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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?

5. Consolidate debt and refinance your house.

If you've been leaning on credit cards to make ends meet, it's time to get out of hock. "Look at refinancing your debt and paying off your highest-expense debt," says Cortazzo. "If somebody has a credit card balance of $2,000, and they're paying 10 percent interest on the credit card, and they've got $10,000 sitting in their checking account, they need to write the $2,000 check to pay off the credit card. Paying all that interest on a balance when you have the cash doesn't make sense."

With interest rates at an all-time low, refinancing your home can reduce your mortgage and also provide cash to consolidate debt. But boomers who have seen their credit rating drop during hard times should be forewarned: Refinance money is not easy to come by if your credit scores are subpar. Get a copy of your credit report first.

6. Be creative.

Playing catch-up requires a proactive approach. Never thought you'd take a part-time service job? Think about it, especially if your spouse is unemployed. Companies like Starbucks and Lowe's offer health plans for regular part-time workers.

A new work paradigm that includes some creative moonlighting (starting a modest business from home, for example) can help compensate for a shortfall in projected retirement needs. "Everyone has something that they can do — maybe you've wanted a day care center, taking care of children," says planner Botsford.

Advisers encourage back-to-work boomers to insist their kids take out any college loans in their own name. Also, college-bound students and their parents should apply for financial aid even if they don't consider their household to be truly impoverished. The federal government gives low-interest loans to students based on need. And if your child has excellent grades and SAT scores, or a particular talent or athletic skill, he or she may qualify for merit money.

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