A recent story on MarketWatch offered a few tips for a successful retirement that are worth repeating:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be. It’s hugely advantageous to enter retirement free of credit card debt. As difficult as those payments may have been during your working years, they become a real drain when you don’t have a regular paycheck. Most importantly, if your children need money, let them borrow it elsewhere. Loans to one child often cause conflicts with other children. Also, you many need those assets to support yourself!
Maximize your tax-preferred retirement savings. Did you know that only 10% of 401(k) investors maximize their contributions? If you are not in that group, you should be. Do what you can to increase your contributions each year until you hit the maximum. Minimally, contribute enough to qualify for your company’s match so you don’t leave “free money” on the table. And if you have self employment income, open a SEP IRA or an individual 401(k).
Talk with your spouse. Studies show that most couples have conflicting ideas about retirement, including when and where. Amazingly, many times these differences of opinion don’t surface until retirement is right around the corner. To avoid surprises, discuss retirement with your spouse on a regular basis. Will you both retire at the same time? Will you work part-time? Where will you live? Will you share hobbies? How often will you travel? How involved will you be with your children and grandchildren?
Your retirement could last longer than your working career, so planning becomes all the more crucial for happiness and retirement success.