Money Management

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

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I’m coming up on my 41st birthday in a few weeks and have been talking a lot with my husband about retirement. Our children will all be adults in four years, at that time we’ll transition into empty nesters, then one day retire and do more travelling. My thoughts on 5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with VSP® Individual Vision Plans.

My husband and I both left our jobs over a decade ago and now make a living working for ourselves. In essence, I wake up everyday feeling like a retiree, because entrepreneurship has given me the financial and time freedom I didn’t have with a job. Our retirement talks have been less about finances and more around how we will spend our time day-to-day. Our biggest goal is to do more conscious and meaningful travel, but in order to do that, we had to make sure we had our retirement plans in order.

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

About two decades ago, we put a solid financial roadmap in place that has allowed us to strategically plan for our retirement and prepare us for that phase of life. That strategy has given us peace of mind and clear vision about our future and how we want to spend our retirement years.

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

Today I’ll share five tips on how to prepare for this new stage in life. My tips and this post is written in partnership with VSP Individual Vision Plans.

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work.Retirement

1 – A strategy for eliminating debt

The very first thing I recommend no matter what age you are is to eliminate debt as fast as you can. Carrying debt in retirement is one of the worst things you can do. Retirement typically affects our income earning potential and transitions us on a fixed income. Trying to budget for debt when your income may be less than what you made during your working years will put more stress on you than necessary. The only debt I carry right now is a mortgage which I am making extra payments on. When I retire, I don’t want to pay anything consistently, but my monthly bills.

2 – A budget

A budget is simply an instruction guide for your money. It’s a written out plan to tell your money where to go each month. Writing and sticking with a budget seems to be the hardest habit for a lot of people to create, so starting early is best. The sooner you get in the habit of giving your money instructions, the more disciplined you’ll be in your retirement years. I’ve seen people go into retirement with the same spending habits they had when they worked. They’d put stuff on their credit card and worry about it later. Well, that adds up and before you know it you’re back in debt. A budget will help you see how much you have to spend on necessities and fun stuff without going overboard.

3 – An income source

Before you retire, you’ll need to know how you’ll continue to support yourself. Do you have a 401K? Will you get social security? If so, how much do you expect to draw each month? Will you continue to work during your retirement years? This is something you need to know and have mapped out before your last day at work.  I plan on working during retirement because I enjoy what I do. It’s more than a job and I get so much gratification helping other entrepreneurs launch digital businesses. How about you?

4 – Insurance (life, health, vision, long-term care)

As I’m getting older, I’m starting to see the need for insurance and feel like I’m actually using the services I pay for more. It’s a fact that our bodies age and we need to make sure we have the services in place to meet our needs. The four must-have insurance coverages to have in place before retiring are life, health, vision and long-term care.
5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

With most jobs, your health and vision insurance coverage will either end or become more expensive after retirement so you’ll need to know your options. Quality vision care is important for everyone (whether or not you need vision correction), but if you’re like me, vision coverage is important. I can’t see long distances without my glasses and I don’t think my vision is going to get any better as I age. Therefore, having vision coverage is high on my priority list.

I’ve carried independent coverage ever since I became self-employed so I can tell you not to worry, your vision coverage doesn’t have to retire just because you do. A lot of people who transition from on-the-job health coverage to Medicare, assume they’re covered, but Traditional Medicare doesn’t include routine eye exams.

If you find yourself without vision coverage, you can search for coverage through VSP Individual Vision Plans and find a plan that will allow you to keep your current doctor and similar benefits you enjoyed through an employer-sponsored plan. They have affordable Individual Vision Plans for as low as $17 a month, which is very budget friendly. The plans include annual eye exams, prescription lenses with covered lens enhancements like progressives, a generous allowance for brand name frames and/or contacts and access to the nation’s largest network of independent doctors to choose from. VSP Individual Vision Plans give you control of your vision care, lets you choose the coverage you want, where and when you want it. Visit or call 877.988.4746 to speak to a customer care representative to learn more and enroll.

