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Happy career.

If you're happy in your career, don't be in a rush to leave. Extending your career can allow your portfolio to continue to grow.

©­iStockphoto.com/Mark Evans­

This is likely to be the least popular tip, but it's the most realistic one. Increasingly, the idea of checking out of the work force at age 65 is going the way of being able to retire on Social Security checks. The good news is, we're generally staying healthier and more active longer, which means we also can work longer. It stinks, but it also gives your portfolio the chance to continue increasing in value for a few more years. Remember, compound interest really adds up over time.

A person entering retirement age has a few options available. One is to simply stay at the same workplace. You can also undertake a step-down method, either by decreasing the hours logged at work or by finding another, less demanding job. The downside to the step-down method is that it will likely result in less income. Having paid off your mortgage and other substantial recurring expenses and being willing to live a bit cheaply for a few years works well while you're gradually decreasing your work load. If you're willing to trade money for free time, it will pay off.