For over 20 years, Danielle has been helping professionals and their families gain a sense of clarity and confidence about their financial future. She is driven by her desire to help people turn their complicated and often overwhelming financial pictures into goal-based, comprehensive wealth management strategies that they can feel good about. Danielle's commitment to helping her clients navigate their financial lives has served as the foundation for her financial services practice, D. Gates Wealth Management. Danielle Gates is a Certified Financial Planner and her personal goal is to be a lifetime resource for each and every client. In her free time, Danielle enjoys pedaling her bike through local trails and beaches, hiking, and traveling.
We, at D. Gates Wealth Management, along with LPL Financial, are dedicated to helping our clients make informed financial decisions about issues that affect their financial needs, goals, and objectives. We strive to help clients to create a sense of financial well-being toward pursuing financial freedom. Additionally, we work with clients to determine what is important in their lives be creating a comprehensive financial plan centered around their values.Whether you~re just starting out or you~ve already built a strong financial foundation and want to know what~s next, D. Gates Wealth Management can help you take the next step.COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLANNINGCash Flow PlanningInvestment ManagementRetirement PlanningSocial Security OptimizationEducation FundingInsurance & Risk ManagementTax Management PlanningEstate PlanningINVESTMENT MANAGEMENTRisk AnalysisInvestment Policy DevelopmentTax Management PlanningPortfolio ManagementBUSINESS PLANNINGRetirement PlanningGroup BenefitsProfitability AnalysisSuccession Planning
Browse through thousands of expert articles in over 100 different categories.Browse Now
When thinking about our physical health, its common for people to take a holistic approachthat is, we think about ways we can practice being healthy overall, like eating a balanced diet and getting an adequate amount of exercise. Keeping our bodies healthy means improving our quality of life. So why dont we take this approach with every aspect of our lives, including our financial health?Holistic financial planning is quickly rising in the ranks of money management techniques among financial professionals. But what does it actually mean to be holistic when it comes to your financial health? Heres what you should know.FOCUSING ON YOUR LIFE GOALSMany financial professionals will give you advice on specific products, services, or investments. They might advise you on an IRA or help you set up a 529 college savings plan for your child. But holistic financial professionals focus on your life goals first and foremost. Rather than driving optimal investment portfolios, they help you work toward your specific goals.Your financial health doesnt exist in a silo; your financial planning shouldnt either. Instead of plugging numbers into an algorithm to figure out how much you should save for retirement, you should focus on holistic planning, which takes into consideration your goals and aspirations.A holistic financial professional might ask questions like, What do you want to accomplish between now and retirement? and What do you want your life to look like when you retire? Everything you do can affect your financial health, which is why its so important to consider all aspects of your life when thinking about investments and savings plans.ALIGNING WITH YOUR VALUESAnother benefit to holistic financial planning is that it can directly align with your values. Traditional financial planning focuses on the best outcomes for your portfolio. But the best outcomes may mean investing in companies whose mission and values dont align with yours.With a holistic financial strategy, you can choose to invest ethically; for instance, you may decide youd like to invest in socially responsible companies or companies owned by women of color. A financial professional who focuses on holistic planning can include companies whose values align with yours in your strategy, while also aiming towards positive outcomes for your finances.DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALMost importantly, holistic financial planning often leads to a deeper, more trusting relationship between you and your financial professional. Because theyre involved in many aspects of your life and your goals, they may better understand how they can help when you experience difficult and confusing financial situations such as divorce, sudden job loss, critical illness or even just buying a new home.A trusted professional can go a long way when it comes to managing your financial health. If youre looking for someone who can help you pursue your investment goals while also aligning with your values and considering major life events, a holistic financial professional can help.
