How to Check Up on Your Retirement Finances

You need to regularly examine your retirement planning progress.

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You know the drill for spring cleaning: dig up everything you have and either throw it away or keep it. If what you pick up is broken, fix it and vow to use it from this point forward. Doing so helps keep your house clutter free and it reminds you that there are actually plenty of useful items still lying around the house. You can spring clean your retirement assets too. Here’s how to check up on your retirement finances.

[Bookmark the U.S. News Retirement site for more planning ideas and advice.]

A mortgage checkup. Your house is very likely a huge chunk of your overall wealth. Aim to have your mortgage at least mostly paid off by the time you retire. But just eliminating the mortgage isn't enough, because many things can go wrong that would necessitate major repairs. Potential problems like failing roofs, foundation problems, or even bedbugs can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Sometimes these are unavoidable problems. But by checking up on your house regularly, you can get a clearer picture of how housing wealth fits into your retirement plan.

Rebalance your portfolio. You need to rebalance your investment portfolio regularly. The easiest way is to set a schedule, whether it's every 3, 6, or 12 months, and just get it done. Also, develop a plan to slowly tone down the level of risk in your portfolio.

[See 6 Retirement Income Streams You Need.]

Appraise your valuables. Collectibles and other stuff that you own that could be sold to help finance retirement should be taken into account. If you are an avid collector, you probably know the value of your collection. Online auction sites make it easy and manageable to get a bit of money out of possessions you no longer need. If you keep selling old stuff you might realize that you don't need nearly the amount of space you have in your house, making your decision to downsize much easier.

[See The 100 Best Mutual Funds for the Long Term.]

Evaluate your lifestyle. Many of us don't take enough time to examine our own life choices. As a result, we slowly spend more money than we really need to. We eat unhealthy foods just because it's quick and easy and we neglect our friendships just because other chores always get in the way. Spending a bit of time to think about how you are living your life will not only help free up your time, but doing so can probably make you happier too.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.