When it comes to retirement, you will want to start planning as soon as possible to ensure that you are ready for it. Waiting until the last minute will only cause you stress. There are many different things that you can start doing now to prepare yourself for your retirement. ● Diversification and Growth You may be tempted to stay away from stocks because of the risk. However, you will want to grow your stocks and your other assets. A well-balanced portfolio will help you to weather times of bad stocks. Diversification will not ensure a profit nor protect you from a loss, but the more diversified you are, the better chance of you not having any problems when the market turns down. ● Take Advantage Of Retirement Accounts Whenever you have extra money, consider putting more money into your retirement contributions. Look at the maximum you are allowed to do with your 401k or other retirement plans. Your aim should be to put enough in the 401k so that your employer can put matching contributions into the account. If you do not have a 401K, look into getting one. Make sure that you work with someone that is experienced in the different types of 401K that are out there, an example of one would be a Profit-Sharing 401K. If you do not have a retirement account of any kind, you will want to get started. Even if you are over 50, it is never too late to start a retirement plan. ● Getting Rid Of Your Debt To help with your retirement, one thing you will want to do is to get as much debt off of you as possible. Consider doubling or paying more on your mortgage payments to have your house paid off by retirement. Car payments and credit card debt should also be paid off. You should limit yourself from taking on any new debt. Try to save and pay cash for bigger purchases. ● Determine Your Retirement Income You will want to estimate your income from things like employer pensions, Social Security, savings, investment accounts, and any wages you might earn in retirement. You will want to make sure that you have enough to live for the rest of your life comfortably. Determining your retirement income should help you to see how much you will have to work with and where you need to make improvements in your income before retirement. ● Figuring Out Your Retirement Expenses You will want to figure out your retirement expenses. If you pay off your mortgage, you will not have to worry about that part. You will need to keep in mind that you will have to pay utilities, car insurance, and more. Another thing that you will have to consider is your medical care and how you will afford it. Medicare will cover most things, but you will also want to consider supplemental coverage to pay for health issues that might come up as you age. You may want to consider getting long-term care insurance. You can also do a health savings account. If you are doing this type of savings account, make sure that you contribute frequently. ● Choosing Where You Will Live You will want to take the time to consider where you will live when you retire. Some people decide to sell their homes and downsize, while others decide to stay in their homes. You may want to be closer to your family members and move. The choice is yours, but you will need to make sure that you can afford to live in the area after retirement and that all your needs can be met. For example, if you have health issues, you will want to make sure that you find a doctor in the area that can handle any problems that you may have. To determine where you should live, consider the pros and cons of each option. You may also want to talk to family members and get their opinion of your long-term retirement goals and where you should live. Taking the time to set up your retirement will help you to be financially set as you age. The more you put into planning your retirement, the better it will be. If you have not started retirement plans yet, get started today. Remember to diversify, put money in your retirement accounts, and take the time to ensure that you have everything you will need when it comes time to retire.