In your forties and fifties, retirement starts to feel like an idea that’s not that far away. Yet, financially it can feel like light years. If you’re not where you thought you would be, don’t worry. This is how you can painlessly get there.

Retirement Planning:

Deciding Among Family Priorities

One part of retirement planning is taking a hard look at your family priorities. It’s wonderful to pay for your child’s college education in its entirety, but they’d rather you focus on your own future, too. After all, if you don’t, you’ll end up living with them. Talk to a financial professional about both your current priorities, and how your long-term goals should be affected. If you don’t like what one professional says or the way he or she explains terms, try another one. You want to find someone you feel comfortable with.

Streamline Your Budget

One of the best ways to insure you’ll have money for both retirement and any emergency expenses that happen beforehand is to streamline your budget. Look over your budget, and do a think hard on where you might be overspending. Don’t jump to the conclusion that you’re overspending on dining out or your morning coffee that gets you through the day. I’ve looked deeper at these expenses, and found that my morning coffee doesn’t hurt my budget, but an appetizer before a meal hurts my waistline and my budget. Remember to look for coupons before dining out, too, from both restaurant.com and Groupon.  Checkout the personalized budgeting section of this site, too, for helpful tips on how to streamline your budget to afford everything you want now and in the future.

Consider Your Career Goals

I don’t really believe in full retirement. Not because the funds may not be there, but it’s because I can’t imagine leaving a job I love. I plan on a more part-time profession where I write less, and enjoy quite a bit more traveling while I do it. Thus, one of the best ways to plan for retirement is to think about whether you’re happy with your present job, and whether you could work longer at a job you love. Talk to your current employer, professional organization, or your alumni career center at your alma mater about career opportunities. Consider going back to college if you have specific goal.  Never think you’re too old to change professions. My mom went back to school in her late fifties to get her master’s, and she’s been working for the past ten years at a job she loves.

Life Insurance Plans.

The amount of life insurance you need at this stage, and really at any stage, is dependent on the people who depend on you. Do you want to pay for your kids to go to college, for your spouse to keep your home, or cover your income in its entirety? If certain expenses exist within a time vacuum over the next ten years, purchase term insurance that covers those ten years for that amount and a lower amount in a whole life policy. Always compare quotes, and make the best decision for you. But, check with your workplace first. Just like with health insurance, you generally save money when insurance is purchased on a group level.