Through the fog of stress and long-hour days, retirement is not something that regularly comes to mind in your 20s. You have years until you’re 62. There are other things to save for: a new car, a house, bills.

However, those early years are integral to later retirement happiness. Now, as that retirement age draws closer, you start having a nagging feeling in the back of your head that you should have taken that job with a 401K all those years ago.

We want to focus on four necessary steps you need to prepare for retirement at any age, whether it’s ten years away or 40 years.

Calculate What You Need for Retirement

The most critical step of planning for retirement is calculating how much you will need to live comfortably in retirement. First, calculate your total retirement income. This includes your pension, 401K, and the return on investments. Then, take into consideration the expenses that you will have, such as essential bills, living expenses, travel expenses, and any other additional expenses for the life you have envisioned. These two totals will help you determine how much you will need to save before you retire. Remember, it is never too late to start saving.

Keep Your Health in Mind

One thing often ignored in preparing for retirement is the possible health expenses. As we get older, rising health expenses are practically inevitable. While Medicare will cover much of these expenses, long-term care and nonroutine costs are some of the things to keep in mind when creating your retirement budget. It’s also essential to invest in your health by working out, eating right, and having regular medical check-ups to make the most of your retirement.

Minimize Your Debt

Credit card and loan debt is just one more thing that you don’t want to have to worry about in your retirement. Before you retire, be sure that you prioritize minimizing your debt first, so you have one less bill that you have to worry about paying off every month.

When Investing, Be Sure to Diversify

As people save and plan for their retirement, many choose to invest their money through stocks, bonds, or even real estate to make up any additional income they need to retire comfortably. The vital part of this process is to be sure that you are diversifying your investment. This ensures that if there are any downturns in your investments, they will not affect your desired income. Be sure that your investment reflects your financial risk tolerance.

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