When you reach your 70s, life slows down a little. You may be planning to retire, or already living in retirement. Whatever your situation, there are ways to make your 70s more enjoyable and stress free, especially when it comes to managing your finances. If you still choose to work in some capacity, or simply want to enjoy your leisure time and hobbies, here are some tips to help you live the retirement you want.
- Take Your Required Minimum Distributions
If you have tax-deferred retirement accounts such as a 403(b), 457(b), 401(k) and/or traditional IRA, the IRS requires you to start required minimum distributions (RMD) on an annual basis when you turn 72. Be sure to do so. If you don't take a distribution or take enough, you'll incur a penalty equal to 50% of the untaken required distribution amount in addition to the income tax owned. Please consult a tax advisor to learn more.
So how do you determine your amount? It depends on your age and account balances. To help you crunch the numbers, use an RMD calculator, like this one from investor.gov. Keep in mind you may withdraw more than the minimum. However, unless you've paid taxes on the money, you will pay taxes on the year you take the distribution.
- Review Your Medicare Coverage
Assuming you purchased Medicare Insurance at 65, you chose the best plan for your circumstances at the time. Consider reviewing your health and prescription coverage every fall to see if it's still meeting your needs. During the open enrollment period — Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 — you can decide to keep your coverage or change to a different plan. Reviewing plan offerings during open enrollment can help you decide. You can also visit Medicare.gov and use the Medicare Plan Finder to review Medicare Advantage plans.
- Claim Your Social Security Benefits
If you have not started to take your Social Security benefits yet, perhaps to earn delayed retirement credits and an increased payout, do start taking them at age 70 as delayed retirement credits end at that age. so Even if you don't need the money for everyday expenses, use it to pay off debt, invest, or boost your emergency fund. For more information, visit the Social Security website.
- Guard Against Fraud
Everyone, no matter their age, is a potential victim of identity theft. Now, more than ever, it's important to be aware of current scams and guard against them. Although the internet has its share of fraud, criminals regularly target seniors using the phone and snail mail. Make sure you take some simple steps to ensure your personal information is kept safe. Read the Federal Trade Commission's 10 Things You Can Do To Avoid Fraud.
- Shore Up Your Emergency Fund
No matter your age, having a robust emergency fund is essential to enjoying lasting financial well-being. If you are working in retirement, a common rule of thumb is to have three to six months' worth of emergency savings. If you are now living in retirement, try to stretch that timeline out more. If you can increase it by at least two months or even more, you'll be happy you did. Need a little inspiration? Check out America Saves and join other Americans who are taking the pledge to save more.
- Eradicate Debt
Sometimes it's easy to accumulate debt, especially if you're enjoying leisure time, such as taking more vacations. But if you are carrying balances, you need to work on paying them off, and save for your vacations and activities. After credit card debt is in your rearview mirror, consider opening a designated savings account that is separate from your checking account to save for the extras, like vacations. If you're having trouble managing debt, visit GreenPath Financial Wellness, to get help creating a strategy to pay it off.
- Reallocate Investments
Conventional wisdom says when you stop working or are close to that goal, your investments should become more conservative to preserve your assets. But you can still invest wisely and earn higher returns. The key is to diversify your portfolio, so you have an appropriate mix of stocks, bonds and cash based on your individual risk tolerance and other personal factors. One easy way to diversify your portfolio is to invest in mutual funds and let a professional advisor assist you.
- Update Your Estate Plan/Beneficiaries
If you have an estate plan, make sure you review it, as details may have changed since you first created it. If you don't have one, a simple will is a good start, but it doesn't help if you fall ill or can't make your own financial decisions. A trust, on the other hand, allows your successor trustee — a family member, friend or professional corporate institution named by you — to manage your assets for your beneficiaries in the event of your death or incapacity. You should also review the beneficiaries listed on any retirement accounts (403(b), 457(b), 401(k), IRA, etc.) and update if necessary. Then you'll need to discuss your plan with those closest to you so they will understand how to carry out your requests.
- Take Advantage of Education Perks
Part of enjoying life may involve boosting your knowledge. Even if you don't want to pursue a college degree, you can still enjoy going back to school. For instance, California State University allows residents 60 and up to take classes for credit without paying tuition at one of their 23 campuses. Many colleges allow seniors to audit classes, which is also a great option. Learn more about educational opportunities. Learn more.
- Earn Some Extra Money
Plenty of people choose to have a side job or even a second career in retirement. Chances are there are plenty of things you may be interested in. Perhaps you'd like to work at a nursery where your green thumb comes in handy, or you have an outgoing personality and would like to be a tour guide or a customer service representative. You may also consider using your time-honed skills to teach in some capacity. Now may be a perfect time to use your life experience and interests to explore new opportunities. Here are 19 Jobs You Can Do Without Leaving The House.