Beach_couple_wide.jpgA new year brings the opportunity for new beginnings and goals for Americans. The most popular New Year’s resolutions often revolve around losing weight, saving more money, or paying off debt. For workers nearing retirement or thinking more seriously about how they want to spend their post-working years, the new year is also a great time to focus on retirement planning.

Planning ahead involves more than simply assessing your finances, and there are several additional steps adults can take to help ensure that every goal they have set for their retirement years is on target.

To begin, investors should take a hard look at their portfolio and determine whether they are currently on track to meet their short- and long-term goals. It can be easy to adopt a "set it and forget it" mentality when it comes to stocks, annuities and other popular investment vehicles. However, this mindset may force investors to miss out on wealth-building opportunities or limit their exposure to risk. Rebalancing their allocation of funds and diversifying their portfolios are two common ways individuals can protect themselves during market volatility, continue to build wealth, and gain peace of mind.

One of the largest expenditures retirees make that is sometimes overlooked during the planning phase are healthcare costs. In addition to exploring health insurance options and long-term care insurance, boomers can also safeguard their well-being by adopting some of the more common New Year’s resolutions: eating better and exercising. Staying in good shape and becoming more active may not only stave off future health issues, but can also give workers more energy and strength.

For many homeowners who are approaching retirement, relocating to a new area, downsizing or remodeling are all common considerations. Rather than waiting until they stop working, individuals should consider getting a move on and making plans in advance. This may include trips to potential relocation areas to make sure they have all the features a retiree is looking for. In other cases, homeowners may start looking at smaller homes for sale or getting estimates on remodeling costs. Planning ahead may not only spark more excitement about this next big step, but also allows workers to start setting financial goals around these changes.

Retirement is an exciting time for workers and making plans early on can help get individuals better prepared for this step. It's never too early or too late to start planning for retirement, so set solid goals this New Year's to start accomplishing future endeavors.