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10 Steps to Take So You Can Retire

A new retirement guide for single women provides advice everyone can use

4. Pay Yourself First for Retirement

Put your retirement savings before your kids' or grandkids' college education. They have more time than you do to save for their own future, and can work, take out loans or attend a community college for the first two years. Of course, if you have the excess money to pay for their education, it is a great investment in their future.

See also: Plan now for health costs in retirement

5. Contribute the Max to Your Retirement Savings Program at Work

At a minimum, contribute enough to your 401(k) or other retirement plan to get the maximum employer match available.

6. Consider Where and How You'll Live

If you're living alone, consider a roommate, or downsize to something less expensive. Or move to an area that costs less. This can go a long way toward making your money stretch, both when saving for retirement and when you retire.

7. Be Flexible About Work

You may need to work in retirement, even if it's part-time. Match your retirement lifestyle to your retirement income.

8. Stay Healthy

Many health care costs are related to lifestyle, and we have control over them.

9. Postpone Taking Social Security

Don't take Social Security until you reach your full retirement age or even later, if possible.

10. Rinse and Repeat

Review your financial status on a regular basis, getting professional help if necessary.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. from "The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement," by Jan Cullinane, © 2012 by AARP.

Jan Cullinane is a best-selling author, speaker, and consultant. The excerpts above are based on her AARP/Wiley Book, The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement. Her other books include The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life and Retire Happy!

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