Planning for your retirement is something that makes a lot of sense. After all, there are a whole host of things that you need to think about, even if some seem morbid or difficult. From making sure that you have financial security and a comfortable house to live in, to ensuring that your after-death plans – including your funeral arrangements – are all sorted; the to-do list is surprisingly long.

But did you know that more than two-thirds of Americans believe that they’ll live beyond the age where their retirement savings will be sufficient to support their lifestyle? With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to ensure you act to avoid falling into financial or personal difficulties once you leave the workforce and move into your retirement years. This article will explain how to optimize your retirement planning so that you do not encounter problems at the time in life when you should be relaxing and enjoying yourself. 

Houses and income

The first thing to ensure as you approach retirement is that you have enough cash to cover your immediate living costs. If you have a mortgage on your home, for example, are you certain that you’ll be able to pay it off before you retire? If that is not the case it is worth considering increasing the monthly payments while you are still working. And if you’re in rented accommodation, you’ll need to make sure that your pension income will be able to cover any rent rises. Food, bills, clothes and other necessities will all still be required in retirement – so checking that your pension plan is generous enough is an essential move.

Planning your funeral 

Being actively involved in the planning of a funeral is something that divides opinion among retirees and others who are approaching old age. Some people are set against the idea and believe that it either doesn’t matter or that it should be left up to those left behind. Others think that planning for their funeral is a wise move, as it means there’s no doubt about what’s required when the time comes. There’s no right or wrong way to do it – but perhaps finding a middle ground is a good way forward. You might leave a letter outlining which religious or secular establishment you want your funeral to take place in, for example, while leaving the question of what music and readings to have up to your family.

One part of your funeral plans which you might want to consider prioritizing, however, is the post-funeral aspect. You’ll need to decide between being buried and cremated, and that might require some research. It’s important to make your own decision on this front, and not to decide based on what everyone you know wants to do or what other family members have chosen. As Legacy Cremation Services has pointed out, a cremation-oriented service is dignified and can be personalized in the way you or your family wanted. Either way, you’ll need to communicate your wishes to your family and loved ones: that way, there’ll be no doubt what is required. Some people include their funeral wishes in their will, which makes sense if you feel strongly about the issue. 

Wills and inheritances

Writing a will is one of the most important things you’ll need to do as you approach retirement, especially if you have significant assets – such as a house – that will have to be dealt with as part of your estate after your death. Many people put off writing a will, as it can feel a little morbid to do so. The AARP points out that 60% of Americans have not made a will – something that is not expensive to do and makes the administration of your affairs simpler after your death.  

Under US law, the state can devise a will for you if you die intestate – and that won’t necessarily match what your wishes would have been. Having a will in place can help your family immensely after your death. It means that family members will know who is owed what from your estate, which in turn will help reduce the risk of fights, arguments or disputes over the exact distribution of the money. 

With so much to think about in the run-up to retirement, it is best to get started with your preparations sooner rather than later. Whether you need to make an appointment with a lawyer to discuss drawing up a will or you need to speak to a religious or community leader about plans for your funeral, it’s wise to be clear-headed and practical. Even though it can feel a little distressing at first to think about these questions of later life, it will feel rewarding and satisfying to know that you’ve got your affairs in order.

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