Non-Financial Ways to Improve Your Retirement

These free strategies will increase your chances of a comfortable retirement.

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Those who are aiming to retire comfortably are always trying to figure out new ways to grow their nest egg. However, picking great investments is only one component of a solid retirement plan. Here are some retirement preparations to make in addition to building a retirement fund:

Help your parents better manage their money. Even if you won’t need to help financially support your parents, money matters are an important topic that deserves discussion. Being able to openly discuss the details of your finances will strengthen the bonds between the two generations. Aim to assist and not dictate, because this is often a delicate matter.

Petition for a lower-cost retirement plan. Especially if you work for a small business, your 401(k) may contain high-cost funds that are eating away at your investment returns. Ask your employer if the company might be willing to add a few low-cost investment options to the plan. Most people don’t try this because they are afraid of the consequences. But remember that the plan administrators and the owners of the company all participate in the 401(k). So any expense ratio reduction you find will also benefit them. If this conversation goes well, everybody will benefit from lower fees.

Get into the habit of reading. Make it a priority to allot some time to read. Reading regularly increases your knowledge and may even give your written language skills a boost. Visit your local library to save money on books now and in retirement.

Write down what really makes you happy. Create a lifelong goals list so you can begin to work toward what really makes you happy. Perhaps you will find that you actually don't need as much money as you thought, because everything you want to do isn't really that expensive. If your preferred activities don’t cost much, maybe you can retire much sooner than planned. This will also help you to decide if you want to travel to exotic destinations around the world while you are young and more energetic, or put off your travels until retirement.

Get into shape. Everybody knows they need to eat a balanced diet and exercise, but how many people really take the necessary care to follow through with a plan? No matter what you do, you will age. But you can significantly improve your quality of life if you are in shape as you approach retirement. You won’t get to enjoy your retirement years if you are in poor health and have no energy to do anything. You will find that your health is much more important than anything money can buy.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site that shares money moves you can make to significantly increase your chances of having a comfortable retirement. He likes to share simple changes that anyone can make, such as picking the best online savings account and figuring out whether a 0 percent balance transfer credit card makes sense.