Are you planning to retire soon? If so, you’re not alone. In the next seven years, approximately a fifth of Americans will reach the traditional retirement age of 65. As one of New York’s preeminent community banks in NY, we are here to help you navigate an exciting but potentially overwhelming time.

Here are five things you can do to put your best foot forward in this next phase of your life.

1. Maximize Employer Benefits
Determine your eligibility for a pension or other retirement benefits through your employer and consider maximizing contribution limits in your retirement and personal savings accounts —you can save up to $30,000 in a 401(k) or $7,000 in an IRA. We offer both a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. What are the differences?

A Traditional IRA is an individual retirement account where your contributions may be tax-deductible, and you pay taxes when you withdraw your money. Potential earnings grow tax-deferred until withdrawal.

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account where you contribute after-tax dollars, and you don’t have to pay federal tax on qualified distributions, including potential earnings if certain criteria are met.

Additionally, you may also have an open 401k through a previous employer—contacting the HR department with your details (such as your social security number) can connect you to those funds.

2. Determine Social Security Payment
Social Security benefits will likely be an essential source of income for you in retirement and your personal savings. Find out how much you can expect to receive in benefits by visiting While you’re eligible to claim payments beginning at 62, your full retirement age varies depending on what year you were born. You may also want to consider delaying your Social Security benefits to receive a larger monthly payment (payments grow by roughly 8% every year until you reach age 70).

3. Assess your Financial Picture
Review your current spending by assessing your personal checking account transactions. Determine how much you’ll need to cover basic needs, such as housing, food, and healthcare, and discretionary categories, such as travel or hobbies. Drafting a budget will help you understand how much you can afford to spend and how much you have coming in each month from Social Security, pensions, or part-time work.

4. Sign up for Healthcare
You can enroll in Medicare beginning at age 65. Healthcare costs can be a major expense in retirement, so it’s important to plan ahead. Consider buying additional health insurance to cover any gaps in Medicare coverage, and be sure to factor in the cost of prescription drugs. You may also want to sign up for a health savings account (HSA) to help you save for healthcare expenses tax-free.

5. Meet with a Financial Planner
You may decide to meet with a financial planner to help understand your retirement portfolio and suggest adjustments—for example, transferring your 401(k) funds to an IRA or Roth IRA, which can offer you more investment options and the ability to diversify your holdings. A financial planner can also help strategize your budget. Reflect on what you want this time to look like, and be intentional in communicating your goals.

Take a Closer Look
This month is a great time to refresh your retirement goals and commit to your financial health. We offer some of the best IRA and savings account interest rates, and will work with you one-on-one to help you achieve your retirement savings goals. Through our partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness, you can connect with a caring financial counselor to review your specific situation.

Learn more about our partnership with non-profit partner GreenPath Financial Wellness and how you can access free financial counseling. Check out our IRA Savings options and other personal savings account options.

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.