When choosing an investment professional, the value you receive is based on the quality of your relationship and their ability to meet, or even exceed, your expectations. Many people dont mind paying for investment guidance, nor expect a professional to perform superhuman feats with their portfolios, but they do expect a commitment to service that includes frequent communication, transparency, and personalized guidance. To get the most value from your investment professional, you need to explain your expectations and agree on how you will work together.Ideally, you should be able to book an initial consultation with an investment professional to learn more about their background, experience, and philosophy. Be clear about what you expect, and ask questions. Here are some ideas:Ask how they choose their investment strategies, products, and solutions. Some professionals will shop around based on clients needs, whereas others have access to a smaller number of proprietary products.Ask them what their investment principles are and how they were founded. Do they follow theory and data, or use their own experience?When it comes to payment, see if they are fee-only, commission-based, or a hybrid of the two. Depending on your needs and potential assets under management, you may prefer one fee structure over another.If youre looking for an investment professional that puts their client's needs ahead of their own, ask if they follow a fiduciary standard. See if they have their policy in writing.Are you looking for someone whos highly responsive? See what their communication strategy is like. Do they follow up frequently? Are you able to reach them at any time if you have a question? Do they ask that you can commit to a certain number of meetings per year?Do you want access to a broad range of expertise and resources? Ask if they have a network of other professionals that they consult with or recommend. Some investment professionals may be able to connect you to tax, insurance, estate, or business professionals if you need them.Check their professional credentials. How long have they been in their field, and whats their professional background? What is their current level of education, and are they continuing their education? Do they have any additional designations?Some of the investment professionals you meet may not meet your needs, which is why its important to have an initial consultation. Setting the tone for a working relationship with an investment professional is a critical first step, so ask as many questions as you can. Give us a call if youd like to learn more about our process and see if we could be a good fit for you.
30 can be a divisive number. Some see it as the time youre thrown into full-blown adulthood, whether youre ready or not. Others consider 30 the early years before your true confidence shines; in your career, relationships, or even in yourself. Either way, your thirties are a great age filled with opportunity.The same could be said about your financial planning. Many financial professionals feel this age is a great time to start tackling some larger financial goals, including:RETIREMENT GOALSYes, were talking about retirement planning again. As youre looking at careers, try to carefully research the benefits a company may or may not be offering before choosing to work with them. Someone working for a company with no company matching or retirement contribution may be farther behind on their retirement savings than someone at a company with robust benefits. And if you arent taking advantage of your companys matching or contribution benefits, its time to start! Saving now could greatly benefit you down the road.EMERGENCY FUNDEven if money is tight, its important to consider starting an emergency fund. You never know when something may happen, so its better to be prepared. Start with small, manageable contributions, and aim to increase over time as youre able.MAJOR PURCHASESYour thirties are an amazing time to start working towards major long-term financial goals. Consider speaking to a financial professional that can help you develop a plan to pursue your goals and keep you motivated to stay on track. There may be some short-term sacrifices, but they may pay off in the long run when youre in your new family home or lying on the beach on your next family vacation.
While winning the lottery is well outside mainstream reality for most people, its not uncommon to suddenly receive a large inheritance, a settlement, or perhaps a stroke of good luck. There are several stories of the major failings of people whove come into money only to see it disappear. If you find yourself with a sudden windfall, here are some tips that may help you avoid following down the same path:AVOID PUBLICITYYou may want to take some time and space to process your windfall and think through your next steps. While you may feel youre surrounded by well-intentioned people, theres a chance that not everyone has your best interests in mind.In some cases, if you tell one person, you may as well publicly post on social media. This could be difficult if you come into an inheritance unless it was passed to you through a trust. In general, when assets pass by trust, they avoid probate proceedings which are a matter of public record.CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCEInstant wealth can make life much more complex. With the new opportunities it brings, some people quickly wipe out portions of their new-found wealth through ineffective tax planning, guilt-induced generosity, or poor cash flow management. Money decisions can be emotional, which is why some people work with a financial professional that serves as an emotionally-neutral party and provides personalized guidance to help them stay on track.Depending on your needs, you may also want to consider working with a tax professional, an attorney, and an insurance professional. If you arent sure where to start, your financial professional may have a network of other specialists they can recommend.STRIVE FOR SUFFICIENCYYou may be faced with several decisions and opinions on how to allocate your money. Depending on the size of your windfall, you may have a broad range of options available. Many people feel that creating a guaranteed stream of income is a good starting point. Its believed that, if anything were to happen to your assets, youre more prepared to sustain yourself for a period of time. There are several ways to create an income stream, and your financial professional can help you find the solution that works for your needs, risk tolerance, and goals.HAVE A PLAN FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILYThis can be one of the touchiest parts of being a windfall recipient. Depending on the size of your windfall and the degree of investment in your financial future, you may have philanthropic desires, including giving back to friends and family. But its not uncommon to feel overrun with requests from people you havent spoken to in years. One way to reduce the awkwardness of dealing with requests is to forward them to your financial professional, who can give out predetermined sums. Its not uncommon for people with newfound wealth to be on a salary controlled by their financial professional. If youve recently received a large inheritance or another windfall, contact us and lets create a strategy that will help you pursue your goals.
