Retirement Road Map: Steps to Take When You're 1 Year from Retiring

You’re in the homestretch—the final year before you retire. As you wrap up your career, don’t forget the financial steps to create a smooth transition to the retirement you’ve worked so hard for. In previous blog posts, we looked at your road map five and 10 years out from retirement. Today we’ll consider what you should do in the year before you retire.

Adjust Your Portfolio

Your portfolio allocations may need an adjustment toward more conservative investments. Meet with your financial advisor to discuss your situation and risk tolerance, and make adjustments to your portfolio as necessary.

Create a Budget

You need a spending plan for retirement that is aligned with your projected retirement income. Make sure to test your spending plan ahead of your retirement to see if you have more or less than you need.

Plan a Strategy for Social Security

Work with your financial advisor to determine the best date for you and your spouse to start taking Social Security payments.

Evaluate Pension Options

If you have a pension, decide on whether you will take a lump sum payment or monthly checks. In addition, evaluate and choose your survivor benefit options.

Save Your Cash

If you’ve been diligent, then you have been saving all along. Now is a good time to take a look at your savings and make sure you have an ample cash reserve for emergencies. A generous reserve can serve as a cushion in case you spend more of your retirement savings than you had planned for the first few years.

Review Your Medicare Options

Study your options for Medicare coverage, such as prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), and choose those that are most appropriate for your situation.

Bonus: Your First Year of Retirement

Many people end up overspending in their first year of retirement. We recommend that you analyze your spending and make sure you are sticking to your budget. If you’re spending too much, it’s important that you take control of the situation before you damage your savings.

In the same vein, you want to stick to your retirement plan. We recommend reviewing the plan with your advisor to make sure all the assumptions are still correct and that any necessary adjustments are made.

Finally, keep your skills up to date. Volunteering, consulting, or part-time work can keep your resume fresh in the off chance that you’ll need to return to work as part of your retirement plan.


You’ve been diligent in planning for a comfortable life in retirement. Still, from health care to benefits, retirement planning is complex. If you think that your retirement plan may be falling short, please feel free to reach out to us. We offer comprehensive retirement planning and would be happy to discuss your situation to help give you confidence that you’re on the right track.