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Retirement Checklist for 'Two-Digit Midgets' (or Even Three-Digit Midgets)

Communicate: It's important to coordinate retirement plans with your partner and determine how one (or both) of you entering retirement affects your overall finances.

Address debt: Debt can drag down your savings quickly. Work to eliminate as much debt (credit cards, loans, mortgages) as you can.

Evaluate "big ticket" purchases: Delving into your savings for expensive purchases can deplete your portfolio. Think about what big-ticket items you may want in the years ahead and consider the financial impact.

Craft a long-term care insurance plan: It's important for pre-retirees to prepare a plan to pay for long-term care insurance during retirement. Most people buy LTC insurance while they are working only to realize they haven't budgeted for its current and increasing cost during retirement.

Your checklist should also include moves not to make on your retirement checklist. That "biggest mistakes to avoid" portion of the list includes:

Not filling time: You just got done spending about 10 hours a day working, including an average commute. Now you have to fill that time. Don't spend 10 hours a day blowing money on entertainment.

Not being active: Get up off the couch and get busy doing different things, don't just sit around.

Not being patient: You have plenty of time during retirement; you don't have to travel the world in the next 12 months.

Some people never really retire, Rosenthal adds. "They just stop their primary job and then go back to work right away in the same industry and end up working until they can't anymore -- and miss their retirement."

If that's you, add that into your retirement checklist. The good news is that your checklist is dynamic and flexible, just like your future in your post-career years.
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