Question: In a recent post you had strategies for strengthening your retirement picture for people in their 50’s and 60’s. What about those of us in our 20’s to 40’s? Maxine, Tenafly, NJ

Answer: Maxine, I didn’t mean to leave you and the other youngsters out. Here’s a checklist to get you on track in 2010 as well!

1. If you haven't started already, open an IRA and/or fund a 401k. These are generally the years when it's toughest to scrape together the cash for investing, but starting young and having decades for tax deferred growth could provide a nice six or seven figure portfolio in retirement. At a minimum, save enough to get your full company match.

2. Since you will likely have 2-4 decades before you'll need this money, consider investing 70%-80% in equities/stocks. Do not be too conservative with your allocation.

3. Remember that your ability to earn an income is your greatest asset so go back to school, continue your education, network and do your best to make sure your job/company/career offer growth potential to carry you into your 60's and 70's. To navigate the employment landscape you will need to be nimble, be constantly learning and continually reinventing yourself to stay employable.

4. Like people in their 50 and 60’s, you too should reduce and pay down your non-deductible debt such as credit cards and auto loans. Try to be debt free, perhaps with your mortgage being the only exception, by the time you retire.

5. Finally, if you haven’t done so already, meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to have basic estate documents drawn up including wills, health care proxies, living wills and powers of attorney. Additionally, make sure you have adequate life, disability, homeowners, and umbrella liability insurance to protect you and your family.

Bill’s Bottom-line: Good luck AND Happy New Year! Don’t party too late!!

Author's Bio: 

Bill Losey, CFP®, America's Retirement Strategist®, coaches women and couples nationwide with their retirement planning and investment portfolios. He is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional and also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. Bill can be reached online at

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