If you're getting to that stage in your life where retirement is beginning to become conceivable, then it's time to start thinking about and planning for everything involved in entering this exciting, yet nerve-racking period. While preparing for the obvious concerns of financial stability and health-related issues are certainly top priorities, there are many other elements to retirement that should be taken into account. Here's a quick retirement preparation checklist to plan ahead for when you finally decide to take the next big step in your life:

Assess your financial situation

Clearly the most important factor behind whether people intend to retire or not is money. When trying to assess and project what your present and future financial situation looks like, you need to take a wide variety of factors into consideration. For starters, speak with your accountant in regard to everything from social security estimates, pension calculations, stocks and bonds to even any possible inheritances you may be expecting. You'll need to review your potential social security benefits as well as your retirement benefits with your employer to begin working on a retirement calculator that will adequately ensure you're on target to meet your financial goals. After you've sorted out all the bigger money matters, don't forget to assess the little things that could add up over time. Everything from real estate property to antiques and collectibles to life insurance values should be appropriately calculated and figured in as possible sources of income further down the road.

Reviewing your expenses and financial assets are an essential part of the retirement process. Reviewing your expenses and financial assets are an essential part of the retirement process.

Tally up expected expenses

Expenses tend to only become more costly later on in life, so you'll also need to evaluate the costs you can expect to encounter in the future. Make sure you're completely up to date with your mortgage, rent or other real estate financial matters, especially if you'll still need to continue making payments. This is also the time to begin figuring out whether you plan on making your current residence your permanent home, or if you want to relocate in the future, as this will obviously only add to the expenses to consider. 

When it comes to your health, you never know what to expect later on in life, which is why setting aside plenty of future income to go towards unexpected or likely medical costs. Also, be sure to factor in future travel or vacation arrangements, as retirement is the time of life where experiencing new parts of the world becomes more frequent. When you start to add up all these possible expenses and compare them to your retirement funding projections, you'll begin to have a better picture of whether or not you're ready to retire now or later on.

Planning your estate

Retirement is also the time to begin collaborating with your insurance agent, investment broker and accountant in regard to tallying up all your assets and determining your estate. While this can be a difficult process for anybody, making sure that those close to you know how to act in the event of a misfortune will only put ease into the hearts of yourself and loved ones. This includes everything from updating your will, listing your medical power of attorney, providing personal information from important passwords and documents and plenty of more personal information.

"Review what your healthcare and medical health insurance options are after retirement."

Closely monitor your health

Retirement is time for self-reflection, and making sure you're staying up to date with your health is an essential element to ensuring your retirement is exactly the way you've dreamed it of being. You'll want to start scheduling all those checkups and exams with doctors as soon as possible, and continue seeing them regularly throughout each year. You should also figure out what your healthcare and medical health insurance options are after you retire. From assessing work and insurance coverage to determining your government healthcare eligibility, you definitely want to figure these factors out sooner than later. In the meantime, it's never a bad idea to try and take better care of yourself. Start considering which types of interests or hobbies you want to incorporate into your weekly routines so you can stay more active all through retirement.      

Discuss with your spouse

Effective communication between you and your loved one during this busy process is of the utmost importance. Make sure your spouse is involved in everything you're doing to prepare for retirement, from the financial end to even the more recreational decisions, such as traveling. You'll need all the support you can get throughout this experience, so always be open and cooperative with your spouse when planning for retirement.

Reach out for help

Preparing for retirement can difficult at times simply because you've never had to think abou these steps before. However, you should never feel like you have to go through this inevitable process alone. Don't be afraid to consistently reach out to your insurance agent, doctor, accountant or anyone else of importance to answer any questions or concerns you have. If you have any friends or family members who are retired, it's definitely a good idea to contact them and see what insight they have to offer. The more sources you have for support, the easier preparing for retirement can be!