5 – An estate plan or written will

In a nutshell, an estate plan or a will are your wishes for your assets after your death. This is the final piece to retiring responsibly. Both of these tools allow you to plan ahead for taxes, fees, expenses and legal issues that can come along with transferring your assets after your death. Most people will only need a will, but sitting down with a financial planner before retiring is key to determining what’s right for you.

With these things in place I can confidently say I’m looking forward to my full retirement with confidence. I will enter it prepared and with more time to do the things I love with the people who matter to me.

5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

Here’s a quick video recapping the 5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work. Watch and share.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of VSP Individual Plans.

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23 thoughts on “5 things every retiree should have in place before their last day at work

  1. In just over 10 years my parents will be eligible for state retirement and it’s scary because there is a lot of things they want to plan for. Life insurance and biggest thing for eliminating debt.

    1. Having the right insurances in place and no debt is definitely a burden off of any retirees shoulders.

  2. All great tips. I feel like we think of all this when it’s too late. I planned on some of those but didn’t consider health insurance and now I can’t afford it so I’m figuring out another plan.

    1. I’ve seen some retirees struggle a bit because they didn’t prepare.

  3. This is so spot on! Being retired from the work force is not a bed of roses. You will have to start thinking about an income source, as pensions do not and could not cover for every expense. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Exactly! Retirement should be the fun years to enjoy life not be stressed about money and health care.

  4. As a retiree, I agree with all your suggestions. I truly believe you need about 6 months of income in savings as well, especially if you are living off dividends. We are on a teacher’s pension which is a truly wonderful thing.

  5. Retirement is a phase that comes in everyone’s life and one needs to be prepared, these are valuable suggestions. I think one should focus on ensuring passive income channels which will come in handy after retirement.

  6. Thinking about financial planning might be daunting but it’s a must for every home and household. It’s just smart to invest in healthcare, an estate plan, and keeping finances strong and steady.

  7. My husband and I are 46 and are already empty-nesters. We are having similar conversations, but they are complicated by the fact that my oldest son has autism. While he lives on his own, he needs significant hand-holding and a Social Security representative payee. We are currently talking about estate planning – but thankfully already have some income sources planned.

  8. These are such important tips and yes people should plan ahead, as my late father would say “Rather be safe than sorry” and I am working hard on it here

  9. These are great tips! I think that planning to minimize most debt before retirement age is a really good idea. My husband and I are a long time away from retirement but we do hope to start working on our own endeavors soon and be retired-ish well before it is official.

  10. This is such a great post and very informative for those who are getting near the age of retirement it is such a big jump to take.

  11. We definitely need a strategy for eliminating debt. Right now we are not very successful at it. I mean we are paying off credit cards and all, but I still wish we didn’t have them. At least we also have good debt like a mortgage payment that we will one day use as means to go tinier and hit the road.

  12. This is some very insightful information. Retirement is a ways away, but it will be here for sure.

  13. My mom recently retired and it makes me think of all the things I want to have in place before I retire. She met with a financial counselor before her retirement and it helped her plan for her retirement. It’s so important to have a plan.

  14. These are smart tips for those looking to retire soon. Having a solid insurance coverage in place is essential. I also think that life insurance is generally a wise investment.

  15. These are great tips. I left teaching about 7 years ago and I’m thinking about going back. My husband just started a new career path as well. We need to plan for our special needs daughter.

  16. Those are definitely a great tips! I am a long way from retiring but I am trying to do all of these things so when I do retire I’m not worried about things.

  17. We have all of these items in place and will soon be retiring. Stress free to know we can enjoy retirement without any problems. Being debt free is wonderful.

  18. As I get closer to retirement age, I’m thinking about all of these things as well. You covered some awesome points and I’ll be referring back to this as retirement draws closer.

  19. These are all super important things for everyone to have in place before they retire. We are definitely working on it over here.

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