5 Things I Really Wish I’d Known Before I Retired

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So, you’re thinking about retirement, huh? Well, let me tell you, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

As someone who’s been there and done that, I’ve got a few insights to share.

Retirement can be a mixed bag of emotions and experiences, and there are definitely things I wish I’d known before taking the plunge. From financial surprises to unexpected free time, here are a few nuggets of wisdom that could make your retirement journey a lot smoother.

1. How to make your money last

The transition to retirement requires a shift in money management. Instead of focusing on saving, we need strategies to make those savings last a lifetime.

That’s when a set of expert eyes can be a lifesaver.

One Vanguard study found that, on average, a hypothetical $500,000 investment over 25 years would grow to $1.7 million if you manage it yourself, but more than $3.4 million if you work with a financial advisor. That’s twice as much!

If you’ve got at least $100,000 in investments, check out a free service called SmartAsset. You fill out a short questionnaire and instantly get matched with up to three vetted financial advisors in your area, all legally bound to work in your best interests.

Even if you don’t want help picking investments, an advisor can help lower your tax burden, create a comprehensive financial plan for you, maximize your Social Security, and make sure you’re on the right track. They can also be there if, one day, you’re not.

Using SmartAsset only takes a few minutes, and in many cases you’ll be offered a free consultation. Nothing to lose and lots to potentially gain. Take a minute and check it out right now!

Please carefully review the methodologies employed in the Vanguard white paper, “Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Vanguard Advisor’s Alpha.”

2. You need to diversify

If a large part of your savings is in the stock market — as it should be — you’re well aware that what goes up can also go down. You can’t control the market, but you can hedge against uncertainty by having other forms of wealth.

One of the best ways to protect your savings is diversification. Keep money in different types of investments, ideally ones that go up when others are going down. For example, stocks tend to do poorly when inflation and interest rates are rising and there’s political turmoil brewing.

But there’s one investment that thrives in this scenario: gold.

Be careful who you deal with, though. Lots of companies in the gold business are pretty shady and won’t hesitate to sell you gold and silver at vastly inflated prices.

Goldco, on the other hand, has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, an AAA rating from Business Consumer Alliance, and 4.8 to 5 stars on Trustpilot, TrustLink, Google reviews and ConsumerAffairs. They offer just about everything, from precious-metal IRAs to gold coins and gold bars.

You’ll even receive up to $10,000 in free silver on qualified purchases. If you’ve ever thought about investing in gold, why not take a look?

3. Health coverage isn’t enough

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 in 10 people who turn 65 today will probably need some kind of long-term care.

“But won’t Medicare take care of all that?” Nope. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term custodial care — and paying for it out of pocket could take a huge chunk of your retirement savings. That, plus inflation, could scramble any nest egg.

Solution? Long-term care insurance.

One place to find it is GoldenCare. (Unless you live in the four states where GoldenCare doesn’t operate: Alaska, Florida, Hawaii and Washington.)

At least check it out and see if it’s a fit. Because a little planning today could mean a far more secure tomorrow.

4. Insure against big bills

Home repairs aren’t cheap. Whether it’s a leaky roof or a broken appliance, your castle can quickly crumble and cost you hundreds, or even thousands.

Unless, that is, a home warranty company has your back. Example? First American will protect you from giant bills by covering everything from home appliances to electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems — even pools and spa equipment.

They also allow you to customize your plan, so you only pay for what you need.

When something goes wrong, call First American, day or night. The company has a network of pre-screened technicians and typically dispatches an independent contractor within 48 hours.

Hey, if you’re handy and like to repair stuff yourself, that’s obviously the cheapest route. But if that’s not you, a penny spent now could save you big bucks later.

Get your free quote in 30 seconds.

5. Create your own private pension

You’ve spent years maintaining and building equity in your home. Now it’s time for your home to pay you back.

A reverse mortgage is an insured loan that lets homeowners 62 and older convert their home equity into cash, but without selling the home. Take the money however you’d like: monthly, lump sum or line of credit. Use it however you’d like: home repairs, bills, traveling or simply living a better life.

Your home remains yours. You hold the title until you die or choose to move elsewhere, provided you maintain the home. When you leave the house, the loan is repaid.

A reverse mortgage can make a huge difference in your quality of life. But they’re not for everyone, so it’s important to get more information. Also important: not all lenders are equal. Be careful who you deal with.

One lender that’s highly rated and happy to answer questions is Longbridge Financial. They’ve earned 4.9 of a possible 5 stars from Trustpilot and ConsumersAdvocate.org said, “By far the best online experience and tools among all the reverse mortgage lenders we reviewed.”

If you’re 62 or over and have equity in your home, it’s time to at least need to see what your options are.

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