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Are you falling into a retirement planning trap?

As baby boomers contemplate their retirement, it's important to acknowledge that they are navigating a much different financial landscape than what their parents faced. Some time-honored notions about investments should be reconsidered before you start to seriously build a nest egg. 

Financial experts Ed Burke and Nathan Bachrach of radio show Simply Money recently suggested on Cincinnati.com that boomers should take a different approach when it comes to real estate - mainly, that they should find smaller, less costly investments that are sure to be safe and reliable for the future. Burke and Bachrach claim that, though the market has been unstable in recent years, those who invest in more economic residences are likely to benefit in the future.

This can make an important difference in what you save before and during retirement age. Lately, the smaller homes in retirement communities have become more popular among baby boomers who are looking to leave big homes that require regular maintenance.

That's not the only difference that prospective retirees will have to confront. Burke and Bachrach write that general investments such as stocks and bonds are not viewed as the safe bets that they once were. This indicates that it could be beneficial to hire a financial adviser who can help you outline a smart plan.

When searching for a professional, practice caution and do thorough research before making a final decision. AARP.org suggests starting your search by shopping around for a few brokers. Make sure an adviser has expertise in areas related to your specific portfolio, and ask them about compensation. While some experts may charge by the hour, others may cost you more in the long run by charging commissions.

Retirement planning should be an ongoing process, as many baby boomers choose to downsize to smaller homes while they continue to work and manage their finances, according to The Chicago Tribune. Del Webb retirement communities accommodate these needs by providing investment clubs, classes and facilities that are geared to the ever-busy boomer generation. 

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