A decade from retirement? Behind in planning? Five things you can do now to get ready

You are five to 10 years away from retirement and worry that you are behind in planning. You probably are.

You are certainly not alone. A third of Americans between 55 and 65 have saved nothing for retirement, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.

The good news is that if you act now, you can do some catching up. The worst thing to do is sit back and do nothing.

So what can you do? A few tips:

1. Figure out where you are in retirement preparation.

“The first thing is you need to know, am I ahead of the game or behind?” said Tim McGrath of Riverpoint Wealth Management in Chicago. “What do I need to save? You are in the seventh or eighth inning of a ballgame, and this is your last opportunity to cut expenses and save where you can, because this is it.”

2. Plan your budget for what your retirement looks like.

“In the first years of retirement, your spending will be pretty active,” said Michael Miroballi of BMO Harris Financial Advisors. “Think about how you want to spend. All the things you are saving for, you get those done early. Then you begin to slow down.

“Older people have health issues, and in later years, they become more prominent,” he said. “Think with who and where you want to spend retirement. Think about the qualitative things. Do I want to do volunteer work? Do I want to retire? I may retire from my job but not retire from work.

“Paint a retirement picture five to 10 years in advance,” he said. “That lets you know what you want to save for and the contingencies you want to save for.”

3. Visit your HR department now.

“Many individuals never, ever go and have a conversation with their benefits department,” said Aaron Smith of AW Smith Financial in Glen Allen, Va. “I’m talking mostly about individuals who work for a corporation. They don’t talk about what their benefits will provide for them when they retire. If they have a pension, how is that going to be implemented?”

I worked for a major corporation for many years. There were several instances when groups of people 50 and older were leaving at the same time. There was a mad rush to the human resources department and not a lot of time.

Click here to read the rest of this article.