In Your 50s

REVIEW YOUR REAL ESTATE. Consider whether you will stay or sell your primary residence. Should you decide to sell, invest in the improvements needed to make it marketable.

STAY WITH STOCKS. Even though you're getting ready to retire, your money isn't. Keep your portfolio focused on equities. That's the best way to make it last.

DO A BENEFITS CHECK. Look at your company's retirement policies to make sure you qualify for early retirement and if you're entitled to medical benefits. Talk to Social Security about how much you will be able to collect and when.

CUT THE CORD. Don't get into a co-dependent financial relationship with your kids, providing cash gifts or downpayments for homes.

DEVISE A TAX STRATEGY. There's an art to taking money out of tax-deferred accounts. You might find opportunities to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, which can ultimately save you a lot of money. Get thee to a good tax adviser.

By Lauren Young

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