10 Retirement Resolutions for 2013

Here’s how to improve your retirement finances next year.

Group of sticky yellow adhesive note papers with a list of new year's resolutions on the bulletin board.
By + More

Make a 2012 IRA contribution. While 2013 is too late to make 2012 401(k) contributions, there's still time to make a 2012 IRA contribution that will save you money on your current tax bill. Investors have until April 15, 2013, to make 2012 IRA contributions. Just make sure you tell the financial institution which tax year you want the deposit to count toward.

Downsize your lifestyle. You'll be able to get by with a smaller nest egg if you look for ways to cut costs before and after retirement. You might be able to do this by moving into a smaller house or condo once your children move away, moving to an area with a lower cost of living, or selling a second car you won't need in retirement. "Look for ways to downsize your lifestyle, whether it is your home or your cars," says Vernon. "Anticipate that you might need to reduce your lifestyle and take those steps before your back is against the wall." 

[In Pictures: 10 Places to Buy a Retirement Home for Under $100,000.]

Decide how you will spend your time. Once your retirement finances are in place, you'll also need a plan for how to spend your time in retirement. "Slowly start thinking about what you want your next chapter to be about," says Marci Alboher, vice president of Encore.org and author of The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life. "Then do some experiments to test out your ideas. Volunteer for an organization in your neighborhood. Make some coffee dates with people who have used their retirement in meaningful ways."