July 24


5 Foolproof Ways to Survive the Last 5 Years Before Retirement

By Harrison O'Reill

July 24, 2023

As retirement approaches, it’s important to start planning and preparing for the upcoming transition. The last five years before retirement can be a critical time to ensure that you have everything in order and are financially stable. With some careful planning and preparation, you can make the most out of your retirement years.

Five years may seem like a short period of time, but with the right decisions, you’re surely bound to experience a well-managed retirement.

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is crucial for a comfortable and stress-free retirement. It involves budgeting, investing, financial planning, and choosing the right retirement plan. Here are some key areas to focus on:


Budgeting is the foundation of retirement planning. It involves tracking your expenses, identifying areas where you can cut back, and creating a realistic retirement budget. You should also factor in inflation and unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or home repairs.


Investments play a critical role in retirement planning. You should diversify your portfolio and choose investments that align with your risk tolerance and retirement goals. Consider working with a financial professional to help you choose the right investments and manage your portfolio.

Financial Planning

Financial planning involves creating a roadmap for your retirement. It includes setting realistic retirement goals, identifying your sources of retirement income, and creating a plan to maximize your financial resources. You should also consider long-term care and estate planning.

Retirement Plans

There are several retirement plans to choose from, including pensions, 401(k) plans, IRAs, and Roth IRAs. Each plan has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Consider working with a financial professional to help you choose the right plan and make contributions.

Retirement Income

Retirement income is the money you receive during retirement. It includes Social Security benefits, pension payments, and income from your investments.

You should calculate your monthly income and identify ways to maximize your income, such as delaying your retirement date or choosing a qualified retirement plan.

Retirement planning requires careful consideration and preparation. By focusing on budgeting, investments, financial planning, retirement plans, and retirement income, you can ensure that you are ready for retirement and have the financial resources you need to enjoy your golden years.

Lifestyle in Retirement

Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and your lifestyle in retirement should reflect that. You have worked hard for many years, and now it is time to relax and enjoy the things you love. Two important aspects of the retirement lifestyle are hobbies and travel.


Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind and body active in retirement. Whether you enjoy gardening, golfing, or painting, there are many ways to pursue your interests and passions.

Hobbies can also help you stay connected with friends and family and provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Consider joining a club or group related to your hobby to meet new people and share your experiences.



Travel is another important aspect of the retirement lifestyle. Whether you prefer to explore new destinations or visit old favorites, retirement provides the time and flexibility to travel more often.

Consider planning a trip with family or friends or joining a group tour to meet new people and experience new cultures. Travel can also be a great way to stay active and healthy, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.

Healthcare in Retirement

Healthcare is a crucial aspect of retirement planning. Understanding Medicare and your options for additional health insurance coverage can help ensure you have access to the care you need. Planning for long-term care is also important, as it can be a significant expense in retirement.


Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers people aged 65 and older, as well as those with certain disabilities. It can be a valuable resource for retirees, but it’s important to understand the different parts and what they cover.

Part A covers hospital stays, skilled nursing care, and hospice care. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and some preventive services. Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is a private insurance option that includes Parts A and B, as well as additional benefits like vision and dental. Part D covers prescription drugs.

Health Insurance

Even with Medicare, retirees may still need additional health insurance coverage. Many people choose to purchase a Medigap policy, which helps cover costs that Medicare doesn’t.

Others may opt for a Medicare Advantage plan, which includes additional benefits like vision and dental. It’s important to shop around and compare plans to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care is another important consideration for retirees. This can include nursing home care, assisted living, and in-home care.

Medicare typically doesn’t cover long-term care, so it’s important to plan ahead and consider purchasing long-term care insurance. Other options include Medicaid, which does cover some long-term care costs for those who qualify, and personal savings.

Relationships in Retirement

Relationships in retirement are important for maintaining a sense of community and support. Communicate with your spouse, stay in touch with former colleagues and friends, and maintain a positive relationship with your boss.

Remember to also give yourself space to pursue individual interests and hobbies.


Retirement can be a great time to reconnect with your spouse and spend more quality time together. However, it’s important to communicate and plan ahead to ensure that both partners are on the same page.

Discuss your expectations for retirement, including how you’ll spend your time and money, and make sure that you’re both comfortable with the plan. Remember to also give each other space and independence to pursue individual interests.


Retirement can be a big adjustment, especially if you’ve spent most of your life working. Stay in touch with former colleagues and friends to maintain a sense of community and support.

Consider joining a retirement group or club to meet new people and stay active. However, be mindful of not letting work relationships define your retirement and try to develop new hobbies and interests outside of your career.



If you’re retiring from a job, it’s important to maintain a positive relationship with your boss and colleagues. Give plenty of notice before your retirement date and offer to help with the transition.

Be gracious and thankful for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had in your career. Remember that your former boss and colleagues may be valuable resources for networking and advice in retirement.