While following a solid tax planning strategy throughout the year is integral to your overall financial plan, some special considerations may maximize your refund or reduce overall tax liability.Lets look at some of the tax-saving strategies you could be taking advantage of.MAXIMIZE RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO TRADITIONAL IRASIf you arent taking advantage of your annual retirement contribution limits, you might miss out on reducing your taxable income. Traditional IRA contributions are made with pre-tax dollars and arent taxed until withdrawal, so maximizing contributions could keep you from running over into a higher income tax bracket. Contributions to 401(k)s and 403(b)s must be made by December 31st to impact your 2022 taxes, but the deadline for making traditional IRA contributions is April 18, 2023.CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITYDonating to your favorite charitable organization is another way to reduce your taxable income, and there are several ways to give.Donate cash or goods to a qualifying charity. Remember to collect and file all receipts, especially if you donate over $250. The IRS requires written acknowledgment for donations of $250 or more.Contribute to a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). This strategy allows you to allocate a lump sum of funds to distribute to various charities over multiple years. This can work well if you earned a higher-than-average income and are looking to offset the increased income right away.Donate your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Owners over age 70 can transfer up to $100,000 tax-free directly from their IRA to a qualified charity. Keep in mind that charitable contributions can only be made from IRAs, so you may need to first perform a rollover if youre looking to use funds from a non-qualifying account.DEFER INCOMEIf you own a business, deferring income is considered an essential factor in your year-end tax planning. Consider the items or expenses you may be able to pay out after the new year, such as employee bonuses or even income paid to yourself. If you expect to earn less in 2023, pushing these expenses out may be particularly helpful.TAKE DEDUCTIONS EARLYAnother aspect of business planning strategy is accelerating expenses to use as deductions in the current year. For example, if youre planning to hire outsourced vendors in January, you could request to pay for their services in advance to deduct them from your current years income. Other deductions examples include interest payments or medical deductions.TAX LOSS HARVESTINGThis strategy involves intentionally selling investments at a loss to offset either: Capital gains that resulted from selling securitiesUp to $3,000 in non-investment incomeHowever, there is a limitation to this practice. In order to prevent taxpayers from taking advantage of this perk, the IRS implements the wash-sale rule, which nullifies a loss claim if the same or nearly identical security is re-purchased within 30 days of the sale.Like all planning, preparation is essentialespecially when time-sensitive moves and deadlines are involved. If you need help with your end-of-year tax planning, consider talking to a financial or tax professional.
Homeownership is a dream for many people, but is it for everyone? For some, buying a home is a rite of passage, a sign that theyve grown up and succeeded. However, there are some things to consider before you decide to buy your first home.Sometimes, buying a home isnt always the best option. Understanding why homeownership can be a disadvantage may help you decide if buying a home is a good choice at this point in your life.YOURE NEW TO THE AREAIf youve recently transferred to a new city or relocated for a job opportunity, you may want to hold off on buying a home until youre better acquainted with the area. Try taking your time to learn about the local landscape and meet your new neighbors before looking for a more permanent place to settle.YOUR JOB SITUATION COULD CHANGEWhile many workplaces have adopted remote working over the last few years, there are still jobs that ask employees to be in the office. If theres even a small percent chance youll need (or want) to relocate for work, it may be better to rent until youre in a more stable situation.YOU CANT COVER A DOWN PAYMENT OR CLOSING COSTSThere are a lot of costs beyond the list price when buying a home, and many lenders have minimums for down payments. And besides the down payment, there are also closing costs, inspection fees, insurance costs, and renovation costs, just to name a few.YOU DONT WANT THE RESPONSIBILITYYoure reading or hearing about all of the extra maintenance work that comes with a home, and none of it interests you in the slightest. If youd rather do anything other than mow a lawn or fix a leaky faucet, renting may be a better option for you. That way, you have a landlord to call when something breaks.YOURE NOT READY FOR A LONG-TERM COMMITMENTThe housing market can be incredibly fickle. You may buy a house today, only for it to potentially plummet in value over the next few years. This is a risk you take when purchasing a home, and market fluctuation may be less of a concern for long-term buyers that are willing to ride out the changes. But if you want more flexibility, renting may be a better fit in the short term.The perfect home is different for every person, and it may take some time to figure out what an ideal home looks like for you. If flexibility and lower maintenance are your dreams, renting may be a better option.
