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An increasing number of older Americans are worried about makingends meet as they approach their golden years. The recession hasseverely impacted many nest eggs, and with it, plans forretirement. Add to this the rising cost of health care and the factthat many people older than 55 are not sure how much they need tosave to maintain their standard of living, and the prospect ofretiring seems farther away than it should for many.

Whether you plan on working for several more years or willretire shortly, meeting with a financial planner is your best betin strategizing and readjusting your budget and portfolio. In themeantime, here are some general tips (ranging from cutting down onspending to reviewing lifeinsurance) that you can follow to reach retirement sooner andenjoy it better:

* While nearly one in five have withdrawn retirement assets topay off credit card debt and make mortgage payments, experts saythat should be a last resort. Do everything you can to avoidtapping into your retirement savings – that nest egg is moreimportant than ever.

* If your retirement funds are not going to allow you tomaintain your current standard of living, consider retiring lateror working part time after you retire. For many, a part-time jobafter retirement not only brings in extra cash but also providessocial and learning opportunities.

* For those considering moving to another area with a lower costof living, much depends on if you can sell your home for the amountof money you need to make the move worthwhile. If not, it willprobably make sense to wait until the housing market turnsaround.

* An obvious strategy is to cut unnecessary expenses from yourbudget. While many are living paycheck to paycheck, others haveroom in their budget to scale back discretionary spending eachmonth. Cutting back on just a few monthly expenses each month will,in just a few years, result in significant savings if you investthat money wisely.

* It’s important to become informed about all possible taxbenefits. More than one in three Americans with access to atax-protected account such as a 401(k) do not participate. Also,many who do have 401(k)s have not transferred them from formeremployer’s accounts. Financial experts recommend consolidating allaccounts so the funds are easier to monitor.

* Regarding your investments, diversification is key, and anexpert will help you decide what percentage of your assets shouldbe separated into what kind of markets.

Don’t forget to ask a life insurancerepresentative to review your coverage. It’s critical to haveadequate life insurance protection in place to safeguard yourfamily against the unexpected. You can call the life insurancerepresentatives at SBLI ( at (888) GET-SBLI(888-438-7254) to request a free coverage review. They will behappy to review your current needs and assess those needs againstyour current coverage.

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