Mental Health in Retirement

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health in retirement. By recognizing the signs of depression and anxiety, structuring your days, and maintaining a sense of purpose, you can maintain good mental health and enjoy a fulfilling retirement.


Depression is a common mental health issue that affects many retirees. It is important to recognize the symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. Regular exercise, socializing with friends and family, and participating in hobbies can also help alleviate symptoms of depression.


Retirees may also experience anxiety, which can manifest as feelings of worry, nervousness, and restlessness.

To manage anxiety, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Additionally, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and socializing with loved ones can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Structure Your Days

One way to maintain good mental health in retirement is to structure your days. This can help you maintain a sense of purpose and prevent feelings of boredom or isolation.

Consider volunteering, taking classes, or pursuing hobbies to fill your time. Creating a routine can also help provide structure and stability.

Sense of Purpose

Having a sense of purpose is important for mental health in retirement. This can come from a variety of sources, such as volunteering, pursuing hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.

Consider setting goals for yourself, such as learning a new skill, traveling to a new place, or completing a project. Having a sense of purpose can help you stay motivated and engaged in life.

Financial Management in Retirement

Here are the financial aspects you need to consider in your retirement.

Cash Reserves

Having a sufficient cash reserve is essential during retirement. It is recommended to have at least six months of living expenses in a savings account or money market fund. This will help you cover unexpected expenses without having to dip into your long-term investments.


Inflation can have a significant impact on your retirement savings. It is important to factor in the effects of inflation when creating a retirement plan. Consider investing in assets that have historically outpaced inflation, such as stocks and real estate.

Capital Gains

Capital gains can be a source of income during retirement. It is important to understand the tax implications of selling investments that have appreciated in value. Consider working with a financial advisor to create a tax-efficient withdrawal strategy.


Stocks can provide long-term growth potential during retirement. However, it is important to balance your portfolio with other assets, such as bonds and cash, to reduce risk. Consider investing in low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to diversify your stock holdings.


Major Purchases

Major purchases, such as a new car or home renovation, can have a significant impact on your retirement savings. It is important to plan for these expenses and avoid taking on debt. Consider setting aside a portion of your retirement savings for major purchases.


Taking out loans during retirement can be risky. It is important to avoid high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, and only take out loans for essential expenses. Consider working with a financial advisor to create a debt repayment plan.


Naming beneficiaries for your retirement accounts is important to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Review your beneficiary designations regularly and update them as necessary. Consider working with an estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan.


In conclusion, the last five years before retirement can be a critical time in securing your financial future. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can maximize your retirement savings and ensure a comfortable retirement.

First, it’s essential to assess your current financial situation and make any necessary adjustments to your retirement plan. This may involve increasing your savings rate, reducing expenses, or adjusting your investment portfolio.

Second, consider working with a financial advisor to help you navigate the complex world of retirement planning. A qualified advisor can help you create a personalized plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Third, be sure to take advantage of any retirement benefits offered by your employer, such as 401(k) matching contributions or pension plans.

Finally, stay informed about changes in tax laws, Social Security benefits, and other retirement-related issues that may impact your financial situation.

By following these steps, you can ensure a secure and comfortable retirement, free from financial stress and worry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about this topic.

What should I do if I haven’t saved enough for retirement?

If you haven’t saved enough for retirement, don’t panic! You still have options. One option is to consider working part-time during retirement to supplement your income.

Another option is to downsize your home or make other lifestyle changes to reduce your expenses. You can also consider delaying your retirement to give yourself more time to save.

How much money do I need to retire comfortably?

The amount of money you need to retire comfortably depends on your individual circumstances, such as your lifestyle, health, and retirement goals.

A general rule of thumb is to aim for a retirement income that’s at least 70% of your pre-retirement income. It’s a good idea to work with a financial advisor to create a personalized retirement plan that takes into account your unique situation.

Should I pay off my mortgage before I retire?

Paying off your mortgage before you retire can be a smart move, as it can help reduce your monthly expenses and provide you with more financial security. However, it’s not always the best option for everyone.

You should consider factors such as your retirement savings, interest rates, and tax implications before making a decision. It’s important to work with a financial advisor to determine the best course of action for your situation.

What are some ways to reduce my expenses during retirement?

Reducing your expenses during retirement can help stretch your retirement savings further.

Some ways to do this include downsizing your home, reducing your transportation costs by using public transportation or carpooling, and cutting back on unnecessary expenses such as dining out or subscriptions.

You can also consider negotiating your bills or shopping around for better deals on insurance and other services.

When should I start taking Social Security benefits?

The best time to start taking Social Security benefits depends on your individual circumstances. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but the longer you wait, the larger your monthly benefit will be.

It’s important to consider factors such as your health, retirement savings, and other sources of income before making a decision. It’s a good idea to work with a financial advisor to determine the best course of action for your situation.

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