Eularee Smith
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A retirement plan you can live with

Think of retirement like a Google map. You are here and retirement is your destination. Now start dropping pins. One of my pin drops is a debt free life. Although I have always lived well within my means, most of us have some kind of debt we drag with us through the decades. Finding a way to reduce and eliminate that debt is essential in getting to your destination.

“The happiest clients are the ones who go into retirement completely debt-free, including the mortgage,” says financial planner Bill Losey, author of Retire in a Weekend.

In our 50’s we need to consolidate and trim the fat, so to speak. Locking in lower rates can reduce your payments but making an extra payment can change a 30 year mortgage into a 23 year mortgage. It is important to keep saving for retirement, so don’t let one outweigh the other.

Saving an extra $200 a month in your 50’s at 8% interest could multiply to $100,000 in your 70’s. Take advantage of the boost to your contribution limit for your 401K or IRA.

Using credit cards can pay off with reward points or cash back bonuses. But don't get caught in the trap of racking up debt just to get a few airline miles. Choose your card rewards carefully but even more important, use the card wisely. Emergencies, large purchases or tracking business expenses can make the cash back rewards pay off, rather than bury you alive. Do the math, think twice before you swipe, and pay off the balance each month. 

Start making your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. Make a plan. Network. Use your social and business contacts to fuel the dream that can take shape in retirement.

Make a plan to pay down debt, build up savings, and work toward a healthy, wealthy and wiser retirement. 

Images: Flickr image by Ryanne Lai

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