As you approach the age of 65, you may be wondering about the next steps in your life. Retirement, healthcare, and financial planning are just a few of the concerns that seniors face as they enter this next stage of life. In this article, we’ll provide 12 tips on what you should do as you turn 65 to help you navigate these challenges and make the most of your golden years.
1. Sign Up for Medicare
Medicare is a government-funded healthcare program for seniors over the age of 65. It’s essential to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid any penalties or gaps in coverage. You have a seven-month initial enrollment period (IEP) that starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. During this time, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, as well as a Medicare Advantage plan or a prescription drug plan (Part D).
2. Consider Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, can help cover the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for. There are ten standardized Medigap plans, each with a different level of coverage. It’s a good idea to compare plans to see which one is best for your needs and budget.
3. Update Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is essential at any age, but it becomes even more critical as you age. If you haven’t updated your estate plan recently, now is the time to do so. Make sure your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents are up to date and reflect your wishes. Many 65 year olds never do this and the consequences are severe.
4. Review Your Social Security Benefits
You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be reduced. If you wait until your full retirement age, which is between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year, you’ll receive your full benefit amount. If you delay taking Social Security until age 70, your benefit amount will increase by up to 8% per year. It’s important to review your options and make an informed decision about when to start receiving Social Security benefits.
5. Create a Retirement Budget
Retirement is a significant life change, and it’s essential to have a plan in place for your finances. Create a retirement budget that takes into account your expenses, income, and savings. Make sure you have enough money to cover your basic needs and any unexpected expenses that may arise.
6. Make a Plan for Long-Term Care
Long-term care is a significant expense for seniors, and it’s essential to have a plan in place to cover these costs. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance or creating a savings plan to cover any potential expenses.
7. Stay Up to Date on Preventive Care
Preventive care is critical for maintaining your health as you age. Stay up to date on your annual checkups, screenings, and vaccinations. This can help catch any potential health issues early and prevent them from becoming more serious.
8. Evaluate Your Housing Options
As you age, your housing needs may change. Evaluate your current living situation and consider whether downsizing or moving to a retirement community would be a better fit for your needs.
9. Create an Emergency Plan
It’s important to have a plan in place for emergencies, such as natural disasters or medical emergencies. Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts and a plan for what to do in different scenarios.
10. Embrace Your Golden Years
Finally, embrace your golden years and make the most of this next chapter in your life. Travel, try new things, and spend time with loved ones. You’ve worked hard to get here, and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Taking a Closer Look
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these tips and explore some additional advice for making the most of your retirement years.
- Sign up for Medicare
As you approach the age of 65, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is enrolling in Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers the majority of healthcare costs for people over the age of 65. You’ll want to first start with your Medicare eligibility. You have a seven-month initial enrollment period (IEP) that starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. During this time, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, as well as a Medicare Advantage plan or a prescription drug plan (Part D).
Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, hospice care, and skilled nursing care, while Medicare Part B covers doctor’s visits, outpatient care, and preventive services. Part D covers prescription drug costs, and you can enroll in a separate plan if you choose.
In addition to Parts A and B, you can also choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and provide all the benefits of Parts A and B, as well as additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage. You can also choose a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
It’s important to understand your Medicare coverage options and Medicare advantage options to choose a plan that meets your specific healthcare needs. You can use the Medicare Plan Finder tool on the Medicare website to compare plans and find one that works for you.
If you choose to enroll in Medicare Parts A and Medicare Part B, you may also want to consider purchasing Medigap health insurance. Medigap policies can help cover the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. There are ten standardized Medigap plans, labeled A through N. Each plan offers a different level of coverage, and the costs can vary based on your location and the insurance company you choose.
Enrolling in Medicare and choosing the right coverage options can be overwhelming, but there are resources available to help. You can also speak with a licensed insurance agent who specializes in Medicare to help you navigate the enrollment process such as Florida Healthcare Insurance. Again when signing up for Medicare make sure you pay attention to your enrollment period. You want to avoid late enrollment penalties and or a late enrollment penalty.
