Most people are really ill-prepared for retirement. While that isn’t earth-shattering news, it’s important for anyone in their 40s to start thinking seriously about how they will finance retirement.

While some people do, indeed, have a solid plan in place to ensure their financial stability when they retire, others are on shaky ground, with little saved and no real idea how they will survive once retirement age is reached.

However, there are five best financial moves experts say anyone, but especially women in their 40s, should consider implementing now.

Get financial debts under control

First, get debts under control. Credit card debt should be eliminated whenever possible, as excessive credit card debt means the money used for payments cannot be applied to retirement plans. Mortgages should be paid down as much as possible to ensure that’s not an issue when retirement age comes around.

The idea is to free up as much money as possible to cover living expenses once that job is no longer part of the picture. Of course, everyone has other goals for their retirement years, and having too many debts after retirement will derail those plans.

Get into real estate

Second, now is the time to deal with real estate. Those anticipating downsizing should be deciding when and how that will happen. Others seeking to purchase their dream homes should consider doing so now, while there is still time to pay off the mortgage prior to reaching retirement age.

The idea is to make the move now, while you’re young enough to enjoy the new home and still eliminate the debt.

Revise your retirement goals

Third, consider revising your retirement goals now if necessary. Most people haven’t really thought much about retirement to this point, but it’s time to put some serious effort into developing a solid plan to guarantee the funds necessary to really live after the retirement will be available.

That means start saving now, while there is still plenty of time to build a solid nest egg.

Make a plan

Fourth, take some time to carefully select the best type of plan for achieving those retirement goals. While both RRSP and TFSA plans work, make sure you select the plan that’s best for your specific circumstances.

If you’re not sure which plan is best, get advice from a professional to make sure you enjoy the greatest return on your investment. Because the tax laws favor one or the other plan based on income, work with a professional to estimate where your income is now and where it’s likely to go in the future.

Taxation issues can dramatically affect the net return on your savings investment.

Initiate a savings program

Fifth, if you haven’t already initiated a savings program, do it now. Those in their 40s still have time to build a significant nest egg, but don’t put off starting a savings program any longer than absolutely necessary.

While paying a mortgage or helping children get a solid start in life are important, having a real plan for achieving your own goals shouldn’t be put aside.

Everyone should be able to look forward to retirement without worrying about funding the activities they are looking forward to.

Having the funds in place for retirement requires planning, and that planning should start now. The five best financial moves suggested here are a great place for women in their 40s to start.