After years of planning and saving, it's finally here: your retirement. If you've achieved financial freedom and can afford to stop working full time this year, congratulations!
Retirement planning was no easy task. Now, it's time to transition from preparing for retirement to being retired. If you're planning to retire later this year, you should take the following five steps as soon as you can to prepare yourself to flourish financially over the coming years.
1. Maximize your savings.
If you're not already doing so, maximize your contributions to your tax-deferred accounts such as your 401(k) or 403(b) plans and traditional individual retirement account, or IRA. You want to make sure you at least contribute enough to get the full employer match. You should also be maximizing your after-tax retirement accounts, such as your Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) plan. The next few months may be the last ones in which you can contribute to these accounts. Retirement contributions require earned income during the year, so if you plan to stop earning money, then you can no longer fund many of your investment accounts.
Additionally, this may be your last year to take advantage of the tax benefits these accounts offer. Traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans, along with brokerage investment accounts and interest income, are all taxable when you withdraw the money. For about half of Americans, even Social Security can constitute taxable income. By setting aside as much as you can this year, you put off having to pay those taxes.
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