January is a good time to take an accounting of your finances. If you've made it through the recession without a reversal of fortune, perhaps it's time to consider a reversal of mindset.

"A lot of retirees are afraid to spend their money, so it's a question of what is the money really for?" says Tony Walker, a Kentucky-based financial adviser and author of "Worry-Free Retirement."

Many seniors raised in families that suffered through the Great Depression have taken those hard-times lessons to the bank and built a considerable nest egg. Some have lifetime pensions to augment Social Security.

Walker notes a reluctance on the part of some well-off or at least comfortable seniors to take pleasure from the assets they have accumulated after a lifetime of hard work. He also blames his fellow financial advisers for scaring people into saving too much - and in the process turning their money over to "experts" for a fee. He notes that the plethora of online calculators from investment companies that indicate unless you have at least a million dollars saved you'll outlive your money are mostly overstated gloom and doom.

But before you start your spending spree, Walker has these tips:

Consider annuities so you can create some "mailbox money" that will help guarantee a lifetime income stream.

Spend retirement accounts such as non-Roth IRAs and 401(k)s first, so you can deal with the taxes now before rates go up. While these accounts grow tax free, money withdrawn from them is considered taxable income.

Know your "spending and enjoyment window," which is usually between the ages of 60 and 70. After 70, health and lifestyle changes mean you probably will reign in spending on everything except health care.

Give some of your assets to your children now "rather than having them all crowd around your casket wondering what's left." This way, you can take enjoyment in your kids' enjoyment, plus you'll "give it away before the government and the nursing homes take it from you."

While Walker doesn't advocate you spend yourself into poverty, he also says: Why live your golden years as if you're penniless? "So what if you die and don't have a ton of money in the bank?" he says. "Is that really so bad?"