Once you’ve enrolled in Medicare, it’s important to stay informed about any changes or updates to your coverage. You should review your coverage options each year during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) to ensure you have the best plan for your needs and budget.
- Get a MediGap Plan
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is an important consideration for seniors as they approach their retirement years. While Medicare pays many healthcare costs, it doesn’t cover everything. There are out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance that Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for paying. This is where Medigap comes in.
Medigap policies are sold by a private health insurance company and are designed to help cover the gaps in Medicare coverage. There are ten standardized Medigap plans, labeled A through N. Each plan offers a different level of coverage, and the costs of additional coverage can vary based on your location and the insurance company you choose. Please note you cannot have Medigap and either employer coverage or Cobra coverage.
It’s important to compare plans and choose one that fits your budget and healthcare needs. For example, if you have frequent doctor’s appointments or require a lot of medical services, a plan with more coverage may be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re generally healthy and only need occasional medical services, a plan with less coverage may be sufficient.
When comparing Medigap plans, it’s also important to consider the costs. While the monthly premium for Medigap plans can vary, the benefits are standardized. This means that a Plan F policy from one insurance company will offer the same benefits as a Plan F policy from another company, even though the premiums may differ.
In addition to the monthly premiums, you’ll also need to consider other costs such as deductibles and coinsurance. Some plans may have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs, while others may have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs.
It’s important to keep in mind that Medigap policies only work with Original Medicare (Part A and Medicare Part B). If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), you won’t need a Medigap policy since Medicare Advantage plans already offer additional benefits beyond Original Medicare.
When considering whether to purchase a Medigap policy, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits. While a Medigap policy can help cover the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for, it does come with additional monthly premiums. You’ll need to determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs and fit within your budget.
Overall, Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is an important consideration for seniors as they approach their retirement years. It can help cover the gaps in Medicare coverage and provide peace of mind when it comes to health insurance costs. By comparing plans and choosing one that fits your needs and budget, you can ensure that you have the coverage you need to maintain your health and well-being during your retirement years.
- Update Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how your assets will be managed and distributed after your death. If you haven’t updated your estate plan recently, now is the time to do so. Make sure your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents reflect your current wishes.
It’s also a good idea to review your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets to ensure they’re up to date. These designations override your will, so it’s important to make sure they’re accurate. Furthermore you can no longer contribute to a Health Savings Account.
- Review Your Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration is a federal program that provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to eligible individuals. You can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be reduced if you do so. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year and is between 66 and 67 for most people.
If you delay taking Social Security until age 70, your benefit amount will increase by up to 8% per year. This can be a smart strategy if you have other sources of retirement income and can afford to wait.
It’s important to review your Social Security options and make an informed decision about when to start receiving benefits. You can use the Social Security Administration’s online tools to estimate your benefit amount and explore different scenarios. If you find this difficult you can always make an appointment with your local social security office. If you are turn 65 and already receive social security benefits you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. If you wish to stay on either retiree coverage and or employer coverage please let the Social Security Administration know.
- Create a Retirement Budget
Retirement is a significant life change, and it’s essential to have a plan in place for your finances. Create a retirement budget that takes into account your expenses, income, and savings. Make sure you have enough money to cover your basic needs, such as housing, food, prescription drugs, and medical insurance, as well as any unexpected expenses that may arise.
You should also consider how you’ll generate income in retirement. This may include Social Security benefits, retirement account withdrawals, pensions, or other sources of income. Make sure you have a plan for managing your income in retirement and withdrawing money from your retirement accounts in a tax-efficient manner.
- Make a Plan for Long-Term Care
Long-term care is a significant expense for seniors, and it’s essential to have a plan in place to cover these costs. Long-term care refers to a range of services that help people with chronic health conditions or disabilities perform everyday activities. These services may include assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and mobility.
