There are many tasks as one prepares for retirement: where to live, take a lump sum or monthly payments from the employer, how to spend the many newly available hours. In addition to the visits to HR, the real estate agent and the financial advisor I suggest one more stop: to your physician. It’s time for a frank conversation about how long you might live and in what shape.
If you have fifty pack years of smoking, an elevated blood sugar, untreated hypertension and a cholesterol greater than 300 I have a suggestion: take the lump sum and plan to live somewhere that your spouse will be happy as a widow(er). Fit in that one really great trip since you probably won’t have a long retirement. If you have never had a colonoscopy, can’t remember the last mammogram and think that immunizations are just for kids I suggest you relocate near a major medical center. You might need a good oncology team. The crystal ball is cloudy as to how long you might live – roll the dice to determine lump sum versus payout.
If you are in good health at age 65, take all your medications as directed and follow simple guidelines for weight, exercise, preventive care and immunizations you can reasonably expect to be in good health at age 85. Plan accordingly.
The most important preparation for retirement: keeping mentally sharp. Remember: you are not retiring from, your are retiring to.