JASON HEATH | Special to the Financial Post  | Published June 26, 2012

Retirement planning is one of those things that’s probably better to start earlier rather than later. But how late is too late?

It’s arguably never too late, as making small changes today can yield big returns in the future. But what’s the key change someone can make if they’re approaching retirement carrying debt or with minimal retirement savings?

It can be a lot more empowering to choose to cut your expenses in advance of retirement rather than being forced to do so in response to a shortfall while in retirement

There are five main variables that individuals have a degree of control over in their retirement planning: life expectancy, assets, liabilities, income and expenses.

Mike Baldwin did a great retirement planning cartoon about life expectancy. A man is sitting with his financial planner who is typing away on her computer. She looks up and says, “If you’re alive this time next week, you’ll be living beyond your means.” Okay, so there’s not much you can do about your life expectancy.