Too often, people don’t plan enough for retirement. Have you thought about where you want to live? What type of lifestyle do you want? Are you prepared for dealing with the effects of old age?

To get you started, we’re sharing six steps to make sure you’re ready for retirement.

1. Get Familiar with How Social Security Works

The age you are when you start collecting Social Security determines how much you’ll get for the rest of your life. The longer you delay receiving benefits, the more you get each month. For those born after 1952, the amount you get increases 8% every year you delay collecting Social Security up to age 70.

2. Get to Know Your Housing Options in Advance

Retirement may be a good time to downsize your home and your belongings. For starters, if you plan to buy a different home and need a mortgage, they’re harder to get when you no longer receive a paycheck. It’s also important to know how much your home is worth if you plan to live off some of the equity.

3. Research Your Options for Care

Housing someday may include assisted living, home care and nursing home care services and facilities. Find out what options are nearby where you live or where you plan to retire and whether they have waiting lists. Start the conversation with your family about sharing households or relocating and how you’ll pay for care.

4. Choose the Person Who Will Be Your Decision-Maker

You may reach a point where you can no longer care for or make decisions for yourself. A living will should contain your medical power of attorney and contingent power of attorney to handle decision-making and paperwork. Update your documents as necessary and provide copies to appropriate family members, your doctor, and your financial planner.

5. Start Letting Go of Possessions

Well before it’s time to downsize, start thinking about what to do with your stuff. Focus first on the decisions rather than the distribution. You don’t need to get rid of your possessions early, simply decide what you want to be done with them and put it in writing. Be sure to make these decisions while you still can, rather than having someone else make them for you while you’re in a hospital or care facility.

6. Prepare Yourself Emotionally

While retirement is an exciting time, it can also sometimes feel overwhelming with the thought of getting older and preparation for end of life care. Prepare yourself emotionally now to know you may not be able to drive or stay in your home until the very end. Physical limitations of aging can reduce our choices and flexibility is key. It’s truly a gift to your family and friends to accept these difficult realities with as much grace as you can muster.

At LTC Consumer, we help individuals make sure they’re ready for retirement with a long term care plan. Learn more about Long Term Care Insurance so you can have peace of mind as you enter your retirement years.