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Five things to do to prepare for retirement

Whether you are a Baby Boomer getting ready to retire or a Millennial just getting started in a career, retirement planning is essential. Here are some steps to take to ease your mind about one of the most important phases of life.

Define Your Retirement. How do you want to spend your retirement? List your goals in order of importance and be as specific as you can. For example, instead of "travel," list locations you’d like to travel to. This will help keep you focused on a realistic set of goals, which will make each of them more attainable.

Find Ways to Cut Expenses. Your retirement may be right around the corner or years away. Regardless, saving more now will make you better prepared. Start by listing your bills and expenses - then figure out ways to trim them. Paying off your smallest debts first will empower you to go after your bigger debts.

Open an account and start saving. If your employer offers a 401(k), take advantage of it – especially if they match a percentage (i.e. giving you money for retirement). You can also open your own traditional IRA or Roth IRA. While saving early is important, so is the habit of doing so on an ongoing basis.

Evaluate Your Health. To get the most out of your retirement — and life in general — you want to be as healthy as possible. Schedule checkups and preventative exams before retirement, from an annual physical to teeth cleaning.

Prepare for the Unexpected. Prepare for the unexpected now, and you won't get caught off-guard later. Taking time to consider how you'd pay for both minor and major issues should they arise. Next, take stock of your protection. Do you have enough homeowners and health insurance? If not, now is the time to increase it and put money aside for the unexpected. Preparing now means you won't pay later.