13 smart retirement moves in 2009

10. Convert your conversion 
"If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you may want to convert it back," Bogosian says.

Here's why: If that $10,000 IRA has dropped in value to $7,000, you still have to pay taxes on $10,000. To pay taxes on its actual worth, you need to convert it back to a traditional IRA, then convert it back again to a Roth, he says. The result is you pay tax on what the account is actually worth.

11. If you're in or near retirement, plan ahead 
Typically, in retirement you keep a certain amount of assets liquid, often one year's worth of funds. In today's economy, you might want to have one to two years worth of living expenses "where you could get your money out," Altfest says.

She says to put it in a money market account or short-term CD. "Look for the best yield you can get, knowing that in today's market it will be fairly low," she says.

12. Compare retirement income and outflow 
"It's all about cash flow in retirement," Gianola says. "Can you pull in enough to meet your expenses?"

In retirement, 4 percent a year is the typical withdrawal rate, says Daugherty. But that percentage might equate to a smaller dollar figure than in years past. If possible, resist the temptation to withdraw at a faster pace, he says.

Instead, try cutting or postponing non-essential expenses and think about boosting your income and your retirement savings with part-time work.

13. Invest in yourself and rethink your idea of retirement 
Conventional retirement is vanishing, not just because of the economy but because people are living longer. So ask yourself whether you want to stop working or if you want to shift into another line of work or a part-time schedule.

"What really comes out of this is that it's important to invest your time in education and skills where your next job is going to be," Farrell says. Look at your goals and dreams. What are the companies you want to work with? "Get to know them," he says.

Ask yourself what skills will you need, what education will be required and what networking will you have to do?

Says Farrell, "It can make it a much more enriching experience if you have invested your time in what you want to do in the next stage of life."


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