For most of us, retirement seems a distant milestone. Until one day, usually around 50, it hits you. Retirement is a mere 10 to 15 years away.
That’s when people tend to get both serious and scared about when they can afford to stop working and feel comfortable that they have enough money saved to enjoy their golden years. While it’s always better to start saving early, it’s never too late to come up with a plan, even if it means being more aggressive to meet short-term goals.
Playing catch up can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Here are seven ways to do it:
- Max your contribution. Take advantage of your employer’s 401K match and make sure you are maximizing your contributions. Figure out what is doable and then save as much as humanly possible.
- Use a retirement calculator. Determine how much of your income you need to replace and then plan how to get there. Most people are afraid they don’t have enough saved but also do not have a plan in place for how to make up lost ground. Take a deep breath and find a planner who can help put you on a course to a happy retirement complete with one of those fancy umbrella drinks.
- Stay on budget. Live within your means, especially as your salary increases. As you age you are likely to hit your peak salary years. Invest the extra money from your paycheck into retirement rather than giving into the urge to splurge.
- Consider downsizing. Once your kids are in college or have moved out of the house, ask yourself if you still need five bedrooms and a sprawling yard that requires upkeep? If you do decide to sell, consider the value of your home, market conditions, your budget for purchasing a new home and monthly expenses. If you need to lower your expenses, haven’t decided where you want to live or plan to travel, you may want to consider renting.
- Work extra years. If it looks like you are going to come up short, push the year you retire back by a couple of years and keep contributing to your 401K or Roth IRA. Even if you continue to work part time you can keep contributing to your retirement account.
- Delay drawing on Social Security. For every year you wait to collect Social Security benefits after your full retirement age you receive an extra 8 percent in your check*. However, the increased benefit for waiting ends at 70.
- Get a side job. Earning extra money on the side will allow for you to cover your expenses and sock away more toward retirement. Today, there are more ways to do that with the gig economy, like renting extra space in your home to Airbnb.
Finally, there’s no telling when the stock market will throw a curve ball your way so it’s best to have a financial advisor who can review your portfolio periodically. Rockland Trust has retirement planning experts who can help.
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*Source: AARP "Social Security Resource Center"
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