MetLife asked pre-retirees to answer a series of questions about how they would transition into retirement and found that while overall preparedness is low, retirement planning is especially aggressive among boomers between 55 and 64. The report identified several steps pre-retirees need to take to determine if they’re ready to retire. As expected, the closer boomers are to retirement, the more tasks they have completed.

More than half of respondents surveyed by MetLife for the Retirement Readiness Index said they were behind in retirement planning and one-quarter said they were “significantly behind.” Thirteen percent went so far as to say they had no retirement goals and 7 percent haven’t started saving.

But within five years of retirement, boomers have completed an average of eight tasks, compared with those between 6 and 15 years who have only completed five.

Over half of pre-retirees have thought about how much they’d like to work in retirement, and how to strike a balance between work and leisure. However, less than one-third of respondents have tackled more aggressive – and less fun – planning steps like looking into possible employment opportunities in retirement. Just 34 percent have developed a back-up plan to sustain themselves through an extended setback.

MetLife identified 15 steps that pre-retirees should complete in order to be sufficiently prepared for retirement. The report authors note that completing the tasks doesn’t mean pre-retirees will be ready to retire; rather, the following steps are a way for boomers to judge how they will transition into retirement.

  1. Decide whether to fully retire, or to work part-time in retirement.
  2. Determine which skills could be easily transferred to a new part-time job.
  3. Look into alternate career or part-time work opportunities for retirement.
  4. Formulate ideas about how much I’d like to work in retirement.
  5. Explore what employment possibilities are available if I want to keep working full- or part-time in retirement.
  6. Determine the proper balance between work and leisure time if forced to choose.
  7. Identified my personal goals in retirement.
  8. Consider the importance of relationships with co-workers when making a decision to retire.
  9. Consider how the various aspects of my retirement might positively or negatively affect the relationships I have with my family and friends.
  10. Assess whether full-time retirement would be financially feasible at this point in life.
  11. Evaluate how changes in the economy will affect pension, investments, and retirement benefits.
  12. Determine the steps that are necessary to receive company, government, or other benefits I’m entitled to in retirement.
  13. Determine the factors that are critical to maintaining a personally satisfying retirement.
  14. Develop an alternative plan that could get me through a considerable and unexpected setback in retirement.
  15. Evaluate whether my retirement plans meet the demands of personal, social, and financial changes.

The full report is available as a PDF.