FEDweek

Prudent Preparation

Retirement planning means more than building up a large investment fund. Other vital steps:

* Pay off debt. Before you retire, you’ll be better off if your credit card, mortgage, and other debts are paid off. The money you spend on debt repayment will eat into the amount you have left for other retirement pursuits.

* Keep up your health insurance. Even after you reach 65 and qualify for Medicare, you either should buy a Medigap policy as a supplement, sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, or if you’re eligible to continue your FEHB coverage, as most federal retirees are, keep that and possibly consider switching to a lower cost plan. Medicare has many gaps that need to be covered. Second-payer plans, as FEHB acts in this situation, fill many of those gaps.

* You should investigate long-term care insurance, too.

* Don’t neglect other coverage. You’ll still need adequate home and auto insurance; liability (“umbrella”) coverage also is vital. Ask about discounts for seniors, which are offered by many companies.