If youve woken up in the middle of the night to a money-related panic attack, youre not alone. Our financial situation dictates so many parts of our everyday life. That said, excessive stress is a concern that should be addressed.Money-driven anxiety is a growing concern in this uncertain economy. Ignoring your finances entirely isnt the solution, nor is excessively fretting over every aspect of your finances. So what can you do to ease the burden of financial anxiety?AVOID THE COMPARISON TRAPPeople tend to post the best version of themselves on social media. Try not to let this facade of vacations, dining out, and luxury items fool you into thinking thats how everyone lives. Trying to keep up will likely only get you so far. Avoid stretching yourself to present a skewed image of your lifestyle to others.Theres also a private element beyond these posts that goes unmentioned. We dont see the time or commitment some people put into their careers. Some people, like influencers, may receive gifts from companies and may not be spending their own money on the trips/clothes/etc. theyre posting. There could also be plenty of debt as a result of maintaining this supposedly ideal lifestyle. Instead of getting caught in comparison, try to focus on what you need to be happy. Understand what you need, create your own goals, and measure your progress against your past self.START AN EMERGENCY FUNDIts common for financial stress to stem from picturing the worst-case scenario.If I lose my job, how will I pay my bills?What if a family member gets sick or injured?Can I afford to fix my car if I get in an accident?While being aware of the worst possible situation can be constructive, fixating on it can be unhealthy. By preparing an emergency fund, you may reduce stress during unforeseen circumstances. Try tying this fund to your monthly budget to start building on something to lean on when something pops up.TRY SPENDING SOCIALLY, NOT MATERIALISTICALLYWe accumulate possessions, they become old, we want something new, and the cycle continues.According to research from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, participants were happier when they spent money on experiences versus material possessions in every category, regardless of how much the item cost.1Try spending money on an experience with the people you love. Our closest relationships are often what ultimately make us happy.CONTINUE TO EDUCATE YOURSELFFinancial professionals can review your entire financial picture or provide guidance in a specific area of concern. They can be great resources, and some even offer no-obligation initial meetings to discuss the basics of your financial plan, a good first step towards lessening the load of anxiety.You can also do your own research, but be mindful of biases, conflicts of interest, and the sources that resources use. Ultimately, its your money, and you may feel more comfortable when you understand where you are financially, and what you can do to pursue your goals.
If you dream of living abroad, retirement may be the best time. Over half a million Americans living outside the US receive some Social Security, and that number is expected to grow. Many retirees cite cost of living as their reason for moving, while others say health care costs contribute to their move away from the U.S.TRY RENTING FIRST (OR FOREVER)Its a good idea to spend some time in the area youd like to live in to see if it suits you. Renting for a few months will expose you to the good and the bad the country has to offer and gives you the flexibility to move locations if the first one doesnt feel right.Dont be too attached to the idea of eventually owning, either. While homeownership is part of the American dream for many, chances are you may not be able to purchase property in your new country. Depending on where you move to, there may not be a distinct benefit to owning over renting, and you may find that you enjoy the freedom of traveling at your leisure.DO YOUR RESEARCHIts important to understand the residency requirements for the country of your choice. Take some time to research these requirements, like minimum income requirements, to ensure that you qualify before retirement and moving.Once youve committed, be sure to brush up on current international banking regulations. You may want to consider holding on to your current state-side bank, but note that some banks frown on maintaining an account if you dont have a U.S. address. If you choose to open a bank account in your new country of residence, youll likely have to file an annual report with the U.S. Treasury Department.BE REALISTICYour move may mean forgoing some of the conveniences youve grown accustomed to in the U.S. Think cheap gasoline, convenience stores on every corner, a large house and yard, and central air conditioning. If youre moving to an area where these luxuries are a rare commodity, be sure you can and want to live without them before taking the plunge.While not for everyone, retiring outside the U.S. can be exciting and rewarding. If youd like to build a retirement abroad into your current retirement savings plan, give us a call.
