Love your age: How to best prepare for retirement

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - If you're 50, you have probably thought about retirement at least a few times, but what do your finances look like?

Some financial planners say by your 50's you should have four to five times your annual salary saved; but the reality is most people don't. If that's you, there are five things you need to do. 

If you are just starting to save (or you know you haven't saved enough at this point) there are five things you need to do.

If you imagine your days of retirement filled with fancy vacations and cruises, living out your days in your dream home, certified financial planner Richard Rosso with Real Investment Advice says you may have to tweak that. 

“That doesn't mean I can't have a fulfilling retirement,” Rosso said. “I might just have to redefine it.”

Rosso says people might consider leaving their high stress, full-time job but continue working in some capacity.

“Working longer has also got some health benefits for staying social but you might do something that is more flexible and is more part-time,” Rosso said.

Next Rosso said to cut expenses so you can turbo-charge your savings.

That could mean downsizing and move to a smaller home or apartment. If you own your home outright, consider using it to bring in extra income when you retire with a reverse mortgage or home equity conversion mortgage.

People should also start investigating how much they will get from Social Security when they start collecting it.

“People are saying, ‘I don't care about Social Security, it's not going to be there,’” Rosso said. “Yes, you're in your fifties, Social Security is going to be there. So guess what you need to do? You need to make sure you're taking the most out of it.”

Rosso says waiting to collect a monthly Social Security check until 70 versus 67 years old will give you about eight percent more a month.

Studies show healthcare is a huge drain on expenses as people get older, which is why taking care of themselves is the fifth thing people need to do.

Working out regularly, getting check-ups and eating healthy will keep you out of the doctor's office. 

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