Calling It Quits? Not So Fast...
Before you set a date to leave the workforce, there are a few things you’ll need to think about first:
1. Review Your Portfolio
You should review the three basic parts of your retirement portfolio: employee retirement plans, personal savings and investments, and social security benefits. Specifically, you’ll need to:
Discuss your retirement benefits with someone in your employer’s human resources department. (Federal employees will need to contact the Office of Personnel Management.)
Consider reallocating some of your investments to reduce your risk.
Review your IRA portfolio to find out if you must begin taking minimum required distributions of any of the funds.
Check your latest Social Security Statement to see what you’ll have coming to you once you retire.
2. Review Your Budget
Add up the income you expect to receive in retirement and compare it with your projected expenses. If it’s not enough to maintain your desired standard of living, you may want to delay your retirement.
3. Apply For Social Security Benefits
If you’ve decided to go ahead and retire, you’ll need to choose the month you want to start receiving Social Security benefits. If you plan to retire within the next 12 months, arrange to talk with a Social Security Administration representative.
How To Apply
Apply online at www.ssa.gov, or make an appointment for your application to be taken over the phone or in person at the local Social Security office. When you apply, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Your birth certificate
- Your W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for last year
- Your discharge papers, if you served in the military
- Your spouse’s birth certificate, if you’re both applying for benefits
- Your children’s birth certificates, if they’re applying for children’s benefits
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
You may also be asked for the following information:
- Your retirement date
- Your date and place of birth
- Your total earnings last year and the amount you expect to earn this year
- Account information, if you wish to use direct deposit
- Dates of any railroad work
- The date and place of your marriage (and any prior marriages)
Don’t put off retiring if you’re having trouble tracking down a particular document or bit of information. A Social Security representative may be able to help.