Wednesday, September 19, 2012

3 Things to Do Before Retirement (Other Than Securing Finances)

Retirement (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
Whether you are prepared financially or not, there’s more to retirement than just having enough money in savings, life insurance and retirement funds to survive after your working days are over. Sure, financial stability is the foundation to a happy, stress-free retirement, but there are a few other things that must be done before you clock out from your last shift on the job.

The following three pieces of advice will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy a retirement full of fun and relaxation.

1. Pay off debt: Ideally, you should be working toward a zero-debt goal long before you set a definitive retirement date. As a rule of thumb, you should focus on paying off high-interest rate debt first (such as credit card debt), then pay off moderate-interest rate debt (such as car loan debt) and then pay off your low-interest rate debt last (such as your mortgage). Obviously, you want to make regular payments on all of your debt, but whatever high-interest rate debt you can pay off early, find a way to do it. It will help you save money in the long run. Paying off all debt before retirement gets a huge monkey off your back and allows you to quit working free of worry.

2. Retire near family and friends: We’re living in a world where it isn’t always common to reside in the same town (or even region) as your family and close friends. Retirement can be lonely; if you aren’t located near the people you love and enjoy spending time with. If you moved years ago for work (or if your family or friends moved away for work), it may be a good idea to think about moving closer to someone or a group of people you can depend on for help in your older years. A two-hour drive is the longest distance that should separate you from your closest friends and family members. As you grow older, the importance of this point will become clearer.

3. Clean out the house: Preparing your home for retirement is a must. You and your family have probably accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Some of this stuff may be junk, and some of it may be for keepsakes. Dig through closets, the attic and other storage spaces, and parse out what you want to keep and what you want to give away and throw away. This will save you and your family a huge hassle down the road, because sooner or later, someone is going to have to clean it out. It also frees up space in your home for new uses, like a craft or hobby room.

Retirement is supposed to be fun and free of worry. By making the necessary preparations, you will make more time for traveling and doing the things you always dreamed of doing when you were working.

As a regular contributor to several finance websites, like, Stella Walker uses her knowledge of economics, consumer trends and budgeting to help readers better understand their own personal finance issues. Feel free to leave your questions and comments for her below!

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