Retirement Planning Tips to Implement Sooner Rather than Later

5 retirement planning tips you can’t afford not to do today.

It is more important than ever for you to prepare for retirement and to research the options available to you for saving, investing, and paying down debt. Unexpected obstacles, such as the unstable future of Social Security, the decline in 401(k) contributions, and a continued volatile stock market, are making it more important than ever before for people to create a solid financial plan that will take them through their golden years.

In light of these concerns, we are offering tips and advice to help you plan for a financially steady retirement.

Tip No. 1: Eliminate Credit Card Debt

If you have unsecured credit card debt, you should make it a priority to pay it off before you retire.  Paying off high-interest credit card debt on a fixed income can sometimes be a stressful and difficult task.  The high interest rates associated with credit cards can add-up, especially on a fixed income.  If you have five or six credit cards now, keep one or two with the lowest interest rates and pay off the others before you retire.

Tip No. 2: Save Smart

Putting your savings in tax deferred accounts, such as a 401(k) or Roth IRA, can help you save a great deal of money.  Check with your employer to see if they match all or part of your 401(k) contributions.  If they do match your contributions, take advantage of this benefit.

Tip No. 3: Diversify Your Portfolio

Be sure to keep a diverse investment portfolio for your retirement to insulate your finances from market uncertainties.  In addition to your 401(k), consider a variety of international stocks, small-company stocks, large-company stocks and bonds.  In volatile economic times, a diverse portfolio will help offset any losses due to market swings.

Tip No. 4: Consider Health Care Costs & Create an Emergency Fund

For most Americans, getting older is synonymous with higher medical   costs.  One safeguard from allowing medical bills to sack your retirement funds is to build a medical emergency fund into your retirement plan.  Talk to your employer before you retire and find out what benefits are available after retirement.  Should your health insurance expire when you retire, take the time to find alternatives before you begin Medicare.

Tip No. 5: Decide Where You Want to Live

If you are within 5-6 years of retiring, and you’re thinking about moving after you retire, look into the cost of living for that area.  If you are interested in a retirement community, check to see if living there will help or harm your ability to cut back on healthcare, food or utility expenses.  If you are looking into moving to a new state or town, it could be worthwhile to see if there are tax advantages for senior citizens. Learning the financial details of where you would like to live will help you budget your retirement savings with precision.