NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Retirement Planning Success: Plan Ahead

Retirement Planning Success: Plan Ahead


            If you are thinking about retiring in the next 5+ years, learn from your predecessors and make a retirement planning checklist now. According to a survey of recent retirees, conducted in 2005 by Fidelity Investments, over half (57%) of recent retirees look back on the years before leaving the workplace and they wish they had done more retirement planning before they retired.

            Compare your plans to this retirement planning checklist for a smoother transition to the next stage of your life.

  • Define your lifestyle. Will you continue to work and live your current lifestyle? Or do you dream of traveling the world? What will you do? Retirement can have several stages to it – dependent on your health and activity level.
  • Review your retirement benefits. Which, if any, benefits you will continue to receive in retirement from your employer?  Be sure to factor in your spouse’s benefits as well, where applicable.
  • Know what you will receive from Social Security. Determine the benefits due to you, and the steps you need to take to activate your payments upon retirement.
  • Where will you live? Revisit your housing options in retirement. Many plan to stay in their current homes and communities when they retire, but there might be practical reasons to move. If your home is too big, too hard to maintain and or not suitable for health reasons, you might consider downsizing to a more accessible home.

  • Choose your target retirement date. At what age will you retire? Do you want early retirement?
  • Compare your retirement hopes and plans to five common financial risks that can impact your retirement:
  • A longer lifespan requires savings to last longer
  • Inflation’s effect on the future purchasing power of today’s dollars
  • An overly conservative asset allocation that may put you at risk for not being able to outpace inflation
  • A withdrawal rate that depletes assets too quickly
  • Rising health care expenses
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