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.
Granted, most people don't relocate in retirement. Only about 6 percent of people over age 45 swapped places in 2005, according to the Census Bureau, and most of them stayed in the same state. But if you are going to take the plunge, be sure you like the location before relocating, as moving carries a considerable expense of its own.
You can enter the retirement criteria important to you to create a personalized list of Best Places to Retire at usnews.com/retiresearch.