Retirement planning isn’t just about saving

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Much of the focus on retirement planning involves building savings, but being financially prepared for retirement involves more than that. Other essential steps:

* Pay off debt. Before you retire, you’ll be better off if your credit card, mortgage, and other debts are paid off. The money you spend on debt repayment will eat into the amount you have left for other retirement activities.

* Maintain your health insurance. Even after you turn 65 and qualify for Medicare, you must either purchase a Medigap policy as a supplement, enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, or if you continue your FEHB coverage, as most federal retirees do, keep this and possibly consider upgrading to a lower cost plan. Medicare has many gaps (deductibles, coinsurance, vision care, hearing aids, etc.) that need to be covered. Second-payer plans, like FEHB for someone who has Medicare, fill in many of these gaps.

* You should also inquire about long-term care insurance, both the federal government’s long-term care insurance program and whatever is available (increasingly) in the private market.

* Don’t neglect other covers. You will still need adequate home and auto insurance; Excess liability (“umbrella”) coverage is also essential.

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