For most people over the age of 50, retirement is an important goal. Today more than ever, workers and investors are concerned where to invest for retirement and how to protect their assets. According to recent surveys, these are the 3 most important concerns today: 1. Health – Did you know 87% of women believe their health care costs in retirement will grow faster than their retirement income? Costs of health care are skyrocketing while coverage is declining. Increasing gaps exist between where insurance coverage stops and Medicare begins. Life expectancies are lengthening, which is positive, as long as there is quality of life. 2. Money – Retirement account values have dramatically declined and so have home values. There are fewer guaranteed retirement plans and 64% of women are concerned they may run out of money before they die. People feel pressured by higher costs and lower retirement balances. Interest rates on savings accounts are near 0%. With personal income stagnant, the cost of living rising, and a weakened economy, people are rightfully concerned. 3. Debt – Fully 30% of retirees report debt is a problem. This is a new issue as debt has not been a problem for retirees in the past. The overall cost of living has increased more than retirement incomes, causing a buildup of debt on credit cards. Here are some strategies to start thinking and talking about with your partner to address your particular issues: 1. Start saving now – shoot for 10% or more of your gross income every month. Have it automatically drafted from your checking to a savings account. You can’t build wealth without saving money, so this is a “have to do”, not a “nice to do.” 2. Contribute to your retirement plan and take advantage of company match – don’t leave “free” money from your employer on the table. 3. Keep working – Extend your retirement until age 67 or later. 4. Wait until age 65 to collect Social Security to collect maximum benefits (benefits are reduced if you begin to collect at age 62). 5. Downsize your lifestyle – Consider a condo, a less expensive city, or for extreme change needed, even moving to a less expensive city or country. 6. Reduce entertainment – Look for easy places in your budget to do without or to spend smarter. Eat out less, eat at home more often. 7. Generate income from a hobby or skill – I like the idea of making more $ rather than spending less, so look for ideas to generate additional income through a hobby or skill. Explore how to use the internet to generate passive income and/or generate multiple streams of income.* 8. Take care of your health – Lose weight, get off medications, eat healthier, exercise daily. 9. Have a plan for your retirement needs and expenses – Estimate what your retirement costs will be and what your potential shortfall is. 10. Take responsibility – Don’t expect to be “rescued”, make a list of what you can do to take positive steps now. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. 11. Don’t buy a new car – Every new car cuts about $250,000 off your retirement fund over your lifetime! Buy cars a few years old in good condition with low miles. 12. Pay attention to investment trends – Don’t assume you can always buy and hold as in the past. You may need to become more proactive. *While most of these strategies deal with having “less”, I like the strategy that creates more income so you can have “more”. It’s important to stop thinking in the old business model of “work hard for a paycheck, then retire.” How about “work less hard by following your talents and skills and using the automation of the internet to market your talents and skills worldwide, even after you’re retired?” For the first time, it’s possible to create a part-time income online to supplement your retirement income. Stop thinking the “old” way and start thinking about the possibilities that technology has made possible to have an abundant retirement!