July 24


Retire Like a Pro: How to Survive Your Last Year Before Retirement

By Harrison O'Reill

July 24, 2023

As you approach the last year of your career, it can be tempting to coast and let the countdown begin. However, this is a critical time to ensure that you are fully prepared for retirement.

Whether you are retiring by choice or due to circumstances beyond your control, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you have a smooth transition into retirement. Keep reading to find out how you can make the most out of the last year of your working era.

Retirement Planning

Retirement is a major milestone in life, and proper planning is essential to ensure a comfortable and secure retirement. Here are some key areas to consider when planning for retirement.

Retirement Budget

Creating a retirement budget is the first step in retirement planning. It helps you determine how much money you will need to cover your expenses and maintain your lifestyle.

Start by listing your essential expenses, such as housing, food, and healthcare. Then, add in discretionary expenses, such as travel and entertainment.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is crucial to ensure that you have enough money to retire comfortably. A financial plan should include your retirement budget, retirement date, retirement readiness, and retirement income. It should also consider your sources of income, withdrawals, pensions, and Social Security benefits.

Retirement Date

Your retirement date is an essential factor in retirement planning. It determines when you will stop working and when you will start receiving retirement income. Consider factors such as your age, health, and financial situation when choosing your retirement date.

Retirement Readiness

Retirement readiness is the state of being financially and emotionally prepared for retirement. It involves assessing your financial situation, determining your retirement goals, and creating a plan to achieve those goals.

Retirement Income

Retirement income is the money you receive after you retire. It can come from a variety of sources, including Social Security, pensions, and retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s.

It’s essential to have a plan for generating retirement income that will cover your expenses and maintain your lifestyle.

Sources of Income

Sources of income in retirement can include Social Security, pensions, retirement accounts, and other investments. It’s essential to have a diversified portfolio of income sources to ensure financial stability in retirement.


Withdrawals from retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s can have tax implications. It’s essential to plan your withdrawals carefully to minimize taxes and maximize your retirement income.


Pensions are a valuable source of retirement income for many people. If you have a pension, be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the plan and how it will affect your retirement income.

Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are an important source of retirement income for many people. It’s essential to understand how Social Security works and how to maximize your benefits.

IRA and 401(k)

IRAs and 401(k)s are popular retirement accounts that offer tax advantages. Be sure to understand the rules and regulations for these accounts and how they fit into your overall retirement plan.


Financial Advisor

A financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan that meets your goals and needs. They can provide guidance on retirement accounts, investment strategies, and tax planning.

Asset Allocation Models

Asset allocation models can help you determine how to allocate your retirement investments among different asset classes. It’s essential to choose a model that aligns with your retirement goals and risk tolerance.

Tax Strategies

Tax strategies can help you minimize taxes on your retirement income. It’s essential to understand the tax implications of different retirement accounts and investment strategies.

Investing Strategies

Investing strategies can help you maximize your retirement income and achieve your retirement goals. It’s essential to choose a strategy that aligns with your risk tolerance and retirement goals.

Successful Investing Strategies

Successful investing strategies involve diversification, long-term planning, and a disciplined approach to investing. Be sure to choose a strategy that aligns with your retirement goals and risk tolerance.


Inflation can erode the purchasing power of your retirement income over time. It’s essential to consider inflation when creating your retirement plan and choosing your investments.

Healthcare and Insurance

It’s important to have a solid understanding of your healthcare and insurance options as you approach retirement. By doing your research and making informed decisions, you can ensure that you have the coverage you need to stay healthy and happy in your retirement years.

Health Insurance

One of the most important things to consider as you approach retirement is your health insurance. If you’re planning on retiring before you’re eligible for Medicare, you’ll need to find alternative coverage.

This could mean purchasing a private health insurance plan or continuing coverage through your employer’s retiree health plan, if available. Be sure to research your options and compare costs and coverage to find the best plan for your needs and budget.


If you’re 65 or older, you’re eligible for Medicare, which can help cover many of your healthcare costs.

