Many of us think of retirement as the point at which we’ve “made it” financially. Retirement arrives, and it’s time to put our finances on autopilot and cruise through the rest of life, enjoying our hard-earned money.
It’s not that simple, though. If you want to make sure your money lasts and that your assets are properly protected—and your spouse is protected too—you need to continue to manage your money throughout retirement. Here are three financial moves that you shouldn’t neglect during retirement:
1. Rebalance your portfolio. Even in retirement, you might still need to rebalance your portfolio. The economic situation is always changing, and the markets are always responding. While you don’t want to completely overhaul your portfolio in the midst of retirement, it doesn’t hurt to tweak it occasionally, and periodically assess what your portfolio is doing for you. Make sure you have the income streams you need, and reallocate assets as needed.
2. Consider life insurance. It seems strange to buy life insurance during retirement, especially since your kids are likely grown up. However, life insurance isn’t just about making sure the kids are taken care of if you pass on while they’re young. It’s about taking care of any dependents, and that includes your spouse. If your spouse would suffer from the lack of pension income if you passed on, or if you have other obligations, such as a mortgage that it would be nice to pay off with the life insurance, consider a policy that protects your spouse.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that your life insurance policy can be used by your heirs to pay funeral expenses and estate taxes. Before you shrug off the value of life insurance during retirement, consider those who will be left behind when you pass on.
3. Estate planning. During retirement, you need to keep up with your estate plan. Consider the items that will protect you and your assets. This includes setting up power of attorney and health care proxy situations so that you are properly taken care off and your wishes are followed if you become incapacitated.
You can also use trusts and other financial arrangements to ensure that your money passes smoothly. The structure of your estate and assets matters when your assets are transferred to heirs. Review these items regularly (at least once a year) to ensure that everything is in order.
Part of estate planning and smart finances during retirement also includes regularly checking your beneficiaries. You want to make sure beneficiary information is up to date because the information on your retirement accounts, pensions, bank accounts, and insurance policies supersedes what you have in your will. Regularly review your beneficiary information to make sure the money is going where you want it to go.
It doesn’t take a lot of time each year to review your financial situation and make updates. Being on top of your situation will help you improve your finances and ensure that your retirement years truly are your golden years.