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How to Smoothly Navigate the Transition to Retirement

Retirement is a major milestone and a significant goal that most Americans hope to achieve. But while there’s a wealth of information out there on planning for retirement and fulfilling ways to spend your retirement, less attention is given to the actual transition from working. 

But this transition is an important one, and the decisions you make now can help set you up for a successful and stress-free retirement.

At Chatterton & Associates, we’re committed to helping you reach your financial and personal goals throughout every stage of your life, including during the transition to retirement. We provide integrated and highly personalized retirement, tax, and estate planning services to help you smoothly navigate the transition to retirement and achieve your individual retirement goals.

1. Figure Out When You Want to Stop Working

Timing is key when it comes to setting yourself up for financial independence in retirement. According to recent survey data, 61 is the average age of retirement in the US. However, most working Americans now cite their target retirement age as 66.

There’s much to consider when deciding when and how to retire, such as your eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, your current financial situation, and your personal health and lifestyle.

Whether you plan to stop working within the next year or the next decade, it’s essential to start preparing now. Working with a financial advisor for retirement planning can help you develop a comprehensive retirement strategy.

2. Understand Social Security and Medicare Benefits

While you can take Social Security as early as age 62, delaying your benefits by just a few years can yield a significant increase in the amount you can expect to receive each month. In fact, your benefits will be increased by a certain percentage for each month past full retirement age that you choose to delay taking Social Security up until you reach age 70.

It’s also essential to consider insurance for retirement planning to accommodate changing healthcare needs. The Medicare program currently covers more than 65 million people in the US and is separated into 4 parts (A, B, C, and D). Every individual over the age of 65 is eligible to receive medicare coverage regardless of their retirement status. Ideally, you should sign up for Medicare approximately 3 months before your 65th birthday to avoid late-enrollment penalties.

3. Prepare Your Long-Term Budget

It’s important to work on a long-term retirement budget that takes into account changes in your income and expenses. In addition to necessities like housing and transportation, think about how you want to spend your money in retirement and include these categories in your retirement budget. Examples might include:

  • Traveling and vacations
  • Gifts for children and grandchildren
  • Caring for a pet
  • Personal interests and hobbies

At Chatterton & Associates, we use cutting-edge modeling software and retirement planning worksheets to help us prepare and manage your budget. There are also a variety of helpful budgeting apps that can help make tracking your income and expenses easier at any stage of life.

4. Review Your Investments

It isn’t always necessary to rebalance your investment portfolio when you retire. But your priorities, risk tolerance, and income needs may be shifting substantially as you transition into retirement. That’s why this is an ideal time to take a real look at your asset allocations and investment strategies to make sure they’re still optimized for your goals.

Here are some potential changes you may want to consider, depending on your unique situation:

  • Prioritizing income-producing assets (bonds, CDs, dividend-paying stocks, rental properties, etc.)
  • Building up an emergency fund / cash position
  • Consolidating 401(k) accounts
  • Taking withdrawals from retirement accounts

5. Spend Time With Friends and Family

Maintaining a healthy social life is important at every age, but our retirement years often present unique challenges in this area of life. Retirees with active social lives appreciate improved mental and physical health and may even live longer than those who are more socially isolated.

For most of us, spending time with friends and family is essential to getting the most out of our retirement years. Retirement can also present an opportunity to form new friendships by joining clubs and activity groups, volunteering for meaningful causes, or taking classes.

6. Make Sure Your Wills and Estate Plans Are in Place

If you have accumulated wealth throughout your life that you wish to pass on to your children, other family members, or to charitable organizations, it’s essential to prepare an estate plan. 

Beginning the estate planning process early in your retirement helps protect your legacy and ensure your wishes are carefully followed. Starting early also gives you the opportunity to make changes over time if you wish to do so.

 At Chatterton & Associates, we can help you:

7. Work With a Certified Financial Planner™

You deserve to get the most out of your finances and enjoy your golden years. But the transition to retirement can come with challenges and unforeseen complications. That's why working with an experienced Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) can help make the transition smooth, stress-free, and financially beneficial.

At Chatterton & Associates, our Certified Financial Planner™ professionals can accurately assess your financial situation and needs and offer effective recommendations to get the most out of your retirement. From cash-flow analysis and asset allocation, to estate planning and tax reduction strategies, we can provide you with personalized financial planning for retirement.

8. Be Excited for the Next Phase of Your Life

Retirement isn’t just about the financial and personal freedom that comes from no longer working. It’s about starting a whole new chapter in your life. It’s the chance to spend time with loved ones, explore new places, find new interests, enjoy lifelong passions, and take charge of your future.

As you transition from your working years to your retirement ones, it’s often helpful to sit down and make a list of your priorities. Write down the things you want to do, how you plan to spend your time, and what you’re looking forward to the most.

Let Us Help You Transition Into a Prosperous, Fulfilling, and Worry-Free Retirement

While retirement is a major achievement and an exciting milestone, the process of actually retiring can be stressful and complicated. By working with experienced financial professionals with in-depth knowledge of the retirement process, you can alleviate this stress, avoid common mistakes, and optimize your retirement plan.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement planning. At Chatterton & Associates, we care deeply about the financial health and well-being of our individual clients and their families. We can help you establish personalized goals and then apply time-tested financial strategies to help you succeed in meeting your needs and reaching your goals. 


The Team at Chatterton & Associates

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