Make a Retirement Checklist

When will you be ready to retire?

For many people, it’s not just about the money. There are other key factors to consider in addition to finances, including lifestyle, family, health, and community involvement.

This checklist can help you assess how prepared you are today and what steps you may need to take before you’re ready to make a decision. After all, only you can determine when the time is right to retire.

Review your finances

Though deciding to retire is about more than just money, it’s still important to determine how much you may need and whether you can boost your financial situation in the years leading up to retirement.

Consider this:

  • What will your income sources be in retirement? How do they compare against your current pay?
  • Do you know when you want to begin taking Social Security and how the age at which you begin receiving payments will affect your benefit amounts? Read Should You Take Social Security at 62? to learn more. 
  • Can you take advantage of additional opportunities to save? Read Why You Need to Save for help understanding UC’s voluntary savings plans.
  • Is your investment strategy in line with your retirement income needs?

Picture your overall lifestyle

Retirement may feel like a big change—and a big opportunity—after working your whole career. Take some time to think about what you might want your life to look like once you’re no longer working.

Consider this:

  • If you had unlimited time and money in retirement, what passion or dream would you want to pursue?
  • Are there activities you loved when you were younger (dancing, playing an instrument, writing, etc.) that you would like to start again?
  • Where are the top three places you would want to live and why?
  • What will you do during your newfound free time? You might want to make a sample month-long calendar to see where the activities you enjoy will fit in.
  • Do you have a “bucket list” of things you want to do? If not, now is the time to create one.
  • Have you and your spouse/partner discussed your dreams and how you might achieve them?

Keep your family and friends in mind

From reconnecting with old friends to enjoying quality time with family members, retirement offers many an opportunity to spend more time with loved ones.

Consider this:

  • If you have a spouse/partner, do you want to spend more time with him or her? What would you like to do together? Alternatively, what options are out there if you’re interested in finding someone to spend your retirement with?
  • Do you have children and/or grandkids? How much time would you like to spend with them? Will you need to travel to visit them?
  • Are there childhood friends you’d like to see more often?
  • How will you grow and maintain relationships with friends and/or former coworkers?

Don’t forget about healthcare

Medical expenses can be a major part of your retirement income needs, but understanding your available benefits and working to stay healthy can help.

Consider this:

  • Will you be covered under UC’s retiree health & welfare plans? Do you know how these benefits work and how the medical coverage integrates with Medicare? To learn more, go to ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu click the Compensation & Benefits tab, then select Retiree Health & Welfare Benefits.
  • What will you do to stay active? How will you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
  • Will you be able to cook healthy meals at home more often?

Get involved in the community

You’ve accumulated a lot of experience during your career, and you may want to continue to expand your skill set. Whether that means working part-time or increasing your volunteer hours, there may be a variety of opportunities for you to stay engaged.

Consider this:

  • How much longer do you want to work? Are there part-time or flexible options available?
  • Does your location offer a mentoring program where you could share your skills and wisdom with colleagues and/or students?
  • What volunteer opportunities may be a good fit for your interests?

As you plan for retirement, use this checklist to help determine when entering retirement may be right for you, as well as how you might like to spend your time once you retire. We all have a “someday”—it’s up to you to decide what yours will look like.

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