Well we’re a few weeks into 2014 and wondering how most of you are doing with your retirement goals and resolutions for this year. If you’re among the millions of Americans that made one or more, what we’d like is that you become the 8% that actually reach your goals and keep your resolutions. Have a look below at some tips and advice that we’ve put together to do just that. Enjoy.

We talk about this often here on our blog but if you haven’t created a monthly budget based on your current expenses yet, you probably haven’t created a budget for your retirement yet either. A normal budget will help you to keep your regular finances in order throughout the year while a retirement budget will help you to anticipate the lifestyle changes that, depending on your age, may or may not be coming relatively soon. Changes like living and a different State, moving to a smaller house, driving a smaller car (or getting rid of one car) and so forth. All of these will affect the amount of money you need to live once retired and should be considered now before that actually occurs.

Speaking of moving to a smaller house, if you don’t plan to retire in the State you’re living in now, it’s time to start doing some research on property and income taxes in the area of the country that you are thinking about moving to. Looking into purchasing a home or possibly renting is something you should put on the agenda as well. If you live in one of the most expensive states like New York, New Jersey or California, moving to a different state in retirement could just save you thousands of dollars a year.

Depending on your age right now, when you wish to retire and what age you can expect to realistically live, you can then estimate how much money you actually will need in order to sustain you through your “golden years”. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it should be as specific as possible so that you can look at the numbers and decide what you need to have now, rather than later. Figuring it out is a simple as determining how much money you need per month, multiplying by 12 and then multiplying by the number of years you expect to be retired. (The number might be a shocker so have a shot of whiskey on hand just in case.)

Sitting down with your insurance agent and determining if your insurance plans are sufficient as well as looking at long-term care insurance is not only a good idea but actually quite important. The reason; long-term care happens to be the single largest retirement expense for the average consumer. It costs thousands and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars and if you’re not insured correctly could ruin you financially at a time when you are unable to continue working and make more money. Making sure that you are adequately covered is vitally important.

These are just some of the basic things that you need to do as you approach retirement. Of course there are others like determining if your investment risk strategy should be changed, figuring out how to keep your taxes low once you start using your retirement money and lowering your lifestyle costs as much as possible. There’s never a better time than the present to start planning for these things and estimating what your costs are going to be during retirement. Frankly, your numbers can always be changed as your situation changes as well as your investment strategy, insurance plans and so forth.

The most important thing is to simply have a plan and update it when necessary. The more planning that you do ahead of time, the more comfortable lifestyle you’ll have once your retirement actually begins. Of course if you have any questions about retirement planning or personal finance in general, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to give you answers and advice.