• 5 Essential Retirement Documents

    5 Essential Retirement Documents

As you begin to plan for retirement it is easy to put most of your focus on your savings, and rightly so. However, funding your retirement involves more than simply saving enough money. An often overlooked necessity is the importance of obtaining and organizing certain documents. The following are five essential retirement documents you will need for a smooth transition.

Essential Retirement Documents

Original or Certified Birth Certificate

Though you can submit copies of many documents, your birth certificate is not one of them. To apply for retirement, you will need an original or certified copy of your birth certificate as a photocopy will not be accepted. Original documents are returned after filing.

Original Social Security Card or Record of Number

Your Social Security number is directly tied to how much you receive from your Social Security benefits. Your specific number has been used your entire working life to track the amount of money you have earned. This, in turn, determines your level of benefits in retirement. From there, your Social Security number will be used to track your benefits.

Proof of Citizenship

There are several documents the Social Security Administration will accept as proof of citizenship. These documents include a U.S. birth certificate, passport, or certification of citizenship. If you are a lawful non-citizen living in the U.S., you may present your Department of Homeland Security documents which may include I-551 (Green Card) or your DHS form I-94. Much like your birth certificate, the Social Security Administration will only take original or certified documents.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Health Care

A durable power of attorney for finance is a legal document that authorizes a person of your choosing to manage your finances should you be unable.  

Similarly, a power of attorney for health care is a legal document that allows the person you choose to manage decisions (otherwise known as a decision-maker) regarding your health should you be unable. You can additionally include a directive that provides specific written instructions to your legal decision-maker to communicate your wishes.  

Tax Returns

Your life is meant to be easier in retirement, however, this doesn’t apply to your taxes. Many complications regarding your taxes come into play in retirement because your employer is no longer automatically withholding taxes from your paycheck, which can make paying your taxes tricky. You may owe taxes on your Social Security, pension, and annuity depending on your state. It is best to work closely with a trusted tax and finance professional to assist you with these complicated matters. Keep in mind, the IRS can look back up to three years for basic errors.

Obtaining, organizing, and understanding your essential retirement documents will help you make informed decisions as well as facilitate an easy transition to retirement.

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Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.