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Ten Tips to Help You Prepare for Retirement

By Andrew Behm

Does getting ready for retirement make you feel uneasy or unprepared?  AARP volunteer Marilyn Pearson is helping make retirement planning less complicated.  Pearson, a former Wall Street employee and broker trainer, is part of a volunteer team that has been working with members and groups across NC to help people better prepare for the financial challenges of retirement by

Marilyn Pearson 2

offering these ten simple tips:

Define your Retirement

Defining your retirement is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for retirement.  Take the time to sit down and write out Five SMART goals. SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals make sure that you’re being practical and that your goals are attainable.

Take stock of your assets

Find out what your net worth is.  You can do this by measuring your assets and then subtracting your liabilities.  It’s best to have more assets then liabilities thus giving you positive net worth.

Evaluate your health

Go to the doctor regularly. Make sure you know what is going on with your body.  It’s important to prepare for these things.  If you know you have family history of illness, prepare for it.  This means taking the proper steps to avoid it and putting money aside in case it happens to you too.

Determine when you are going to take Social Security

Social Security is granted on a sliding scale.  When you decide to take your Social Security benefits determines how much money you will receive.  If you decide to take it at 62 instead of 65 you could be missing out on around $200 a month.  To help decide when you should take your retirement benefits AARP has a retirement calculator on its’ website. Social Security Benefits Caluclator

Network through social media. Get involved with groups in your community

Taking the time to get to know your neighbors opens unlimited doors of opportunities.  You can also get involved in community outreach groups, like AARP, that are specifically tailored for your needs and helping you in your later stages of life.  Being involved and active keeps the brain busy and staves of the fog that many older adults find themselves getting lost in.

Decide how much you need to or want to work

Many older Americans are choosing not to stop working until well after the average retirement age.   Knowing how much you want to work or need to work to support the lifestyle that you want to have once you do retire is very important.

Budget all of your expenses

Keep track of ALL of your expenses.  This means even the little things, like fees that you are charged at an ATM.  These add up very quickly and you can end up losing a lot of money.  Look into the Roth IRA .  Know what your asset allocation is.  By keeping track of all of your expenses you put yourself in the drivers seat to your life and you can then take yourself anywhere you like.

Find ways to cut your expenses

You’d be surprised at what you can save if you just take the time to look and make changes. You can make sure that you’re saving enough money by using Retirement Planning Tool offered on AARP’s website.

Prepare for the unexpected

Set aside at least six months worth of income in the bank. You never know what tomorrow will hold.  By setting aside this money you protect yourself in case you lose your job, get in an accident, or fall ill.

Stick to your plan

This is the most important of all the ten tips.  A wise man once said, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”  Stick to your plan.  You made it for a reason didn’t you?  Follow through to completion it will work out for the best.

You can find more tips on preparing for retirement on AARP’s many online resources:


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