5. Explore second-career options. Many baby boomers are worried about having enough money to finance their retirement years. A quarter of workers in their 50s will want to stay on the job at least two years past the traditional retirement age for financial reasons, according to a survey of 400 employers by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research.
But that doesn't mean employers want older workers—who are often more experienced but also more expensive than their younger counterparts—to stay. The center found that employers are lukewarm about retaining even half of their older workers who want to keep working.
To explore future career options with companies that welcome older workers, you can check out this list of job websites specifically for the 50-plus set.
6. Discuss retirement with your spouse. When two people marry, they join their finances, too. Usually, both parties are better off financially, but it creates the need to talk about money and jointly decide how to budget for retirement. "It's very important to sit down and have an expectation exchange and to have a very frank discussion about money issues," says Nancy Schlossberg, a professor at the University of Maryland and author of Retire Smart, Retire Happy.
Nearly half of working adults say they are in agreement with their spouse or partner about saving for retirement, according to a Harris Interactive and Wall Street Journal survey, but almost one quarter of employed adults have never discussed retirement finances with their significant others. Creating a retirement game plan can get complicated when multiple marriages and children are involved. And women, because they tend to live longer, need to take extra precautions.
7. Plan for the financial transition. Learning to live on a limited fixed income for more years than planned is the most significant financial problem retirees will face, according to Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute. His advice: Sit down for a one-on-one financial planning session with a truly independent adviser. Here you can develop a plan to transition your savings out of your retirement accounts in the most economical way.
8. Write a will . If you die without a will, the state decides how your assets will be passed down, which may or may not agree with your wishes. Anyone who owns a home, has assets, or has minor children should write a will. But 57 percent of Americans don't have one, according to a recent Bankrate survey.
Creating a will can involve expensive visits to lawyers, but those with straightforward financial situations can make one on the cheap using books, downloadable financial software, or Web resources. As part of the process, you should also update the beneficiary forms on all your retirement accounts.
9. Stay healthy. Yes, everyone wants to look and feel healthy. But staying healthy can actually save you money and keep your retirement plan on track. All the usual advice about exercising, eating well, managing chronic conditions, and seeing your doctor for regular checkups applies.
But if you retire before you become eligible for Medicare at age 65, you need to think about healthcare. Only 29 percent of employers with 500 or more employees offered health benefits to early retirees in 2006, according to Mercer. Early retirees often must consider paying for continued coverage under COBRA, shopping for insurance on the open market, or getting a part-time job with benefits to bridge the gap.
Some scientists think that continuing to work, volunteering, or otherwise staying active and engaged can keep you healthier.
10. Pick out a place to retire. Adults planning to relocate after their working years are over typically are most interested in a retirement spot's overall cost of living (92 percent), climate (81 percent), cost of healthcare (76 percent), ease of transportation (69 percent), and proximity to friends and family (49 percent), according to a Longevity Alliance and Harris Interactive survey. And don't forget about libraries, Internet access, outdoor activities, museums, shopping, religious institutions, crime rates, sporting events, and cultural attractions.