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1. Stop avoiding difficult conversations

When it comes to taboo subject matters, death and money are arguably among the most difficult topics to discuss. And, according to research, people are more willing to talk about the former versus the latter.

A surprising 32% of Americans would rather discuss death than money, with only 24% comfortable talking about finance to another person, according to a survey by Empower. In fact, more than 6 in 10 Americans (62%) don’t talk about money with anyone, including their spouse.

The survey also suggested a lot of it might be generational: 56% of millennials and 49% of Gen Z were more open to discussing money situations compared to only 22% of boomers.

This reluctance to talk about money and death among recent (or soon-to-be) retirees is probably why a lot of people fail to plan their estate appropriately.

According to a Caring.com Wills and Estate Planning survey, 34% of Americans don’t have a will at all, which is a 6% decline from 2023.

In addition, the survey also found that 40% of Americans don’t think they have enough assets to even create a will in the first place.

Starting this conversation early, potentially in your 40s or 50s, could help prepare your loved ones for carrying on your legacy in the way that you intended.

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2. Stop neglecting your health

Health care is likely to be a major expense in your retirement. In fact, these expenses could start even before you retire.

According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, the average retired 65-year-old couple will need $315,000 to cover health care expenses. This doesn’t include the cost of long-term care, which can raise the total much higher.

Focusing on your health by changing your nutrition plan, prioritizing exercise and cutting back on stress is a good place to start.

3. Stop taking financial risks

Risky spending and investing habits can sometimes work in your favor when you’re younger.

However, as you approach retirement, your focus should shift to preserving your health, wealth and overall stability.

Avoid taking on more debt in your 50s and 60s. This could also be a good time to sit with an investment planner or financial advisor to see if there’s any risky or volatile assets in your portfolio that could derail your retirement in a few years.

Experimenting with cryptocurrencies and maximizing your tax rebates was probably fine to tackle during your career, but won’t be helpful when you rely on passive fixed income moving forward.

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4. Stop wasting time on the wrong people

You’ve probably made some sacrifices in your life. Perhaps you’ve even spent a few years holding down a job you hated because it was the only way to put food on the table.

Or maybe you’ve spent a significant amount of time away from family; too busy networking with strangers to grow your business or advance your career.

Now, as you approach retirement, these efforts may have diminishing returns. Without this additional workplace baggage you can finally spend time nurturing relationships with those you love most: friends and family.

After all, that’s who you’ll be spending much of your time with once you retire.

5. Stop resisting change

Change is never easy, but retirement can be a sweeping shift to your lifestyle.

According to a survey cited in Forbes, 83% of pre-retirees said they expect to “live their best life” in retirement.

However, of those surveyed, many believed “flexibility” was the key — and that could involve working side gigs directly related to a long-dormant passion project.

As Empower Retirement President and CEO Edmund Murphy III stated in the survey, “People are no longer looking at retirement as the end of something, but rather the beginning of something new. This important shift has changed the way people save for retirement or what they now consider their second act.”

As you approach retirement, take time to consider your daily routine, hobbies, and relationships, and find ways to embrace the changes that will come with this dramatic shift.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.