5 things you should do before you retire

Many of us dream about our eventual retirement, when we’ll close the office door and have all the free time we want to do whatever we want. But don’t make the mistake of pushing off these five things until you finally retire:

Traveling

Why not make plans to go on that long-awaited vacation now? Travel is easier when you are younger — and it’ll probably be cheaper, since the rates for airfares, cruises and hotel rooms are likely to go up, not down.

“The younger you are, the more you can bend in an airline seat to sleep, the more you can run between terminals, the more you can handle meals off schedule,” says Julie Sturgeon, owner of Curing Cold Feet Travel Agency in Indianapolis.

She suggests doing anything that is easy to say, but not so easy to do, as you get older. “That includes renting a car and driving through the Italian countryside, skiing in the Alps and traveling around the world,” says Sturgeon.

She and her husband, Ron, recently took a nine-day vacation to Rome. “We picked independent day tours. We got on the train one day and headed up to Pisa and spent another day in Capri near Naples. We walked 10 miles around the city, figured out subway systems and in general had complete freedom over our itinerary,” says Sturgeon. Total cost: around $ 8,000.

Living on a reduced budget

Robert Delamontagne, the retired author of “The Retiring Mind: How to Make the Psychological Transition to Retirement,” suggests creating a budget that would reflect your lower retirement income — and then live within your future means.

“Run the numbers. Have a realistic perspective on cash flow, because you may have to make some significant changes,” says Delamontagne.

One way to trim expenses, especially if the children are out of the nest and costly home maintenance is taking over your weekends, is selling your oversize home and moving to a smaller, more efficient place rather than waiting until retirement. Not only can this slash your housing costs now, it’ll free up cash for you when you finally do retire.

Getting exercise

Incorporating an exercise program of at least 30 minutes a day now could reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and hypertension. This can then help you be healthier in retirement, which would mean lower-than-otherwise medical expenses.

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