Column: Creating A Five-Year Retirement Plan

June 25, 2020

Carla Seely Bermuda October 2018[Written by Carla Seely]

When it comes to retirement, you need to create an action plan. More specifically, you need to plan ahead to ensure that your retirement vision meets your budget. The question is, how far in advance should you ‘officially’ start enacting that plan? Well, from a retirement planning perspective, I would suggest that five years is sufficient to get your retirement life completely organised.

Creating a Five-Year Action Plan for Retirement

Start with your current financial situation. Specifically, pay attention to how you can start to maximise your income and reduce your expenses. For a lot of people, planning for retirement starts about five years in advance of their retirement date.

Below is a helpful guide on areas that you should focus on.

[It is important to note that this is only to give you a rough idea and should not be the only checklist that you use].

Five Years to Retirement Date

  • Meet with your pension provider and make sure to discuss the following:
    • Review your current pension plan account holdings.
    • Consolidate any other pension plans into one account.
    • Discuss the current rules and regulations regarding access to your pension upon retirement.
    • If needed, determine the benefits of making additional voluntary contributions.
  • Review your bank account[s]. If you have multiple accounts, do you really need them all?
  • Review your investment account[s]. Review your asset allocations and make sure the investments match your time horizon.
  • Review your insurance policies [e.g. life, home, car]. Do they reflect the current values?
  • Update your will or visit a lawyer to have a will created and filed.
  • Update your beneficiaries on anything that has a beneficiary listed [e.g. life insurance, pensions, etc.]
  • If you still owe anything, for example on a mortgage, car loan or credit cards, it is time to pay those off.
  • Review your cash flow. Can you decrease your expenses and increase your savings?
  • Determine where your retirement income is going to come from, for example:
    • Pension
    • Rental collection
    • Social insurance
    • Investments

Two Years to Retirement Date

  • Review your risk allocation on your pension plan and start to reduce the risk level.
  • Crunch the numbers for your retirement income vs. retirement expenses to ensure positive cash flow.
  • Consolidate your bank accounts to make sure that you are streamlined.
  • Start to consolidate your investment accounts to ensure that you have a clear investment strategy.
  • If retiring overseas, make plans for an initial trip to assess potential retirement locations.
  • Ensure that all your debts are paid off with no further intention of borrowing.
  • Ensure that any renovations to your house are completed or are in the final stages of completion.
  • Review your current cash flow and determine the changes that you will make upon retirement.
  • Identify options for long-term care needs.

Six Months to Retirement Date

  • Request information on the various pension options available upon retirement.
  • Obtain information on individual health insurance from local providers.
  • Request a copy of your Bermuda Social Insurance monthly benefits plan.
  • Adjust any immediate insurance needs.
  • Finalise your annual or monthly retirement cash flow options.
  • Finalise your retirement budget for expenses.
  • Review your investment allocations for positive cash flow options.
  • If retiring abroad, make decisions regarding accommodation [e.g. renting vs. ownership].
  • Enquire about long-term care, particularly regarding the cost of treatment locally or abroad.

Retirement Day

  • Create your retirement folder containing all your financial and insurance information.
  • Ensure that you have a clear understanding of your retirement budget.
  • Plan for your retirement trip.
  • Have a retirement dinner with your family and friends to celebrate the next chapter.
  • If moving abroad, start packing.

- Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pension, Life, and Investments at Freisenbruch-Meyer. If you would like any further details, please contact her at or call +1 441 297 8686.


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