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having enough to retire

is like enjoying a delicious, ice cold beer on a warm summer day. You can relax, kick back and dream about all the things you want to do without a care in the world. But for many there is
no ice cold beer, no warm summer day and far too much to worry about. See what it takes
to avoid this nightmare and to fill that glass with confidence and hope instead of only hops.
Why a beer metaphor?

Actually, it's more a simile than a metaphor. Much like retirement income planning, beer is composed of a recipe that requires focus, refining, discipline and time. Unless a big inheritance is in your future you need to get to work to protect the future you!

Assignment: Make an inventory of your assets and liabilities. List those things of value that belong to you (investments, home equity, bank balances, 401k, IRA, etc.) as well as what you owe (mortgage balance, loans, credit card debt, etc.). If you're not sure where to start, go to "How to Determine Your Net Worth" at to begin counting your chickens.
focus on your health

If you haven't had a check up in God knows when, can't touch your toes or can't even see them when you're standing up, can't climb a flight of stairs without becoming winded then I have good news for you. Congratulations! You're probably all set for retirement since the time may be quite short. But if you're unlucky enough to have a life expectancy of more than 30 years, like many retirees, it's time to get in shape.

Assignment: Go see a doctor and get a check-up! I'm not kidding. There's no sense in thinking about retirement if you're not going to be alive to enjoy it. If you have dependents shame on you! It's selfish not to be there for those who mean the most to you.
Where's your will?

Without a will someone else will choose how to distribute your assets. Or even worse, someone deserving may get nothing while a ne'er-do-well may benefit unfairly. It's human nature to put off dealing with unpleasant matters but writing a will can be a celebratory outpouring of generosity. But you need more than a will. A healthcare proxy will authorize a loved one to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated. and a living will can let others know your preferences.

Assignment: Writing a will and a living will are fairly easy and designating a healthcare proxy and authorizing power of attorney are surprisingly simple. Your best bet is to buy Quicken WillMaker Plus from or just follow the free advice on Nolo's web page. This doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming -- but it does have to be legal.
The time is always now!

The question: When should I begin to save for retirement. The best time to do almost anything -- from learning a new language to fixing a broken chair -- is now. So get to it. No one we know has a time machine, so if you began saving long ago that's great. But if you're just thinking about this seriously for the first time today then get to it.

Assignment: The U.S. Department of Labor can get you started with some very accessible ideas. Go to and look for Top 10 Ways To Prepare For Retirement. This will give you some concepts to consider, useful advice and links to calculators to estimate what you'll have and what you'll need.
the best advice is near

It's vitally important to keep up to date with new developments in retirement income strategies, opportunities and regulation. If you don't want to be left behind then make it a priority to stay informed.

Assignment: Click the READ THIS NOW heading up top and follow the the latest news and information updates. These are culled from the finest sources we know.


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