If anything good has come from the last few years of uncertainty and volatility, its that many of us are becoming more financially literate. Were more aware of our finances and are better at prioritizing our expenditures. Were also more aware of how important it is to save for the future, while still enjoying the present moment. We make lists, and spreadsheets, and use planning and budgeting apps, all with the aim of better managing our lives.But when it comes to our actions, we arent completely rational. Part of our decision-making is emotional, and its the emotional aspect that triggers an action. Actions are skewed by fear, guilt, exuberance, loneliness, or whatever else is influencing us. Because our emotions wont fit in a spreadsheet, we cant account for them. Depending on how you manage your emotions, they may be influencing you negatively.Here are a few financial scenarios where emotions may run high:PAYING DOWN DEBTMany people with credit card debt typically have at least one account with double-digit interest charges. So when they develop a plan to systematically pay down their debt, they may choose to start with the high-interest debt first. But paying down a high-interest account can be a slog; they may feel like they arent making any progress. The innate need for instant gratification and positive reinforcement guides many to smaller debts first, where its easier to gauge progress.While there isnt necessarily a bad way to pay off debt as long as it gets paid paying lower-interest debts first may cost more interest over time. Its motivating to check things off the to-do list, so we tend to tackle small jobs first. That may be what it takes to get through the whole list, but the costs may be higher. It may not sound like a logical approach, but we can easily rationalize our emotions to make them more palatable.PURCHASE DECISIONSA lot of people are becoming more serious about saving and are creating budgets. Unfortunately, budgets only happen on paper. When were at the mall or grocery store, we become vulnerable to our emotions. How were feeling in the moment, FOMO, or the urge to keep up with trends can all come into play. Whether its buying a house with more space than needed, or a car with extra features that will never be used, people tend to lean into their emotions and rationalize later.INVESTMENT DECISIONSInvesting can be an emotional roller coaster. Over the last few years, fear and uncertainty have driven many decisions and may be why some people feel like they arent making progress towards their retirement goals. The fear of loss can drive people to sell their holdings, and the fear of missing out can drive people back to the market.The market will always change. It will drop, and it will climb. Thats why its generally believed that focusing on the long-term and staying the course is better than chasing the performance of the market.OVERCOMING YOUR EMOTIONSThere is no easy way to take the emotion out of finance. Emotions are powerful and deeply personal. But you can learn to recognize and control how you respond to your emotions. The first step is to become aware of your emotions when youre making financial decisions. This can help you break the rational-emotional decision-making cycle.Next time you have a financial decision to make, try taking a moment to ask yourself why am I doing this? If you find yourself rationalizing an action, even if it goes against your plans, it may be because youre being influenced by your emotions. Stop and try to take yourself back to your original plan to see if the action still makes sense. It may take time and practice, but it will get easier.
If youre nearing retirement age, youre probably thinking about what life will look like once youve stopped working full time. There are many benefits to retiringlike more time to spend on your hobbies and with people you lovebut theres also the uncertainty of living on a fixed income. One great way to save money during retirement is by moving to a smaller home. Here are some of the benefits of downsizing. REDUCE YOUR MORTGAGE BURDEN If youre still making mortgage payments after retirement, downsizing may be a good idea to lower your monthly payments, or maybe even eliminate your mortgage completely. Reducing your mortgage burden means youll have more funds to dedicate to other expenses. When thinking about downsizing, be sure to consider how much equity you have in the home, what the housing market looks like at the time and how long you might stay in your new home. If youve already paid off your mortgage, it may make sense to stay where you are, or you may decide to make a profit off of the sale of your home. CUT DOWN ON BILLS Smaller homes also come with reduced utility costs. Youre paying for every inch of unused space in your home through heating and cooling, electricity, gas, water, and even internet access. The smaller your square footage, the less space you have to heat and power in order to live comfortably. With a smaller living space, you can also cut down on costs like lawn care and cleaning services. Larger homes require more maintenance and general upkeep, so by downsizing you can cut those costs, or even eliminate them altogether. REDUCE SPENDING ON FRIVOLOUS ITEMS Besides the required expenses to keep your home in a livable condition, you may be spending money on expenses like furniture, art or other home decor items. In a larger home, youll have room to fill with unnecessary items, but downsizing will force you to live a simpler life. Youll have less room to decorate and fill with furniture, so youll likely spend less on excess decor. LIVE IN A LESS EXPENSIVE LOCATION Your job may have been in or near a major metropolitan area but once you retire, you wont be tied to that location for work. Looking for a less expensive location with a less expensive cost of living when you downsize is a great way to maximize the money you spend on a new home. Even if youd like to stay close to family and friends, youll have the flexibility to look for homes that may be a bit farther away now that you dont have to worry about a commute. If youre open to living in a different location entirely, you may want to do some research on locations with low costs of living. Having a smaller home in an area with a low cost of living will leave you with more funds to do the things you love and take advantage of all the free time you have during retirement. IMPROVE HOME ACCESSIBILITY Another important advantage to downsizing is being able to buy a home thats accessible as you get older. You may not have mobility issues now, but you may develop them in the future. Instead of worrying about how to finance a home renovation to fit your accessibility needs down the line, downsizing allows you to buy a home thats already fit for whatever may come in the future. Look for homes with minimal stairs, wide doorways, and open floor plans. Thinking about moving can be daunting, especially if youve spent many years in your current home. If youre wondering whether downsizing is right for you, talk with a financial professional to make a plan to fit your needs in retirement.
