This week was mostly boring stuff that expresses what an average week looks like for most newly retired folks. It always amazes me how many mundane tasks come with any major change in your life.
Boring stuff part one – healthcare
Earlier, I took care of my Social Security stuff and signed up for Medicare (you can read more about that part of my journey in an earlier post). This week, I still had a lot of boring stuff to do like a form sent from my chosen Medicare company (United Healthcare). I chose the option of a Medicare Advantage plan with the PPO option, which means you can visit any doctor or facility that takes Medicare. I’ll let you know in the coming weeks how that goes but I do recommend you learn as much as possible from independent sources (NOT INSURANCE AGENTS) before making a choice as the wrong choice can cost you a LOT of money). I recommend you start with the Medicare comparison tool. I discovered that I had to verify my prescription drug coverage within a few days after the effective date even though I had already provided information to Medicare from my employer (former) that showed I had coverage up until the day before my Medicare effective date.
Boring stuff part two – retirement disbursements
I also had a bunch of stuff to do to start collecting from my 401K (in my case, as a university professor it was a 403B). This required another round of verification of my retirement date from my employer, which took some time. Again, a task to plan ahead of time. Everything that goes into your retirement account is pre-tax. It is often matched by your employer in some fashion (although 2 of the universities I worked for suspended their contribution when they had financial trouble. I’m not sure that’s legal since it’s covered in my employment contract, but there you go). When you take money out, it’s 100% taxable, so bear that in mind as you save up for retirement (if you haven’t retired yet) and as you plan how much you need to withdraw every month. Whoever manages your retirement (a bank or an investment company, for instance) must withhold taxes before dispursing your money.
I made my plan with an eye toward the amount I’ll get from Social Security but you might consider how much you want to leave to others if you have an investment account beyond an annuity (which is inheritable). You get your Social Security check in arrears, so my first check won’t arrive until almost two months after I retire. Rather than taking more from my retirement account to cover those months, I decided to take money from other savings as the tax implications were less, at least that was the advice of my financial advisor.
So, this week wasn’t entirely made up of boring stuff. My daughter, the actor, had me get a makeover while I was in Hollywood. She said my old makeup didn’t give me the coverage I needed because, as my skin aged, I started noticing I was getting dark spots (I’m more careful now to use sunscreen every day). My old foundation didn’t provide full coverage, so the makeup person recommended something different, as well as using a brow pencil to highlight my lighter brows as those faded with age).
I tried out my new makeup at an event on Friday night. I think the change was subtle, but several people remarked on how they noticed something different. That’s exactly what I was going for. I didn’t want to look overly made-up but I just wanted to look better.
It was National Dog Week, so head over to Instagram to see pics of my dogs, but here’s one for now. We took a walk and had a nice dinner to celebrate.
Well, that’s it for this week. See you on my journey next week.
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