Life comes at you fast — especially if you’re approaching the closing chapter on full-time employment.

No matter how hard you worked and prepared, sometimes the unexpected can off-center your best efforts to secure a retirement you deserve. The pandemic’s economic disturbance, for instance, is complicating the transition into retirement. Soon-to-be retirees may have lost out on income opportunities or watched their savings plummet during this difficult time.

As you begin to ponder the big question, here are some things you should consider to help you better understand the road ahead.

What will you do in retirement life?

For many, retirement life means not working and loss of identity because their careers reflect a great deal about them.

As a result, retirement can be about two things. You can either retire from your last job. Or, you can retire into something new.

Before you take concrete steps toward retirement, think deeply about your next move. This will make retirement far more meaningful than simply exiting the work-life stage.

How will you pay for health care?

The biggest expense in retirement may very well be the amount you put into your health care. Unfortunately, it’s also an expense that can be overlooked and least planned for.

If you plan to retire before the age of 65, remember that Medicare will not be available. COBRA policies can be expensive and will not be the full answer before Medicare kicks in.

Begin to shop for private health plans or through the state’s Affordable Care Act exchanges. Even then, it won’t be cheap.

Where will you make home?

It can be tempting to move to a state with lower living costs or to make your favorite getaway your permanent address.

A state without income taxes is certainly appealing but make sure you research all the angles first. For instance, some states may have higher sales and property taxes to make up for other taxation policies. Or, they may lack some of the amenities and health care providers that are high on your list of must-haves.

Are you making the most of Social Security?

Despite what you hear, Social Security remains a large source of retirement income.

On average, a retiree will get about 40% of their preretirement income from this source. Before you maximize your share of Social Security, it’ll be important to understand eligibility.

While you are able to begin these benefits at 62, waiting just a few more years will pay off. Doing so will increase your benefits by 8% annually until you reach 70.

Do you have enough to retire today?

Will your assets cover your expenses and desired lifestyle? How much will you actually need?

These are two big questions facing retirees and it’s not uncommon for them to not have it all figured out.

It’s hard to know how much you’ll need if you don’t know where you’re going. That’s why it’s never too early to both save and plan for retirement life. A few things to keep in mind is to account for inflation, which is about 3% a year and layout a reasonable financial spending plan for the next decade or so.

Retirement is complex and more difficult today given the circumstances. As a homeowner, you have an asset at your disposal. Did you know you can leverage this large financial asset through a home equity conversion mortgage?

It’s for retirees over the age of 62 and can increase their financial resources as they plan for the future.

The conversion mortgage can eliminate monthly mortgage payments. As a result, you can boost your retirement income without having to move or sell.

To learn more about how you can navigate today’s financial realities as you plan and organize life as a retiree, please contact us to learn more about how a home equity conversion loan can work for you.

*(1) at the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds; (2) charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees; (3) the loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance; (4) the borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home; and (5) interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax deductible until the borrower makes partial or full repayment. This material is not from HUD or FHA and has not been approved by HUD or any government agency.