This week I will offer 5 rules, advice for those approaching retirement, to help them enjoy a more anxiety-free time that is for many Americans likely to last decades. Starting from the bottom:

Ready Rule #5: Take Inventory

Whether you are about to retire or are 10 years away, here is a place to start on the road. It's easy to see this one as a no-brainer, since many people already have in their head a number, an estimate of their net worth. The composition of the number will vary from person to person, but here's where my advice gets specific: take inventory not just of your assets but also of your debt, if you have any. This is important because every dollar of debt needs attention and that attention comes from your income. The less debt you have the more your income can attend to something else, something you like better than paying bills. And since this is something you're doing for yourself, include informal obligations you might have. Kids yet to put through school, a pledge to help an elderly parent; these are never contracts but are as important in many families, so keeping those obligations in mind will make your retirement planning more thorough.

Taking inventory of your assets and your obligations is a first step that leads naturally to tomorrow's post: Ready Rule #4: Assess Your Income Sources


(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).