SPF 15 (Sound and Practical Finance) tips for people aged 70 and over

We’re wrapping up our series of SPF 15 (Sound and Practical Finance) tips with these suggestions for people aged 70 and over. You can check out all our SPF 15 posts on our website. If you have any questions or comments about this series, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear your ideas.

  1. If you have not already done so, begin taking your Social Security. Up until age 70, Social Security benefits accumulate thanks to delayed retirement credits. So, there is a benefit to deferring Social Security until then. There is no benefit to delaying those payments past the age of 70, even if you don’t need the money right away. Take the payments and reinvest them.
  2. Don’t forget to take your Required Minimum Distributions. RMDs start at age 72. This means you must begin taking withdrawals from your traditional IRA, 401(k) or other tax-deferred retirement accounts so you can pay the tax you’ve deferred on them. If you don’t start taking your RMD each year once you reach age 72, you will have to pay an excise tax on the amount not distributed.
  3. An immediate annuity may be a good choice for you. The longer you live, the longer you are expected to live. If you have good genes and a healthy lifestyle, then you may want to consider guaranteed income choices that provide income for life. Not all annuities are worth their fees, though, so be sure to run through your options with a fiduciary advisor before your commit to a plan.
  4. Move toward less risky investments. Once you reach age 70, you don’t have as much time to make up a loss as you did when you were 30. Check your retirement portfolio allocations with a certified financial planner to make sure they match your risk tolerance.
  5. Reassess your risk tolerance. It changes as you age and begin to withdraw from your retirement accounts.
  6. Make sure you have your end-of-life preferences documented and that your loved ones know where to find them should you become incapacitated.
  7. Update your will and check your beneficiary designations.
  8. Make sure the person you have assigned to be your Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Finance are still up to the task. Update as needed. Let family members know who these people are.
  9. Consolidate your vehicles and car insurance. Do you really need more than one vehicle now that you and your spouse are retired?
  10. Consider a part-time job for both socialization purposes and to pad your monthly income.
  11. Reevaluate your life insurance policies, especially now that you have no dependents.
  12. Volunteer, join a club, make plans with friends. It is really important to maintain social connections as we age.
  13. Monitor your spending to make sure you’re not wasting money in areas you’ll regret as you head deeper into retirement when you won’t have the option of picking up a part-time job to help pay the bills.
  14. Consider pre-planning your funeral, both to keep a handle on costs and to make sure you are laid to rest in the manner you prefer.
  15. Make some memories with your family. Take a trip, plan a reunion, spend some one-on-one time with your grandchildren. Memories are the greatest legacy you’ll leave your loved ones.