You’ve prepared for retirement for decades, saving money, and making plans, and now the big day is just three months away. With only 90 days left until retirement, you may still have questions—and preparations that need to be made.
Here are some steps to consider taking three months prior to retirement.
Practice living within your new budget
Before you retire, you’ll want to have a budget in place. This may be difficult because you won’t know exactly how you’ll spend your money day to day in retirement, but it’s important to understand your options for using the funds you’ve saved.
“There are going to be a lot of things that pop up that aren’t monthly expenses,” says Jennifer Harper, CFP®, founder and director of Bridge Financial Planning.
To prepare for these unexpected expenses, you can use the 90 days before retirement to put your budget into practice. According to Harper, you can use an online tool or just pen and paper to track your spending for a month to see how well you can stick to your plan.
You may need to be flexible and make changes as you move into this new lifestyle. After only a few months, you may find that your budget needs adjusting, which is why practicing now can be helpful.
Confirm your access to funds
Once you’ve created your budget, you’ll want to make sure your financial accounts are ready to be accessed. If you’re going to draw Social Security, apply now and check to see how much you’ll be receiving.
“You need to set up where you’ll get your money from,” says Ryan G. Monette, CFP®, financial advisor at Savant Capital Management.
This might mean speaking with a financial advisor about your investment portfolio or talking with your company’s human resources department to be sure you are on track to maximize your 401(k) and other benefits before retiring.
If you haven’t maxed out your match for this final year, an advisor may be able to help you develop a plan to do so.
While the best choice for withdrawing your money typically depends on your particular situation, three months before retirement can be a great time to make sure you can properly access what you’ve been saving.
Finalize healthcare plans
When you have only 90 days before retirement, you’ll also want to have made decisions regarding your healthcare plans.
“The Medicare part takes longer than people anticipate, so making sure that’s squared away is very important,” says Andrew Savant, CFP®, wealth advisor at Rinehart Wealth Management.
According to Savant, your employer might offer you health insurance coverage for several months after you retire, but setting up your coverage for the future is still important to do now.
Ideally, you’ll still be in good health at 90 days before retirement—or at least you’ll be aware of your medical expenses. If you plan to use Medicare, you can apply online. If you have already set up your will, take time now to review it and ensure nothing that’s important to you is missing.
“Two very important pieces that a lot of people neglect are the power of attorney and the healthcare power of attorney,” Savant notes. Given their nature, these topics may be uncomfortable for some to consider, but Savant says figuring them out now can make future decisions much easier for your family.
Review your credit
“You always want to have good credit, but as far as, say, being able to apply for a mortgage when you’re no longer working, that becomes pretty hard,” says Joseph Alonso, CFP®, principal financial planner at Aegis Financial Advisory.
For the next three months, determine how you’ll use your credit in retirement. If you’ll be refinancing your mortgage or purchasing a new home or car, a lack of income may have an impact on how lenders view you. Fortunately, planning ahead for these decisions can help you better prepare for any issues that could impact your credit.
“By monitoring your credit report regularly, you can see whether anything is inaccurate,” Harper says. Doing so may help you find any fraudulent accounts and understand what factors in your history might affect your options for credit in retirement.
Even if you’ve been planning for decades, unexpected situations can arise, which is why preparation is important. Three months before you retire might be just enough time to wrap up your plans and start easing into this big transition.