Turning 65: Unlocking New Opportunities and Navigating Important Decisions

As you approach your 65th birthday, a world of new possibilities and responsibilities opens up. This milestone age is more than just a number; it’s a pivotal moment that requires careful planning and consideration. From securing healthcare coverage to exploring retirement options, there are several important steps to take to ensure a smooth transition into this exciting new chapter of life.

The Comprehensive Checklist for Turning 65

To help you navigate this significant milestone, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist outlining the key actions you should take as you turn 65. Let’s dive in and explore each item in detail.

1. Plan for Your Medicare Enrollment Period

One of the most crucial steps when turning 65 is planning for your Medicare enrollment period. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) spans a seven-month window, beginning three months before your 65th birthday, including your birthday month, and extending three months after. Enrolling during this period is essential to avoid potential penalties for late enrollment.

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance). However, if you haven’t started receiving Social Security, you’ll need to actively enroll by applying online, over the phone, or at your local Social Security office.

2. Consider Medigap or Medicare Advantage

While Medicare provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, it’s essential to understand that it doesn’t cover all expenses. Copayments and deductibles can quickly add up, leaving you with significant out-of-pocket costs. To mitigate these expenses, you have two primary options:

  • Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance): These private insurance plans help cover the gaps in Original Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Medigap policies offer various options, allowing you to choose the level of coverage that best suits your needs.

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C): An alternative to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers and often include additional benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing services.

Carefully evaluate these options to determine the best fit for your healthcare needs and budget.

3. Choose Your Prescription Plan

Medicare Parts A and B do not cover prescription drugs, which is why enrolling in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) is essential for many individuals. These plans are offered by private insurers and vary in terms of their deductibles, copayments, and the specific drugs covered.

If you opt for a Medicare Advantage plan, many of them already include prescription drug coverage, eliminating the need for a separate Part D plan.

4. Decide on Social Security Benefits

Turning 65 also marks an important decision point regarding your Social Security benefits. While you can start receiving full retirement benefits at age 66 (or 67, depending on your birth year), delaying your benefits can result in a higher monthly payment.

Take the time to evaluate your financial situation, retirement goals, and life expectancy to determine the optimal time to start receiving your Social Security benefits.

5. Look into Discounts and Tax Breaks

In addition to the benefits associated with Medicare, turning 65 also qualifies you for various discounts and tax breaks. Many retailers, travel companies, and service providers offer senior discounts, so be sure to inquire about any available perks.

Furthermore, you may be eligible for increased standard deductions and property tax exemptions or deductions when filing your taxes. Check with your local tax authorities to ensure you take advantage of all applicable tax breaks.

6. Visit Your Doctor

As you embark on this new chapter, it’s crucial to prioritize your health. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss any recommended screenings, vaccinations, or routine check-ups tailored to your age and health profile.

This visit is an opportunity to address any concerns and ensure you’re taking proactive steps to maintain your well-being.

7. Organize Financial and Legal Documents

Turning 65 is an excellent time to review and update your financial and legal documents. This includes:

  • Reviewing your retirement accounts and investment portfolios to ensure they align with your goals and risk tolerance
  • Updating beneficiary designations on your accounts and insurance policies
  • Revisiting your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents
  • Creating a comprehensive list of all your accounts, insurance policies, and important contacts for easy reference

By organizing and updating these documents, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order and your wishes will be carried out as intended.

Embracing the Journey

Turning 65 is a significant milestone that deserves celebration and careful planning. By following this comprehensive checklist, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the various decisions and opportunities that arise during this exciting phase of life.

Remember, the journey to retirement is unique for each individual, and it’s essential to seek professional guidance when needed. Whether it’s consulting a financial advisor, healthcare specialist, or legal professional, having the right support system in place can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and fulfilling transition.

So, embrace this new chapter with confidence, take the necessary steps, and enjoy the many rewards and adventures that lie ahead.

Do These 3 Things as Soon as You Turn 65


What do people do at age 65?

Turning 65 is a major milestone and pivotal age for your retirement planning. Not only is this an important age for government programs like Medicare and Social Security, but it’s also a perfect time to check other parts of your financial plan, particularly if you’re about to retire.

What should I do when I turn 65?

For most people, turning 65 means you’re eligible for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. You can also choose to enroll in Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage. If you aren’t retiring, you’ll need to visit the Social Security website and manually sign up for it yourself.

What are you entitled to when you reach 65?

If you stop working and start receiving retirement benefits before age 65, you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) when you turn 65. If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Medicare benefits three months before you turn 65.

What changes happen when you turn 65?

As you likely know, 65 is the age you first become eligible for Medicare. It is also a great time to consider the changes that will come to your life affecting your finances, your health and general physical well-being. You might also want to take advantage of some perks that come with age.

Leave a Comment