I am turning 65 this year along with several million baby boomers! Some would call me old or others may call me a senior citizen. I used to have difficulty with age and this senior citizen thing! About five years ago, I was offered a senior discount; I turned it down because I was so insulted. Now, I not only take it, but I ask for it!
I have a problem with age, because all my goals were associated with age! I used to set up goals I wanted to achieve by the time I was thirty, forty, fifty etc. Then the calendar caught up with me and I turned sixty. Society says I am old at sixty, but what do they know! I am fit, in my prime and five years into my seventh career! I have the energy of a 25 year old and the experience of a lifetime. Am I old or just experienced? I started my eighth career last year blogging and found a new passion. Between my day job and blogging, I am working more than seventy hours a week. I keep active bicycling and working out between five and six hours a week. Does that sound like a senior citizen? What am I supposed to do, check into the old age home?
This year I supposed to sign up with Medicare! I guess that may be enough to make me feel old. If you are there too, you can enroll at medicare.gov or by calling 800-772-1213, three months before you turn 65 and it takes effect on the first day of your birth month. You have three months after your birthday to enroll without penalty, unless you’re still working and have comparable insurance through your job, in which case you have eight months after that coverage ends to enroll. Deciding between original Medicare (Parts A and B) and privately run Advantage plans (Part C) is a personal choice which requires comparing premiums versus out of pocket costs. You can view your choices at medicare.gov.
Just as I was getting used to getting old and accepting senior discounts, the Federal government raises the standard deduction! The IRS raised the standard deduction for taxpayers who turn 65! Hooray! Singles go from $5,700 to $7,100, for couples in which one partner is 65 it rises from $11,400 to $12,500, when both spouses are 65 or older, it is $13, 600. Wow, a discount I like! Lower taxes are always welcome and can make it easier to retire.
What have you done to prepare for retirement? 65 is no longer an age for full retirement. I recently wrote an article about The Emotional Side of Retirement that discusses preparing for the changes in retirement. It addresses changes in routine and finding a fulfilling retirement. As far as Social Security, you could have retired at 62 and received the same benefits. To really max out Social Security, you would have to work to age 70. The difference is sizable, but not enough for most of us. If you did not save for retirement, you probably will continue working. It is not so bad; I plan on working till I turn seventy. I took time out when I was 38, which is a much better time to enjoy a break from the workaday world. It is a better time to travel, enjoy life and influence your children.
By the time you reach 65, you should get ready for retirement whether it was years earlier or within five years. What are some things you should do to get ready for retirement? This is true whether you are in your thirties, forties or fifties if you are considering retirement. You should have enough savings (including Social Security/pension/401K) to last a lifetime. How long is a lifetime? If you are in your thirties or sixties, the average life expectancy is increasing and you need to have sufficient savings to last. In preparation, you should reduce your expenses such as paying off your mortgage, car payments and any other debt payments. Then spend some time planning your vision of retirement and it should be detailed enough to keep you interested and stimulated in retirement. Are you prepared for retirement? What is your plan? Are you going to continue working into your retirement years? That is okay, if you want to work versus forced to work because you have no plan and no savings. What are you going to do?
Photo by: OakleyOriginals