By Steve Harvey
As you’ve probably noticed, your 60s are a pretty eventful decade—full of important birthdays, milestones, and dates related to your transition into retirement. The problem is, these can get confusing. And if you aren’t paying attention, important deadlines can be easy to miss.
Your 65th birthday is a time when you need to pay attention. There are a lot of changes happening, and you want to make sure to get everything right.
To help you out, I’ve put together a “65th Birthday To-Do List.”
Let’s take a look at what’s on the agenda.
Decide On Medicare
When you turn 65, you become eligible for “full” Medicare (Part A, B, and D). However, that doesn’t mean you have to take it. Depending on your situation, you may be better off postponing your Medicare enrollment.
The main reason to postpone would be if you plan to continue working and your employer’s healthcare plan is cheaper than what your Medicare Part B premiums would be. If this is the case, you can still enroll in Part A. It’s free, covers hospital-related expenses, and can supplement your employer’s plan.
If you don’t plan on using an employer healthcare plan, you need to enroll in Medicare during the enrollment period to avoid penalties. Your enrollment period starts three months before and ends three months after your 65th birthday. After you enroll, you will no longer be eligible to contribute to your HSA plan.
Find Supplemental Insurance
If you decide to fully enroll in Medicare, don’t assume all your medical needs will be covered. Medicare Part A covers hospital-related expenses, Part B covers doctors’ visits and diagnostics (among other things), and Part D covers prescription drugs.
However, there are still some “gaps” in coverage that need to be filled. To fill these gaps, you’ll need to enroll in a Medicare supplemental policy (aka medigap policy) or Medicare Advantage plan.
To avoid any penalties (or being denied altogether), this must be done within 6 months of signing up for Medicare Part B.
Try To Postpone Social Security
As you may know, the age you’re eligible for Medicare is not your full retirement age (as if things weren’t confusing enough). In order to receive full Social Security benefits, you’ll need to wait another 1-2 years (depending on your birth year).
The “right time” to start dipping into Social Security is different for everyone. But unless you’re desperate, it’s best to wait until you reach full retirement age to avoid receiving a reduced rate.
That said, if you end up withdrawing from Social Security before age 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare on your 65th birthday.
Enjoy Your Senior Discount
Medicare isn’t the only perk of turning 65. You also become eligible for senior discounts commonly found in restaurants, hotels, museums, and movies.
Spend some time researching the discounts available in your area. By changing some habits, you could easily start saving money on regular expenses—money that can be added to your retirement savings!
Re-evaluate Your Plan
Turning 65 is a perfect time to revisit your financial plan to make sure everything is optimized and ready to go for the rest of your life.
This includes updating legal documents (legal will, living will, power of attorney, etc.) as well as reviewing your “retirement game plan” to determine the best way (and best time) to withdraw from your retirement accounts.
If you’re interested in getting expert help to make sure you’re maximizing the value of your retirement account, we at The Harvey Group can help. Contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling (703) 549-5447. Or, if you’d prefer, simply click here to book an appointment online today!
Steve Harvey is a financial advisor with more than 34 years of industry experience. He is also the founder of The Harvey Group, an independent investment consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia. He works closely with middle- and upper-middle-class families to help them address their critical financial planning challenges, from investing with confidence to planning for retirement. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, he works with clients throughout Virginia and Maryland. Learn more by connecting with Steve on LinkedIn or visiting www.steveharveyllc.com.