10 Life-Planning Tips For Retiring Boomers; Plus Cost Cuts

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A lot of the more than 76 million Baby Boomers headed toward retirement are losing sleep at night, not because they're worried about having enough money to retire. They're wondering what they want to do with the rest of their lives, according to Joan Carter, cofounder of Life Options Institute, an organization devoted to helping people plan for life after age 50.

If you're one of the millions of Baby Boomers beginning to think about retirement, here are tips from Carter:

1. Life's about more than money. Start thinking seriously about your retirement about five years before you expect to quit the workforce.

2. Make life plans. It is important to plan for the non-financial aspect of retirement by considering what willmake you happy. Maybe you'll climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, or go dog sledding in Alaska, or have time to write the next great American novel, or even continue to work part-time. Make a life plan and tick off your experiences as you move ahead.

3. Find a purpose. Find something on an ongoing basis that provides you with joy and structure to your life. This can involve travel, hobbies or even new career training.

4. Keep sharp. You may feel the need to replace the intellectual stimulation of work. If so, try learning a foreign language or musical instrument, or joining a retirement group that offers ongoing educational courses.

5. Volunteer. Getting involved in the community is a great way to give back, as well as a wonderful opportunity to interact and meet new people.

6. Develop new friendships. A measurement of whether people have a successful retirement is the strength of their social network -- that includes family and friends.

7. Spousal input. Retirement often means a shared experience. Therefore make time to share your dreams with your spouse. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that he/she wants to join you on that Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

8. Remain healthy. There's an old adage: A lean horse for a long race. That means eating well, watching your weight and remaining active.

9. Financial stability. If you can't afford to retire yet, consider partial retirement -- which can include working part-time in your current job or finding something new and exciting from which you can earn some money.

10. What's next in your life? Go to a helpful Web site such as www.WhatsNextInYourLife.com to locate non-financial retirement planning tools.

Adapting to a fixed income essential to enjoying retirement

Thanks to advancements in medicine and an increased emphasis on physical activity and fitness, people are living longer than ever before. While that's a good thing, longer life expectancies mean money now has to go longer as well.

For most people, retirement is a chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of a life's worth of labor. However, caution, especially with respect to finances, is an important element of retirement, as no retiree wants to outlive their money. But living on a fixed income doesn't mean you have to pinch every penny. Instead, the following tips can help you enjoy retirement while also decreasing the likelihood your money will run out too early.

Consider reducing insurance costs. Seniors who are parents, often have life insurance policies that will pay out to their children in the case of their death. However, as you get older and your children cultivate their own wealth, you can begin to carry less insurance. While you'll still want to carry some life insurance should you predecease your spouse, if your children have established themselves financially, you can save money by reducing your life insurance coverage.

Another way to reduce insurance costs is by raising your deductible.

Ask about generic prescriptions. Many seniors earmark a substantial amount of money each month for prescriptions. For some seniors, monthly prescription bills can be jaw-dropping. Ask your doctor if the drug you need is available in a generic prescription, which is often far less expensive while just as effective. Also, don't use the neighborhood pharmacy simply because it's nearby. Prices on medications vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. A little leg work can save you money each month.

Inquire about senior discounts. Many seniors will say one of the best things about being a senior citizen is the numerous discounts available on everything from hotels to restaurants to movie admissions. However, if you don't ask about a possible discount, you probably won't be told. Some credit card companies even lower the interest rates for senior citizens, a discount that could save you more money than the rest of the discounts combined.

While discounts can be great, it's also important not to just accept the senior discount as the best offer out there. Be sure to shop around. Just because some retailer offers a senior discount doesn't make it the best deal out there.

Avoid using credit if possible. Many retirees discover in retirement that they spend more than they ever thought they would before they retired. This is due to several factors, from having more free time to spend and shop, to having more leisure to pursue activities that can be expensive. Also, many seniors love to travel, which is almost always expensive. If you find yourself spending more than you thought you would, avoid using credit when making purchases. Using credit too much can lead to large interest charges, especially if a medical emergency arises and you don't pay the balance in full by the due date. While it's a good feeling to spend all that money you saved during your working years, it's better to avoid spending so much of it on interest fees

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