Even if your retirement is actually quite a few years away, it's going to get here much faster than you think and likely without you being prepared for it. Starting right now, you can make changes that will elevate your retirement lifestyle in ways you're going to be very grateful for later on in life.

1. Sacrifice Something You Regularly Spend On

While you obviously can't go without things like food or toilet paper, maybe you get regular pedicures or enjoy rather expensive lattes that, when you think about it, aren't really that important in the overall scheme of things. The money spent now on things you could easily do without will add up to major savings over a few decades. Think long and hard about the money you are wasting now and how you could possibly put it to much better use.

2. Buy Something Of Value On A Regular Basis

While you could investigate the possibility of stocks, bonds or an IRA, you might also consider buying things that should increase in value later, that you have common sense use for now. Yard sales sometimes offer unique and valuable finds on rugs, fine China and other items you might use carefully now, but save for selling in the future. Even collectibles, when cared for properly, can sell for outrageous amounts later, so keep an eye out for these potentially worthwhile investments, especially if they're something you'd enjoy having anyway.

Especially if you can't afford to buy into the stock market, having knowledge of other things you can invest in can provide you with future windfalls that could really come in handy.

3. Set A Monthly Savings Goal

Even if it's not going to accumulate into a small fortune down the road, being in the habit of saving money is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself. Set a monthly goal now, but include a further goal of increasing that monthly amount exponentially as the years pass. This should be separate from any actual retirement fund and meant to foster your discipline, along with building a considerable side-gig to your eventual nest egg.

4. Trade Your Expensive Annual Vacation For Something Cheap

One of the most expensive items on any household calendar is the annual vacation; however, if you can find a way to slash the cost of it in half at least, you're going to end up with significant savings by the time you retire. For example, camping out in the woods vs an all-inclusive Caribbean venue could easily save thousands, while still being an exciting adventure for the whole family. Do something like this every year and watch how much faster your savings account grows.

5. Sit Down With A Retirement Planner - And Be Prepared For A Shock!

Statistically, most people aren't prepared for retirement at all and when they arrive at that point in their lives, they're forced to make life-changing sacrifices, such as selling their homes, cars or forgoing every non-essential element of life. Do you really want to work hard your entire life, only to be forced into a miserly, miserable existence when you retire? Of course not, but considering the rising cost of healthcare, if you're not prepared for old age, you're not going to be able to enjoy it.

A financial planner can help you see into the future and turn your fortune around, by creating a practical plan for you to live by now, so you can feasibly start putting money toward that approaching time.

By hook or by crook, you simply must take the steps now to ensure your happily-ever-after retirement; otherwise, there's no telling what the future may hold, if you're not prepared for it financially. Click here to learn more about retirement planning.