02/18/2013 08:07 EST

Retirement Changes: 6 Keys To Successfully Adjusting Your Plans


As the needs of the workplace change, economic stability remains uncertain and some adult children move back home, retirement is no longer a given that's guaranteed the moment you turn 65. Now, the way we are retiring is different for everyone and it's more a scaling back, or a gradual transition, rather than a one-off trigger pull when you reach a certain age.

Since retirement has changed, how you plan for it must change as well. Your personal retirement strategy should ultimately depend on whether you're several years from retirement, you have it in your sights, or you’re due to retire right now. So here, just for you, we present the definitive keys to successfully and happily retiring at any age.

6 Keys to Retiring At Any Age. Slideshow text follows for mobile readers.

6 Keys to Retiring At Any Age

Make A Financial Plan

Turns out, 68% of pre-retirees don't have a financial plan, but you won't be among them because you will have one. If retirement is still years away, it's the perfect time to make a financial plan because you get the benefit of time to save money. As part of the plan, you should decide what kind of retirement lifestyle you want and figure out how much it's going to cost. Maybe you want to travel, volunteer or work part-time in another field? A plan can help you reach these goals and as your retirement fund grows, it can also help you stay the course.

Re-Evaluate The Plan As Retirement Draws Closer

Sure you should start planning for your retirement while you're still at the top of your earning potential, but that doesn't mean that, as time passes, you shouldn't meet with a financial planner to reevaluate that plan. You should make sure you’re still on track or readjust your plan if your retirement goals are not what they were five or 10 years ago. At this point, you still have time to adjust your retirement strategy, which may mean increasing your savings, changing your investment strategy or working part-time before you retire completely.

When Retirement Is A Reality, Spend Smart

Once retirement is imminent, it's time to find the most effective way to spend what you've accumulated over the years. You need to ensure that your money will last as long as you need it to, through sufficient investment growth, you can still support the lifestyle you want and pay as little tax as possible while you're at it.

Set-Up Contingency Plans And Long-Term Care

Once retirement sets in, it's important to plan for old age either through your continued savings or a long-term care insurance policy. Other potential emergency contingencies, such as disaster or sickness, also need to be planned for. This is also when you can start thinking about the legacy you want to leave your children or grandchildren. However, if insurance policies factor in to any of these plans, make sure they are in place well before your retirement because the older you are, your health and other factors could cause you to be uninsurable at the time of retirement.

Figure Out Your Retirement Objectives And Set A Path To Reach Them

This seems like a simple plan on the surface, but actually it is deceptively difficult. According to the available statistics, 29% of retirees don't have a financial plan. However, it's never too late to implement one, and 40% of retirees wish they had done more to plan and prepare for their retirement.

Visit A Financial Advisor

All of these steps in your retirement strategy may be a tad overwhelming for the average person, which is why it's a good idea to visit a competent financial advisor who can help you develop a financial plan, make sure you're saving enough money for the lifestyle you want, assess your investment strategy and keep you on track year after year.