When you reach the end of those wage-earning years, you need to be more mindful of money than you’ve ever had to at any other point in your life. Because, let’s face it; our overall years outnumber our working years (it sure beats the alternative!), so you have to be ready.

That’s especially true if you plan on actually enjoying retirement and doing fun stuff. The kicker is unless you’ve somehow managed to sock away $10 million for retirement, you’re never quite sure if your savings have reached the “enough” level.

Naturally, you need to stack the deck in your favor and make sure that your retirement income lasts. Here’s how.

Make Social Security Your Last Resort

The article “4 Ways to Make Your Modest Retirement Income Last” offers one bit of terrific and yet very often-quoted bit of wisdom: hold off on collecting Social Security benefits until the last possible minute. The reason for this is because you will end up getting more benefits the longer you wait. If you’re going for an early retirement, then by all means, don’t file for benefits. Try to hold off until age 69, and really clean up.

Consider A Side Gig

Everyone talks about wanting to retire, but the truth is, most of the time you end up experiencing occasional periods of boredom. Sometimes, it helps to have some little part-time work on the side, or perhaps some home-based freelance arrangement going on. Not only does it keep you active and your mind engaged, but it also provides a nice little extra income that will certainly make that nest egg last longer!

Quantify, Itemize, Plan!

Before you retire, take some time to sit down and list out all of your anticipated wants and needs. Where are you living? How much does it cost to live there? Are you still paying off old debts? They don’t suddenly vanish when your job does! Do you plan on traveling? How often and how far?

Granted, you can’t plan for everything. Things like family emergencies or medical situations pop up without warning. But if you can put together a projected cost of living budget, supplemented by the cost of doing all of those things you’ve always wanted to do, then you can get a pretty good idea as to how long your retirement income will last. Of course, the only way to know if that income will last is to …

Identify Your Assets

This part is more fun than the budget assignment. In this case, list out all of your assets. What do you have going for you, financially? Do you have savings or a 401K? What will your Social Security benefits look like? The Social Security Administration sends out a statement that spells out your work history, how long you’ve been paying for Social Security and your anticipated monthly benefits.

If your savings plan is lagging a bit, check out “Wise Investment Tips On A Tight Budget” for some ideas.

Get In Better Shape

While getting yourself in better shape is no infallible guarantee that you’ll never have health problems, it’s no secret that someone who is in good health tends to have fewer health problems, or at least, have them to a lesser degree. Get regular checkups, keep an eye on what you eat, and incorporate exercise into your daily and weekly routine, if you don’t already. Not only will you feel better, but you will also decrease the odds of requiring medical help, which in turn means savings!

There’s no reason, with a little bit of planning and foresight, you can’t have a prosperous and fulfilling retirement. Just know what it is you’re up against and what you resources you have at your disposal.