to grow. Make sure that as you contribute to this type of a retirement savings account, that you remind yourself that the money that you have saved is for retirement and is not to be touched. As you are preparing for retirement, you ought to also think of how your spouse's benefits will compliment yours. Work with your spouse to figure out how much money you will each receive once you both reach retirement age.
Claiming your benefits may take some time, so make sure that you take that into account. Several months before you plan in retiring you will want to fill out any applicable paper work including applications for benefits that are required by institutions such as the Social Security Administration.
There are some situations where a retiree simply does not have enough saved to sustain the income needed to provide for their lifestyle. In these cases the retiree may opt to work part time as a means of supplementing their retirement income. The best way to be prepared for retirement is to start contributing to your retirement accounts early. Feel free to talk to the HR representative at your place of employment if you have any questions about the retirement planning that is available to you.