A Wachovia survey reported that more than half of female respondents "feel worried" when they think about being prepared for retirement. Below is a list of a few things you can do to ensure that your retirement years are the best—and least stressful—they can be.

Aim to Own Your Home Outright
If you pay off your mortgage before retirement, you take a huge financial load off your shoulders. You also become eligible to take out a reverse mortgage once you turn 62. Visit FTC.gov to learn more (type "reverse mortgage" into the search field).

Say Yes to Your Company's Retirement Bonuses
If your employer offers a 401(k) or 403(b) with a matching contribution, invest enough to collect the maximum annual match.

Save on Insurance
Increase the deductible on your auto insurance to at least $1,000. That can save you 30 percent or more on your premium, and using the same insurer for your house and car can take up to 15 percent off. Once your kids are grown and you know that you're completely healthy, consider canceling your life insurance policy. (If the sole purpose of your policy was to provide for the kids if something happened to you while they were young, you no longer need the coverage when they've finished school and are self-supporting.) You get the idea: Look everywhere you can to cut a little bit from your expenses. It will all add up to a meaningful sum.

Retire Without Credit Card Debt
The less money you owe, the less income you'll need and the less you'll have to save for tomorrow.

Take Social Security
The age at which you're eligible for full benefits ranges from 65 to 67, depending on the year you were born. But everyone can begin collecting a reduced benefit at age 62. That can help with any cash flow problems early in retirement. Find out more at SSA.gov by searching for "age reduction."
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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