Posted 12/30/2019 11:08 AM (GMT -7)
Quite honestly one of the ongoing highlights of my stay here at HWPC has been the pleasure of reading your always excellent posts as well as enjoying your always goodnatured but also delightful humor.
I look forward to doing so in the future, too! (Notice I didn't say for another eight years because I wonder how many of us really want to look that far ahead, but I'm sure it would be great if you were still here then!)
As for the retirement planning, yes, that one is definitely a biggie, and requires some first-class planning. In my own case I did start SSA benefits at age 62, a decision I made largely because I was also going to be getting a Florida state pension (read secure retirement income) because the University of Florida where I had worked for years was, for financial purposes, considered a state agency. So losing a bit on the SSA benefits for not waiting until older wasn't as big an issue as it might have been. A personal reason as well was that my wife (who was still alive then) and I had planned on doing some things together as soon as I had stopped working, and the extra income from taking the SSA benefit early helped with that.
But everyone is different, of course, and I think you'll be making very good decisions for yourself. But do remember, as I'm certain you are already aware, that lots of retirement decisions are going to be permanent ones (choosing which SSA benefit to take, for example), and will require your best thinking to make the decision that's right for you.
Looking back on my own retirement 12 years ago, in retrospect I would say that, yes, getting the retirement health care part of it right was the most important thing, as you are suggesting is going to be true for you. And also keep in mind that once it's set up and running, whatever health care package you choose, it may be possible to change it later, if you want to, but it also may be difficult to do so. Yes, my advice based on experience would be to put the major emphasis now on a really good retirement health package, and get the one that seems best for you.
In fact, I think you may find that once the health benefits thing is well planned, a lot of the other retirement issues will just seem to fall into place. At least it seemed that way to me.
Overall, being retired sort of reminds of the humorous remark grandparents sometimes make, "If I had known my grandkids were going to be so much fun, I would have had them first!", except that I would modify it to read "If I had known retirement was going to be so much fun, I would have done that first!"
Anyway, best wishes for a most successful retirement. For one thing, it'll give you much more time to post on Internet forums!