Countdown to Retirement: Plan Your Exit Strategy

Take steps before your retirement party to get all the perks coming to you.

Preparing for retirement means saying goodbye not only to your co-workers and a steady paycheck, but also to employer-provided benefits such as health insurance and a 401(k) match. Before you head out the door, it pays to squeeze a few extra bennies from your boss.

Time it right. Companies use various timetables to match employee 401(k) contributions and dole out profit-sharing. Don't leave before the last check has been written. Your summary plan description, provided by your employer once a year, will clue you in to the key dates. Also find out the rules for cashing out paid leave. If your unused leave expires at the end of the year, you might decide to retire before the holidays rather than in January.

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Jane Bennett Clark
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
The late Jane Bennett Clark, who passed away in March 2017, covered all facets of retirement and wrote a bimonthly column that took a fresh, sometimes provocative look at ways to approach life after a career. She also oversaw the annual Kiplinger rankings for best values in public and private colleges and universities and spearheaded the annual "Best Cities" feature. Clark graduated from Northwestern University.