There are several different parts of Medicare, including Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). It’s important to understand the different parts of Medicare and what they cover, as well as any out-of-pocket costs you may be responsible for.

Insurance Coverage

Even if you’re eligible for Medicare, it’s important to understand what your insurance will and won’t cover. For example, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, dental care, or vision care, so you may need to purchase additional insurance coverage for these services.

Additionally, you may want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan to help cover some of the costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.

Transitioning to Retirement

Remember, transitioning to retirement is a process. Take the time to evaluate your goals and needs, and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. With the right preparation and support, you can make a smooth and successful transition to retirement.


As you approach retirement, it’s important to evaluate your current job and determine if it aligns with your retirement goals.


Consider if you want to continue working part-time, switch to a different role within the company, or retire completely. Talk to your HR department to understand the options available to you.


Your HR department can be a valuable resource during your transition to retirement. They can provide information on company policies regarding retirement, pension plans, and benefits.

Make sure to ask about any retirement seminars or workshops that may be available to help you prepare for this next phase of life.


It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your boss about your plans for retirement. Discuss your timeline and any potential changes to your workload or responsibilities. This will help ensure a smooth transition for both you and your team.


Your colleagues can be a great source of support during your transition to retirement. Consider sharing your plans with them and ask for their advice on how to best prepare for this next phase of life. You may also want to consider mentoring a younger colleague to help pass on your knowledge and experience.


If you don’t already have a mentor, now is a great time to find one. Look for someone who has already gone through the retirement process and can offer guidance and support. They can help you navigate the emotional and practical aspects of transitioning to retirement.


Consider taking courses or attending workshops to help you prepare for retirement. This could include financial planning, time management, or even hobbies you want to pursue in retirement. Make sure to talk to your HR department about any training opportunities that may be available.

Younger Coworkers

As you prepare for retirement, it’s important to consider how your departure will impact your younger coworkers. Consider mentoring them, sharing your knowledge and experience, and helping to transition your responsibilities to them.

Work Life

Think about how you want to spend your time in retirement. Do you want to travel, volunteer, or pursue a new hobby? Start thinking about how you can incorporate these activities into your retirement plan.


As you approach retirement, it’s important to evaluate your skills and determine if there are any areas where you may need to improve. Consider taking courses or attending workshops to help you stay up-to-date and relevant in your field. This can also help you stay engaged and active during retirement.

Lifestyle in Retirement

Do consider what you’d like to do in your retirement. It may take days, weeks, or even months to figure this out. Just remember to make it reasonable; you’re only getting older, after all.


Retirement is a perfect time to have fun and enjoy life to the fullest. You can indulge in activities that you have always wanted to do but never had the time for. Whether it’s playing golf, painting, or learning a new language, the possibilities are endless.


Traveling is an excellent way to explore new places, meet new people, and create lasting memories. With no work commitments, you can take extended trips and explore different parts of the world. Consider joining a travel group or taking a cruise to make the experience even more enjoyable.



Retirement is the perfect time to take that dream vacation you have always wanted. Whether it’s a luxury beach resort or a trip to Europe, take the time to relax and enjoy yourself. Plan ahead and budget accordingly to make the most out of your vacation.

Bucket List

Retirement is a time to cross off items from your bucket list. Whether it’s skydiving, bungee jumping, or climbing a mountain, take the opportunity to do something daring and exciting. Make a list of everything you want to do and start ticking them off one by one.

New Hobby

Retirement is a great time to pick up a new hobby. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, or woodworking, find something that you enjoy doing and pursue it. Join a local club or take a class to meet like-minded people and learn new skills.


Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and make a difference in the world. Consider volunteering at a local hospital, school, or charity organization. Not only will you be helping others, but you will also feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.


Staying active is essential for maintaining good health in retirement. Consider taking up yoga, swimming, or cycling to stay fit and healthy. Join a gym or take a class to stay motivated and meet new people.

Meaningful Activities

Retirement is a time to engage in meaningful activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends or pursuing a passion, make sure to prioritize activities that make you happy.


