Retirement is one of those big milestones we mark in life. However, getting there is more of a journey than an event. On your way to retirement, it is a good idea to have small goals that can help you along to a successful retirement. While there are a number of mini-milestones you should attempt to reach on your way to retirement, here are 3 goals that can be especially helpful as you set up a prosperous retirement:
1. Pay Off Consumer Debt
Consumer debt is costly. You are paying interest, which takes money out of your pocket, and you have saddled yourself with obligations. It is best to be completely free of consumer debt when you retire so that you can have simpler finances in retirement — and fewer drains on your money.
Look at your debt situation, and your budget, and try to make a plan to pay off your consumer debt. This includes credit cards, auto loans, and even student loans. If you have medical bills and other obligations, consider these as well.
2. Pay Off Your Mortgage
Not only should your consumer debt be paid off by the time you retire, but your mortgage debt should be paid off as well. One of the best goals you can have is to be completely debt free by the time you retire. Consider buying a modest home that you can afford. If possible, you can refinance to a shorter loan term if there is money in the budget to do so.
While having a mortgage payment is not as bad as paying consumer debt (the interest is lower and you get a tax break), it is still an obligation. Having your home paid off is a good way to ensure that your finances are as unencumbered as possible. Additionally, if you run into trouble, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is available for you to tap.
3. Cultivate Alternative Income
While it is important to invest for the long term and build your nest egg, you can also be cultivating alternative income. This way, you create income streams that can last in retirement, supplementing the nest egg you have built up through your retirement accounts. Alternative income streams can be a good way to help you diversify your income sources as well. That way, if one of the income sources you were counting shows signs of trouble, you have others to fall back on.