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4 smart money moves for near-retirees

If you want to be financially secure, you need advice that’s tailored to your own situation. With that premise in mind, we’re looking at what people approaching retirement can do to shore up their finances and make the most of the resources they have while they’re still working.

Getting ready to retire
If you’re in the final years of your career, you’re having to deal with tougher challenges than your parents and grandparents faced. In past decades, a career often meant sticking with one employer for life and then receiving a healthy pension to provide you with sufficient income to last the rest of your life.

Now, though, most near-retirees don’t have the luxury of a final salary pension, and with many not having saved enough for retirement, they’re dealing with the prospect of trying to hold on to their jobs in a tougher economic environment.

You may not have as much time as you’d like to fix your finances. But here are four ideas to use to get started on the right path.

Idea 1: Save more than you think possible.
If you’ve been able to your  job, you’re probably at or near your peak earning potential. Yet as adult children finish university and leave home, and as your mortgage approaches final payoff, you should have fewer demands on your money.

That sets the stage for immense savings. Although typical guidance says to save 10% to 15% of your salary, there’s no reason you can’t go much higher. For some high-income earners, saving as much as half of your salary isn’t impossible, and don’t forget that you may be able to save up to $25,000 per year on a tax-favoured basis through a salary sacrifice arrangement (including your employer’s contribution).

Idea 2: Don’t hit the brakes on your investing.
Typically, financial advisors tell those approaching retirement to cut back on stocks and emphasise bonds and other fixed-income investments. Yet with term deposits only paying around 4%, a longer-term approach may requires some more aggressive investments.

Certainly, dividend investments can be smart. But focusing on value is also a good bet, because you still have time to ride out long periods of undervaluation.

U.S. tech powerhouse stocks like Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) , Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and even Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are all great examples of stocks trading at very low multiples yet have an attractive combination of growth potential, dividend income, and stability.

For Apple, future growth could make current multiples look absolutely ridiculous. Intel and Microsoft face different challenges from the decline of the PC, but with solid franchises that will be slow to decay even in a worst-case scenario, their income potential is highly valuable.

Idea 3: Consider a retirement trial run.
If you’ve worked nonstop for 30 years or more, retirement may seem like a dream. But if you don’t know how you’ll spend time and acclimatise to the big changes involved, it can turn into a nightmare.

If your finances allow it, consider looking at phasing into retirement by cutting back on work hours or finding job-sharing arrangements. That way, you’ll be able to evaluate what you really want to do with your time after you retire.

Idea 4: Get rid of debt once and for all.
The last thing you need as you approach retirement is a big debt monkey on your back. If you’ve incurred credit card or other high-interest debt, get it paid down now while you still have your pay cheque to help you. Otherwise, on a limited income, you may find yourself unable to get out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself.

The Australian Financial Review says “good quality Australian shares that have a long history of paying dividends are a real alternative to a term deposit.” Get “3 Stocks for the Great Dividend Boom” in our special FREE report. Click here now to find out the names, stock symbols, and full research for our three favourite income ideas, all completely free!

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Dan Caplinger, originally appeared on fool.com.

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