Having 10 years till retirement can seem like a lot of time.  But assessing your situation this early on provides one major benefit – it allows you to make adjustments if you feel like the direction you’re heading in isn’t what’s best for you.

Here are a few things to include in your plan:

Thoroughly assess your current situation

Before you begin, take a good, hard look at the work you have done so far. Have you been prudent with saving and investing for your future? While this may be an unpleasant experience if you haven’t been mindful with your nest egg, it still provides enough time for you to pivot and come up with a new strategy to get you to where you want to be.

Know when you want to retire

When you plan to retire should be a key consideration. This decision will largely depend on your preference – you can choose to either retire early or continue to work if that’s what keeps you going. But no matter the circumstance, knowing when you want to retire will help you gauge whether you are saving enough, especially if you plan to retire early.

Understand your financial needs in retirement

Each person will have a unique set of needs in retirement and individual preferences can vary significantly. This is why it is important to understand how much you will need to fund your lifestyle, so that you can work towards achieving this goal. When doing the math, ensure that you make allowances for expenses such as healthcare costs that are likely to increase later down the line.

Give your asset allocation some thought

Your asset allocation becomes even more important as you make your way towards your retirement. While it can be tempting to stay away from risky assets such as stocks, these growth investments play an important role in helping achieve a more comfortable retirement. On the flipside, investing too heavily in risky asset classes to catch up on any shortfalls can sometimes leave you in a worse-off situation. This is why it’s so important to have a well-balanced portfolio that is best suited for your personal circumstances.

Reduce your debt

Think about cutting down on any existing debt – including your mortgage – as you approach your retirement. Debt repayments, especially ones that carry high interest, can have a significant impact on your retirement income. Make a conscious decision to reduce the level of new debt that you take on, and have a plan to pay off existing debt – starting with high-interest items such as credit cards first.

Seek professional help

Consulting and building a relationship with a financial planner during this time will also go a long way in helping you achieve your retirement goals. During this 10-year period, your planner will be able to thoroughly assess your financial situation at the onset and be there every step of the way as you approach your retirement. A good planner will help you achieve an asset allocation that is best suited for your circumstances, while also helping with other important aspects such as estate planning.

Remember,  a comfortable retirement depends on the effort that you put in now, while you still have the time and opportunity to work towards where you want to be!