Long-term care can be expensive, and even with Medicare enrollment only covers a limited amount of these services. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance or creating a savings plan to cover any potential expenses. You should also explore options for in-home care, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes in your area and decide which options would be the most appropriate for your needs. Remember your health insurance and or Medicare coverage will only provide limited benefits.
- Stay Active and Engaged
Staying active and engaged is essential for your physical and mental health. Regular exercise can help you maintain your strength, balance, and flexibility, and reduce your risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Joining a fitness class or exercise group can also help you stay social and make new friends.
Volunteering in your community is another great way to stay active and engaged. Many organizations are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks, from serving meals at a local soup kitchen to tutoring children. Volunteering can be a fulfilling way to give back to your community and stay connected with others.
Finally, pursuing hobbies and interests can help you stay engaged and mentally sharp. Whether you enjoy reading, gardening, or playing an instrument, make time for activities that bring you joy and stimulate your mind.
- Evaluate Your Housing Options
As you age, your housing needs may change. You may no longer need as much space as you once did, or you may require additional amenities such as handrails or wheelchair accessibility. Evaluate your current living situation and consider whether downsizing or moving to a retirement community would be a better fit for your needs.
Downsizing can be a great way to simplify your life and reduce your housing expenses. You can sell your current home and move into a smaller house or apartment, or consider a retirement community that offers a range of services and amenities.
If you’re considering a retirement community, make sure you do your research and choose a community that meets your needs and budget. Look for a community that offers a range of services, such as housekeeping, transportation, and healthcare, as well as social activities and events.
9. Create an Emergency Plan
It’s important to have a plan in place for emergencies, such as natural disasters or medical emergencies. Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts, including family members, friends, and healthcare providers. You should also have a plan for what to do in different scenarios, such as a power outage or a severe weather event.
It’s also a good idea to create a list of medications you take regularly and keep it with you in case of an emergency. Make sure you have enough medication on hand to last for several days or even weeks in case you’re unable to leave your home due to an emergency.
You should also consider purchasing a medical alert device, such as a pendant or wristband, that you can wear in case of an emergency. These devices allow you to call for help with the push of a button and can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
10. Stay Informed on Fraud and Scams
Unfortunately, fraud and scams targeting seniors are on the rise. Scammers often target seniors because they may be more vulnerable or have more retirement savings than younger people. It’s important to stay informed about common scams and how to protect yourself from them.
Some common scams targeting seniors include:
- Medicare scams, in which scammers pose as Medicare representatives and ask for personal information.
- Investment scams, in which scammers offer high returns on investments that are too good to be true.
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams, in which scammers tell victims they’ve won a large sum of money but need to pay a fee to collect their winnings.
To protect yourself from scams, never give out personal information over the phone or online unless you’re absolutely certain it’s a legitimate request. Be wary of unsolicited offers or requests for money, and always double-check before sending money or providing personal information.
If you’re unsure whether an offer or request is legitimate, consult with a trusted family member, friend, or financial advisor before taking any action.
11. Embrace Your Golden Years
Finally, as you enter your retirement years, it’s important to embrace this next chapter in your life and make the most of it. Retirement can be a time to pursue your passions, travel, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Many seniors find that retirement gives them the opportunity to pursue activities that they didn’t have time for during their working years. Whether you enjoy painting, playing music, or hiking, make time for the activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Traveling is another great way to make the most of your retirement years. Whether you explore new destinations around the world or take a road trip to visit family and friends, travel can be a wonderful way to broaden your horizons and create lasting memories.
Finally, spending time with loved ones is essential for maintaining your emotional well-being. Make time for your family and friends, whether that’s through regular phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits. Staying connected with others can help you feel fulfilled and supported during your retirement years.
In conclusion, turning 65 is a significant milestone, but it’s also a time of new beginnings. By following these 12 tips and exploring additional advice for making the most of your retirement years, you can set yourself up for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling retirement. Remember to stay informed, stay active, and embrace this next chapter in your life with enthusiasm and positivity.