Whether you plan to keep working after becoming eligible for NZ Superannuation or not, 65 still looms as the defining age for retirement, and it looms even larger in your 50s.

Depending on your circumstances, the prospect of reaching 65 can lead to feelings of joy, fear or uncertainty.

The 10 years before retirement are like the last lap of a marathon race. If you are leading, you could easily trip and fall before the finish line. If you are at the back of the pack, it is still possible to have a surge of energy for a respectable finish.

Power up your savings: How much you save during the last few years of your working life will determine how well you live in the 20 or 30 years of your retirement.

Work towards living on whatever your retirement income will be and save the rest.


Blitz your debt: Crunch your remaining mortgage by having part of it floating or as a line of credit, so you can make extra payments without penalty.

Put your credit card on ice and use a debit card instead.

Slash your outgoings: If you have no dependents and a good asset base you may be able to cut back on your life insurance. Shop around for the best deals on utilities.

Boost your investments: It's a myth that all your investments need to become more conservative as you get closer to retirement. Match your investments with the time frame in which you will need to access your capital; conservative for short term, growth for medium and long term.

Plan your dream retirement: The amount of money you need will depend on how you want to spend your retirement.

Be clear on your retirement goals so you have a financial goal to make your dream real.

- Liz Koh is an authorised financial adviser. The advice given is general and does not constitute specific advice. A disclosure statement is free. Call 0800 273 847. For free e-books, see moneymax.co.nz and moneymaxcoach.com.