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The Back-to-Work Boomer Financial Recovery Guide

Did your nest egg take a beating when you were out of work?

3. Don't splurge — and keep saving.

When those first paychecks start flowing, you'll be tempted to loosen the reins and splurge. Resist: It's time to separate wants from needs. Automatic monthly services — magazine subscriptions, pay-TV services, cellphone bills, Netflix — all add up.

Boomers should also reevaluate their insurance needs. You may have taken out life insurance when your children were young so they'd be taken care of if something happened. If you can, consider cutting a $500,000 policy down to $150,000 or $200,000. Just make sure it's enough to cover your remaining liabilities.

This cost-cutting goes hand in hand with saving as much as you can. Your 50s, after all, are supposed to be a time of peak earnings, a last run to build your nest egg. If you're back at work, sign up for any 401(k) or retirement plan your new employer offers and maximize your contribution.

4. Review your investment strategy.

If your net worth has taken a nosedive, you might be tempted to take on more risk. Be careful. Think about transferring some of your assets into annuities and companies that promise growth and cash payout over time.

If you pay someone to manage your portfolio, look for savings, if possible. Mark Cortazzo, a planner with MACRO Consulting Group in Parsippany, N.J., and founder of Flat Fee Portfolios, says reducing investment advisory fees and paying a flat fee can help you retire earlier than people who are billed a percentage each quarter on their portfolios. People with accounts under $1 million can find high-quality asset management for half a percent or less, he says.

Most important: Don't be afraid to keep investing. Over the long term, says Sue Romaine, vice president of wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Sherman Oaks, Calif., the stock market is "the only place where you can make up the ground you've lost. You can't save your way out of this if you're in your mid-50s."

Next page: Consolidate your debt and ... get creative? »

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