Best Retriement Advice
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15 Smart Tips to Jump-Start Your Retirement Planning in the New Year

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Best Retriement Advice
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2020 Vision

The start of a new year is a good time to review your financial picture and make adjustments to reflect recent life changes, whether it's a new job, a salary increase, or some other monetary reality. It's also important to check in on planning and saving for retirement. As you embark on 2020, take some time to assess progress toward retirement goals, perhaps adding a few tools and eliminating those that aren't producing results. Here's some retirement advice to keep in mind.

Related: Year in Review: 31 Big Retirement Trends of 2019

Define What Retirement Means for You
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Define What Retirement Means for You

If joining the FIRE (Financial Independence, Early Retirement) movement is on your retirement agenda, take steps now to make it a reality. The first: Defining what you want your retirement to look like. Do you plan to spend every day playing tennis? Or globetrotting? Whatever the answer, it's important to know how much that lifestyle will cost. You'll want to begin identifying ways to cut costs and increase income, perhaps even starting a side hustle.

Research Options for Retiring Abroad
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Identify the Perfect Place to Retire Domestically
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Identify the Perfect Place to Retire Domestically

Even if you don't plan to pack up and move to another country, relocating may still be worth considering. There are many places off the beaten path in the United States that have a great deal to offer, including budget-friendly real estate, lower taxes, and abundant outdoor activities. From Nampa, Idaho, to Falmouth, Massachusetts, there are plenty of retirement-friendly options right here.

Short RV Trips
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Dodge Financial Ruin During Retirement
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Dodge Financial Ruin During Retirement

For those on the brink of saying goodbye to the 9-to-5 grind, there's a variety of important steps to take to ensure you have enough money. These efforts include conducting a self-audit, which involves reviewing expenses and finding ways to spend less; developing a monthly budget; and maintaining a detailed understanding of your cash flow.

Pare Down Your Costs
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Explore Retirement Communities
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Explore Retirement Communities

If money is no object during retirement, there are plenty of deluxe retirement communities across the country waiting to cater to you. From Alabama to California and Hawaii and everywhere in between, there are luxury retirement enclaves where the amenities range from five-star dining to chauffeured social outings and more. But don't worry if those upscale options are a bit out of your price range — there are still plenty of affordable retirement communities to consider.

Related: 25 American Cities With the Most Seniors

RV For Sale
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Get Your RV Ready to Roll

About 1 million Americans have chosen to spend retirement in an RV on the open road — for at least part of each year. If this is what you have in mind, choose an RV wisely; the initial purchase can be a much as $1 million if you decide to go big. Before buying, shop around and think realistically about your needs. You'll also want to prepare for the living expenses associated with the lifestyle. And don't forget to factor in gas costs.

Vacations
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Take a Cruise

One of the latest retirement developments involves seniors living at sea on commercial cruise ships. This way of life ranges from living part-time or seasonally aboard cruise ships to spending years on end sailing around the world. The cruise industry has taken notice, and now there are even resident-only ships developed to cater to retirees. If this lifestyle sounds intriguing, it may be worth taking a test cruise and talking to a financial planner about whether you could make it work.

Downsize
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Downsize

Don't forget, your post-work years should be as simple as possible, allowing you to live freely (particularly if you plan to live on a cruise ship or in an RV). An old job, family expenses, belongings, or other living expenses can be complications, so if retirement is near, this may be a good time to start getting rid of unneeded items and shrinking your financial responsibilities. This could include downsizing your home, eliminating lingering debt, and even giving away clothes or other personal belongings you no longer need.

Retirement Portfolio
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Reorganize Your Retirement Portfolio

If you're five years or less away from retirement, it's a good idea to start thinking about market risk in your retirement portfolio, says Michael Morgan, president of TBS Retirement Planning. "If your portfolio is fully invested in the market, you're at the mercy of Wall Street and a market correction could have a negative impact on your retirement," Morgan explains. "As you get closer to retirement, think about having a balance in your portfolio so that some of your money is protected from market declines."

Begin Tax Planning Now
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Begin Tax Planning Now

Be aware, the clock is ticking, Morgan says. "We have only five years left before the current tax rates expire," he says. "After that, most people believe tax rates are sure to go up and could have a negative impact on your retirement. We have a window of opportunity with the current rates, so tax planning should start now." Actions to take now include converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, so you pay taxes under current historically low tax rates. "Once money is in a Roth, future distributions can be tax free to anyone who receives them," Morgan says.

Related: How to Sock Away $50 a Month Into an IRA

Prepare for Longevity
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Prepare for Longevity

Whichever road and lifestyle you choose in retirement, longevity is becoming one of the major financial challenges retirees face — people continue to live longer. "You could easily spend over one-fourth of your life in retirement," Morgan says. With that in mind, it's a good idea to talk with a financial professional this year and make sure you have a retirement plan in place that will provide you a lasting source of income.

Banish Regrets
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Banish Regrets

Many retirees have regrets when they reach retirement, with some of the most common being waiting too long to start saving, failing to plan for a spouse's death, and needing to claim Social Security too early — which can have a dramatic impact on how much money you ultimately get each month. Careful planning can help ensure none of this happens to you.

Don't Wait Too Long to Retire
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Don't Wait Too Long to Retire

Finally, it should go without saying that retirement is meant to be enjoyed. Make sure you don't hang on too long in the workforce. If you're financially able, take the time to step away from the grind and use your retirement years to learn new things and have new experiences. As some experts note, remaining in the workforce too long will deplete the one resource you can't get back — time.

Related: 13 Retirement Mistakes to Avoid