With current market instability, inflation, and rising interest rates, more people are becoming acutely aware of the risks of investing. Financial markets are commonly known for their up-and-down nature, also known as market risk. Some people go into the market with higher expectations than others, but those expectations often come with an equal amount of risk. Others have a lower tolerance for risk and are more comfortable with the possibility of lower returns. But, regardless of risk tolerance, a portfolio thats ill-prepared to cope with volatility may experience some long-term consequences.BACK TO ASSET ALLOCATION BASICSFor many, asset allocation is their preferred investment strategy for focusing on long-term investing and striving for a balance between mitigating risk and returns over time. This strategy is centered around choosing a mix of asset classes based on your profile, investment goals, risk tolerance, and timeline.The belief is that, by choosing a mix of assets, the assets will counter-balance each other in hopes that the portfolio doesnt tip too far in one direction. Balanced and diversified portfolios often have a mix of asset classes, like stocks, bonds, precious metals, real estate, and more - all with varying levels of correlation to each other.ALLOCATING FOR RISKAll investments are susceptible to risk; whether its market risk, inflation risk, interest rate risk, taxation, or liquidity risk. A comprehensive asset allocation strategy is as much about allocating risks as it is about allocating assets, and has the potential to mitigate the portfolios risk by offsetting the performance of various asset classes. Although asset allocation doesnt guarantee your account will be protected against losses in a declining market, a properly allocated portfolio may be more stable during times of change and uncertainty because portions of the portfolio may respond more favorably in certain conditions.Portfolios often require ongoing adjustments, also known as rebalancing. Different parts of your portfolio may under or outperform expectations and may become unbalanced based on the assumptions the allocation was based on. The only certainty about the market is that its uncertain and it will change, so its important to review your investment strategy with a financial professional regularly so your portfolio stays aligned with your needs and goals.
If youve just begun your career and started collecting a decent paycheck, retirement probably feels like its lightyears away. But it will get here quicker than you expect, and when it does, youll want to be prepared.And if youre in your 40s or 50s and havent started saving for retirement yet, its not too late. The most important thing is to start planning as soon as possible.CREATE A BUDGETTake a look at your spending habits, including what you spend on necessities like rent or mortgage, food, and transportation. This will give you a rough idea of what youll need every month when youre retired. Keep in mind that inflation and your cost of living will likely change once you hit retirement age.DETERMINE YOUR INCOME STREAMSMake a note of the income sources you expect to receive when you retire. This can be anything from the 401(k) youre contributing to at work (which if youre not currently contributing, start now), to social security payments, stocks, bonds, or other investments. By combining your estimated income with your average expenses, youll have a better idea of what youll need to save prior to retiring.PAY YOUR DEBTSInterest can quickly eat away at your retirement savings. If you have significant debts, try to pay them off before you retire. Youll increase the available funds you have every month.DONT FORGET HEALTHCAREMedicare doesnt cover all healthcare-related expenses, so factor in the cost of a supplemental plan when creating your retirement budget. Like your cost of living, your medical expenses will likely change as you get older. You may also want to consider purchasing long-term care insurance, which can help offset the cost of a nursing home or assisted living should you need it.REVIEW REGULARLYChecking in on your accounts regularly is important. It lets you review the markets and analyze your portfolio to see if there are opportunities to potentially increase returns or minimize losses. But youll never know where you stand if you dont keep on top of your accounts. If youre not sure where your portfolio stands, a financial professional can help you review your accounts and give you personalized recommendations based on your retirement needs and goals.LOCATION MATTERSAs you get closer to retirement, think about where you want to live. Downsizing your home can help reduce living expenses, but location plays a large role in housing costs too. Some states are more retiree-friendly than others, and you may want to consider relocating to somewhere where your money will go further.When youre ready to retire, having a plan in place will help ease the transition to life after work.