Retirement is an excellent opportunity to spend more time with your spouse. Consider taking a class or planning a trip together to strengthen your bond and create new memories.


Retirement is a time to reflect on your accomplishments and feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Take the time to appreciate all that you have achieved, and look forward to the new opportunities that retirement brings.

Financial Considerations

Money is not everything, but everything (or nearly everything) unfortunately requires money. Here are some financial aspects you need to consider.


As you approach retirement, it’s essential to create a budget to ensure you have enough money to cover your expenses. Start by tracking your expenses for a few months and categorize them into essentials and non-essentials. Then, determine how much you’ll need to cover your essential expenses and adjust your non-essential spending accordingly.


If you have a mortgage or other loans, consider refinancing to lower your monthly payments. This can help free up cash flow for other retirement expenses.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is critical in retirement. Consider how you’ll generate income during retirement and plan accordingly. You may need to adjust your investment strategy or consider part-time work to supplement your retirement income.

Financial Independence

Achieving financial independence is a critical goal for retirement. This means having enough money saved to cover your expenses without relying on employment income. Consider working with a financial professional to determine your financial independence number.


Retirement Savings

It’s never too late to start saving for retirement. Consider increasing your contributions to your retirement accounts, such as your 401(k) or IRA. Take advantage of catch-up contributions if you’re over 50.


Review your investment portfolio and make any necessary adjustments. Consider diversifying your portfolio to reduce risk and ensure you have a mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Monthly Benefits

Determine the amount of monthly benefits you’ll receive from Social Security and any pension plans. Include these amounts in your retirement budget.

Full Retirement Age

Understand your full retirement age for Social Security benefits. This is the age at which you can receive your full retirement benefits. You can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, but your benefits will be reduced.

Retirement Paycheck

Create a retirement paycheck by setting up regular withdrawals from your retirement accounts. This can help ensure you have a steady stream of income during retirement.

Countdown App

Consider using a retirement countdown app to keep track of how many days until retirement. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your retirement goals.

Retirement Plans

Review your retirement plans, such as travel or hobbies, and determine how much they’ll cost. Include these expenses in your retirement budget.

Online Forum Community

Join an online forum community to connect with other retirees and get advice on retirement planning. This can be a valuable resource for information and support.


In conclusion, the last year before retirement can be both exciting and daunting. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind as you prepare for this new chapter in your life.

Plan for your retirement as early as possible to ensure a smooth transition. While you’re at it, consider your financial situation carefully and make any necessary adjustments to your budget.

Take advantage of any retirement benefits offered by your employer, such as 401(k) plans or pension programs.

Also, stay active and engaged in your community to maintain a sense of purpose and social connection.

Finally, remember to take care of your physical and mental health, as this will be crucial in enjoying a fulfilling retirement.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your last year before retirement and set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about this topic.

How much money should I have saved before I retire?

The answer varies based on your lifestyle, health, and other factors. However, a general rule is to have at least 10 to 12 times your current annual income saved by the time you retire. It’s important to start saving as early as possible and to consider factors such as inflation, healthcare costs, and unexpected expenses.

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

Don’t panic! There are still steps you can take to improve your financial situation. Consider working longer, reducing your expenses, and increasing your income. You may also want to speak with a financial advisor to help you create a plan for catching up on your savings.

Should I pay off all my debt before retiring?

It’s generally a good idea to pay off high-interest debt such as credit cards and personal loans before retiring. However, low-interest debt such as a mortgage may not be as urgent to pay off. It’s important to consider your overall financial situation and prioritize your debts accordingly.

What should I do with my retirement accounts after I retire?

There are several options for your retirement accounts, including leaving them where they are, rolling them over into an IRA, or cashing them out. It’s important to consider the tax implications and your overall financial goals when making this decision. Consulting with a financial advisor can be helpful in determining the best course of action.

How can I stay active and engaged during retirement?

Retirement can be a great opportunity to pursue hobbies, travel, volunteer, or spend time with family and friends. It’s important to stay active and engaged both physically and mentally to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Consider joining a club or organization, taking classes, or finding other ways to stay involved in your community.

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