Peak 65: 7 Things to Do if You Turn 65 This Year

If you are one of the 4.1 million Americans set to turn 65 this year, you’ve likely given some thought to what this major milestone means to you.1 Although age 65 is no longer considered the standard “retirement age,” it’s still an important age to keep in mind. This birthday is a time for introspection and planning for the years ahead.  

From financial preparedness to healthcare considerations and lifestyle adjustments, this landmark birthday may also be significant for more personal reasons. Whether you’ve achieved your career goals, successfully raised a family, or fulfilled other aspirations you had set for yourself, your hard work and accomplishments over the past 65 years are deserving of recognition and praise. And now more than ever, this part of life is a time for you to look forward and plan for the incredible chapter ahead – enjoying the fruits of your labor! 

Aging doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Instead, your golden years are the perfect time to explore your hobbies, develop closer connections with loved ones, and continue to utilize the wisdom and creativity you have nurtured throughout your life. No matter what your aspirations are for this next chapter, it’s essential that you’re set up for success by making sure you have a strong, well-organized foundation to build upon. 

Now is the perfect time to take stock of your life and check-in on any areas that can help strengthen your foundation. Here are 7 things to do if you’re turning 65 this year: 

  1. Sign up for Medicare: Medicare is the government healthcare insurance plan specifically for people aged 65 and older. You become eligible for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday – so why not get a jump on enrolling!  

    Something to be mindful of when you enroll in Medicare is that there are multiple parts to this insurance option, so it’s important to pay attention to which parts you are automatically enrolled in versus which parts you must opt into.2 It’s also important to note that Medicare is not an all-inclusive coverage plan, so you may want to retain supplemental coverage for specific services such as dental and vision care.3 It’s can also be a good idea to consider whether supplementing your plan with Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance is right for you. If you have any questions about the program or your specific circumstance, a good first step is reaching out to the government agency directly.  
  1. Assess your physical health: There are a variety of factors you should consider when evaluating your health, including whether you’re getting proper sleep, if you regularly find time for exercise, and if your diet is providing you with well-rounded nutrition. Being proactive in all areas of your health can give you the energy and physical ability to pursue the activities you are interested in as you age. It’s truly never too late for good habits to have a positive impact on your overall health and longevity!  

    Another way to stay on top of your well-being is by keeping up with your annual check-ups. While this is a beneficial practice at any age, it becomes even more important as we get older. Regular check-ups can help you and your physician address any concerns as well as help ward off any future issues before they even arise. Thankfully, Medicare can cover your yearly visits and a wide range of preventative screenings and tests so you can manage your health in the long run without incurring additional costs.  
  1. Make sure your affairs are in order: No matter what stage of life you’re in, ensuring your legal documents support your current wishes is always good practice. This can be essential in case of an emergency or sudden changes to your plans. Discussing your wishes with trusted loved ones and estate professionals means that you will have a secure plan in place if needed. Getting all of your documents in order, such as a living will, medical power of attorney, and other legal files, sets you up to feel confident that your intentions will be followed through on. 
  1. Take advantage of senior discounts and tax breaks: The wait is over! It’s time to capitalize on those senior discounts you’ve seen advertised by local businesses and larger corporations alike. Although the exact age for qualifying as a “senior” may vary by establishment, by age 65 you should have access to most if not all of the discounts or special shopping hours reserved for age-qualified shoppers. Browse through newspapers or conduct a quick Google search to see whether there are any senior discounts at your favorite retailers that you can start taking advantage of – you may be surprised how many you find!  

    Another way to capitalize on age-earned savings is through tax breaks. When you file your federal income tax return, you may qualify for a larger standard deduction. Depending on where you live, there may also be property tax exemptions for those of a certain age. Make sure you check with your trusted tax or financial professional to see which breaks you may be eligible for to make the most of your savings. 
  1. Nurture your social connections: Though the share of adults who remain employed by the time they are 65 is increasing, many are retired or nearing retirement by this age. More free time may mean you have less built-in structure to see others on a daily basis. However, regardless of your employment status, retaining meaningful connections with those you care about in your life is vital for your overall wellbeing. Staying well-connected with family members, current or former colleagues, and friends can improve your mental health significantly. You can find community activities to participate in and local events to attend where you can meet new people and expand your social circle. You can also proactively work to stay connected with your existing friends by offering to take turns hosting dinners or finding shared hobbies to engage in together. 
  1. Create a list of personal goals and bucket list items: More than ever, people are utilizing their retirement years to capitalize on goals they have set for themselves. Whether this means visiting a dream destination, achieving an important objective, or trying something new, there is no better time to get after your ambitions. People often spend decades after their 65th birthday continuing to progress in all aspects of their lives, and it is important to keep yourself accountable with concrete goals. Thinking ahead is a perfect way to organize your time in the present and can help you stay motivated to hit your targets across all domains in the years to come.  
  1. Revisit your retirement timeline: Turning 65 is an optimal time to assess your retirement timeline and make sure your personal goals are supported by your financial state. The minimum retirement age for full Social Security benefits is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954 , gradually transitions to 67 for those born between 1955 to 1960, and is 67 for those born after 1960.2 However, just because you are eligible doesn’t necessarily mean that you should enroll immediately. Delaying Social Security benefits until up to age 70 can mean you’ll have contributed a higher lifetime earnings, so once you do begin collecting your benefits, the payout will be higher.  

    And while many hope to defer their benefits until the maximum age of 70, the reality is that life happens – and unexpected expenses may leave you in need of some supplemental funds. Fortunately, there is another way to boost cashflow to bridge the gap – via a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan.  

    The HECM, commonly known as a reverse mortgage, is a loan designed specifically for those aged 62 and older that allows you to convert your home’s equity into funds that can be used use however you wish. From having an additional source of cash flow to setting aside money for unexpected expenses, a reverse mortgage can help provide greater financial flexibility in retirement. And better yet, monthly mortgage payments are optional – so long as you keep up with property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. This means you can free up even more additional cash each month to reallocate to your retirement hobbies and goals. 

So, to all those who are celebrating the impressive milestone of 65 years old, we congratulate you! This is a special time for commemorating the journey you’ve been on, and an important opportunity to look toward the future. While this list is just a starting point for things to do when you turn 65, taking care of these fundamentals is an excellent way to build a solid foundation for your next chapter of life. 

If you’re interested in learning more about tapping into your home equity with a reverse mortgage to fund your dreams and goals in the coming years, our team of experienced loan officers is ready to help. Contact our team today to get started! 

1. https://www.housingwire.com/articles/record-number-of-65-year-olds-will-reshape-the-age-milestone-wsj/ 
2. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10035.pdf 
3. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/whats-medicare 

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For information on how we collect and use personal information, please see our Privacy Notice.