Don’t you “love” it when you forget to buy something at the grocery store?
So often I get nine of the ten things I was supposed to buy, but there’s always that one item I don’t remember until I get home.
“Seriously? You forgot the tomatoes? How am I supposed to make spaghetti sauce without tomatoes?” (Helpful tip: That is a rhetorical question.)
Forgetting something at the grocery store is annoying. But forgetting a “key ingredient” to your retirement can be devastating.
That’s why I recommend using a checklist.
Checklists are great. Pilots use them. So do astronauts. Hospitals use them to improve surgical safety. And successful franchises – once they have a winning formula – use a checklist of sorts to ensure that customers have the same experience at each new location.
A checklist reminds you of what you need, or what you need to do.
For pre-retirees (usually folks in their 60s), a checklist is invaluable for making sure you’ve taken care of all the important stuff ahead of time.
For example, such a checklist would include questions like these:
How much longer do you plan to work?
Do you plan to work any after retirement?
What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
Have you discussed this with your spouse?
Housing in retirement
Will you stay in your present home? How long?
Any plans for a second home or cabin?
How much income will you want or need?
Where will that income come from?
What are the chances of you outliving that income?
Do you have a retirement income projection from www.ssa.gov?
Do you know when you will begin taking Social Security?
Do you know how your Social Security will be taxed?
Will you retire before you are eligible for Medicare?
Do you know when to sign up for Medicare?
Do you and your spouse have valid, current wills?
Does your family know where they are?
How do you want to be remembered by those you love?
Have you considered writing your own obituary, then living in such a way that it becomes true?
Those are just a few of the questions you need to be thinking about. In fact, I just compiled a “Checklist for Sixty-Somethings” that has more “items” than I can include in one short column. I’d be glad to send it to you for free if you request a copy from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you forget a grocery item, the result is a mildly frustrating trip back to the store.
But forget something critical in your pre-retirement preparation, and isn’t like you can go back. At that point, the “store” will be closed.
Don’t forget. Use a checklist.
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