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You're Retired. Now what? Prioritizing Expenses

Dec 13, 2011, 8:46 a.m.

Hooray for Retirement!

Many persons opt for an "early" retirement sometime during their mid-50s. It unfortunately does not always have the same connotation as getting up "early" in the morning, when you are filled with energy for a new day. Retirement planning tips always include early planning and a tight hold on the pocketbook for most retirees.

Now What?

Hopefully, you were good and started up an IRA, made investments, paid off debts, worked long enough to qualify for the highest level of Social Security benefits and are in good health. That would be the ideal retirement picture. Order up travel tickets if you wish!

Prioritizing Expenses

On the other hand, if the pocketbook is a little tight for retirement spending needs, there are options to consider. The absolute first necessity is to clearly detail your expenses and living cash needs. Make a prioritized list:

Shelter -- a top priority. Is it an asset you might be able to use if needed?

Food -- Retirement is an ideal time to focus on yourself, to improve your chances for long, healthy years.

Bills -- if you still owe creditors, plan to pay off debts in as short a time as possible. This will leave you with peace of mind and more money later on, when you need it.

Use bankers, consultants, retirement financial calculators, goal setting programs and keep an eagle-eye on your investments.

Fun -- hobbies, a second career, travel or visiting family are yours for the asking!

If you feel you are not ready for early retirement, remember, no one says you have to go sit by the beach to acquire a tan for those "golden" years. Go back to work and save more cash for later!

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