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Your 65th birthday retirement checklist

With so many critical decisions coming up, this list can help you plan for the next steps in your financial journey


CONGRATULATIONS — you’re in very good company! A record-setting 4.1 million American baby boomers turn 65 in 2024.1 Though you may share this birthday milestone and many other attributes with other boomers — as a generation, you’re wealthier2 and more active than previous generations,3 for instance — the journey ahead will likely be different for each of you.


Perhaps you’re still working. The percentage of those over age 65 who continue to work has nearly doubled over the past 35 years.4 Or maybe you’ve already retired. Either way, there are a number of important financial decisions you’ll need to start considering and strategies you may want to begin implementing very soon. Because you’ll be funding a retirement that could last 30 years or more, these decisions take on even more importance.


To help you identify the next steps on your financial journey, we’ve created a 65th birthday checklist. Use it to help you plan discussions with your financial advisor in the coming months.

Your 65th birthday checklist

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1. If you’re still working, make sure you’re taking advantage of “catch up” contribution opportunities.

2. Visit to find your full retirement age and calculate how much your benefit would be, based on your current earnings record.

3. Create a monthly retirement budget — and a plan for how you’ll cover those expenses.

4. To help fill any gaps, research other potential income sources.

5. Don’t forget to sign up for Medicare — or risk paying higher premiums later.

6. Got an HSA? You’ll have to stop making contributions once you sign up for Medicare.

7. Talk to your family about long-term care needs.

8. Start crafting your legacy.

9. Thinking about relocating? Plan a vacation to check out potential new zip codes.

10. Celebrate yourself — and pay the good vibes forward.

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Finally, as an added bonus, we asked three of our retirement leaders: “What’s the one tip you’d give your best friend on their 65th birthday?” Here’s what they said.


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1 Retirement Income Institute Alliance for Lifetime Income, “Welcome to the Peak 65® Zone – A New Chapter in American’s Retirement Landscape,” January 2024.

2 Statista, “Wealth distribution in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2023,” March 2024.

3 AccessOne, “Baby Boomers and Healthcare: The Looming Challenge Ahead,” November 2023.

4 Pew Research, “Older Workers Are Growing in Number and Earning Higher Wages,” December 2023.

5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “How Much Care Will You Need?” February 2020.


Investing involves risk. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.


Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.


This material should be regarded as educational information on Social Security and is not intended to provide specific advice. If you have questions regarding your particular situation, you should contact the Social Security Administration and/or your legal advisors.


This material should be regarded as educational information on healthcare considerations and is not intended to provide specific healthcare advice. If you have questions regarding your particular healthcare situation, please contact your healthcare, legal or tax advisor.


Long-term-care insurance coverage contains benefits, exclusions, limitations, eligibility requirements and specific terms and conditions under which the insurance coverage may be continued in force or discontinued. Not all insurance policies and types of coverage may be available in your state.


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You can receive tax-free distributions from your HSA to pay or be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses you incur after you establish the HSA. If you receive distributions for other reasons, the amount you withdraw will be subject to income tax and may be subject to an additional 20% tax, unless an exception applies. Any interest or earnings on the 411 assets in the account are tax-free. You may be able to claim a tax deduction for contributions you, or someone other than your employer, make to your HSA directly (not through payroll deductions). In addition, HSA contributions may reduce your state income taxes in certain states. Certain limits may apply to employees who are considered highly compensated key employees. Bank of America recommends you contact qualified tax or legal counsel before establishing an HSA.


The Chief Investment Office (CIO) provides thought leadership on wealth management, investment strategy and global markets; portfolio management solutions; due diligence; and solutions oversight and data analytics. CIO viewpoints are developed for Bank of America Private Bank, a division of Bank of America, N.A., (“Bank of America”) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S” or “Merrill”), a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”).


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