Planning to retire in 10 years or less? Find out what you need to know and do for a smoother transition.
What you'll learn:
How to make sure you're on track
The closer you get to retirement, the more important it is to be realistic about your goals and savings. By taking a close look at where you stand now, you can make changes to stay on track—or catch up if you need to.
Here's what we recommend:
Check and update your plan
If you don’t have a retirement plan, now is the time to create one. If you do, check it at least once a year to make sure it matches your needs and goals.
You might need to update:
- Your expected retirement date
- How long you expect to be retired
- Your expected expenses (for needs, wants and wishes)
- Your expected savings and income sources
See where you stand
Enter information from your plan into our retirement savings calculator to see how you’re doing and catch any gaps now.
What to do if your savings need a boost
Whether you’re in catch-up mode or just want to sock away as much as possible before you stop working, there are things you can do to help your nest egg grow.
First, contribute as much as you can to your employer-sponsored account—401(k), 403(b), 457(b) or Thrift Savings Plan. In 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000. If you're at least 50 or will be by year's end, you can also make a catch-up contribution of $6,000, for a total of $25,000.1
Once you’ve maxed out your employer-sponsored account—or if you don’t have one—consider saving and investing more with a traditional or Roth IRA or a brokerage account. If you’re eligible, you can also use a Health Savings Account (HSA) to save for future health care costs.2
The age you become eligible for Social Security—also called your full retirement age—depends on when you were born.
|If you were born in…||Your full retirement age is…|
|1955||66 and 2 months|
|1956||66 and 4 months|
|1957||66 and 6 months|
|1958||66 and 8 months|
|1959||66 and 10 months|
|1960 or later||67|
Source: Social Security Administration
Did you know waiting can increase your benefit?
Once you start taking Social Security, you’ll receive monthly checks for as long as you live. You can start taking it as early as age 62. But you’ll receive a smaller check each month than you will if you wait until your full retirement age.
If you wait until after your full retirement age, your Social Security income will increase up to 8% for every year you delay, up to age 70. After age 70, there’s no further increase for delaying.
Wondering about the best way to cover retirement health care costs? Medicare is a big piece of the puzzle—but it doesn’t start until age 65, won’t cover everything, and has out-of-pocket costs.
With Medicare or other health insurance, your costs will include insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses your insurance doesn’t cover, like a deductible, co-pays and coinsurance.
In general, here's what you can expect to pay before and after Medicare kicks in:
Source: Schwab Center for Financial Research. These estimated costs are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or a personalized estimate. Your health care costs will depend on a number of factors, including inflation and your specific situation. For specific advice, we recommend consulting with a financial planner.
Many people say the transition from saving to living off their savings is one of the biggest challenges of retirement, due (at least in part) to complex tax rules and uncertainty around how long their money will last.
The key to making it smoother? Planning. But where should you start?
Here’s what we recommend, before you retire:
How to transition from saving to living on your savings
Get to know your retirement income sources
Include all retirement, bank and brokerage accounts, plus other income (like Social Security, a pension, annuities or HSA funds you’ve saved for future health care costs). Make sure you know:
- How much you’ll receive from each source
- When you can withdraw your money (take distributions) without a penalty
- How each source will be taxed
Take a close look at your expenses
Include money for needs (like food, housing and health care), wants (like travel and entertainment) and wishes (like gifts or a second home). Ask yourself:
- Should I pay off my debt or mortgage before I retire?
- Should I relocate or downsize to reduce costs?
- Am I considering health care costs (before and after age 65)?
Start planning your retirement income
Income and expenses are a good place to start. But to make sure your money will last as long as you need it to, you’ll need a more comprehensive plan. Your plan should help you determine:
- How much you can spend
- How to invest
- How to get your money when you need it
- How to stay on track over time
To connect all the dots in tax-smart ways, consider working with a financial planner, tax advisor or both.
What you can do next
Need more information on retirement planning?