Retirement: Retire when you want by analyzing your current expenses, spending

No matter how you envision your retirement, you still have to figure out how you'll cover your costs when you no longer have a paycheck. Well before you retire, determine what your current expenses are and which of them you expect to carry into retirement. "If I had to put my finger on the one issue for people coming into my office, it's that they don't know what they're spending," says Kevin Reardon, a certified financial planner in Pewaukee, Wis.

The process doesn't have to be arduous or time-consuming, he says. "Go to your credit card and checking account statements over the past three to six months and look at your average monthly spending. You'll get a picture of...