Presented by: Matt Clayson
Will I have enough money to retire? It’s a common question and one that has increased in magnitude lately — especially for people in their 40s and 50s.
Indeed a MassMutual study in 2018 found that the greatest worry for those on the edge of retirement was not having enough money to enjoy themselves.
This can generate a feeling of frustration. You’ve been working hard for over 20 years. You’ve been saving as much as you can. Then, the market crashes, and your savings disappear. It’s not too late to bounce back. Even if you’re 55 years old and decide that today is the day to begin saving in earnest, you still have time to build up income for retirement.
On your mark, set your priorities, go
Determine what you want out of your retirement…what are your priorities? Sit down with a pen and paper and start a list. Empower yourself to make the important decisions today that will set tomorrow in motion:
- When do you want to retire?
- Where do you want to live?
- What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead?
- Consider your current lifestyle. Can you cut back to save more for retirement?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking — and answering — yourself. So take the first step and start making some decisions.
Save more, spend less
The most obvious advice still applies: save more, spend less. But there’s more to it than that.
Create a budget to help you stay on track — and actually stick to it. Decide where you can trim your expenses. What can you live without now so you can have more later?
If your budget isn’t working, you may want to consider downsizing to a smaller home or a less expensive location to help maintain your standard of living. This may be a difficult exercise, but remember you’re trying to catch up.
Speaking of catching up, if you will be age 50 or older at the end of the calendar year, you can take advantage of catch-up contribution options to accelerate the growth of your retirement accounts. The bottom line: make the maximum contributions possible to your employer’s retirement plan, including any available catch-up options.
Think outside the box
There are certain financial products and savings instruments that you may not be familiar with, but that may help you get more out of your money. Many people opt to consult a financial professional to help become aware of options and lay out a plan.
Delay retirement (The beach will wait for you)
People are working longer than ever before. Delaying your retirement by three years from age 62 to 65 can boost your assets significantly — thanks to the combination of making extra contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, not taking withdrawals and allowing your funds more time to grow.
In addition, if you anticipate receiving Social Security retirement benefits, it’s important to understand that monthly benefits differ substantially based on when you start receiving them and the filing option you choose. For every year you postpone collecting benefits beyond your full retirement age (typically 66 or 67), you can earn an annual delayed retirement credit of up to 8 percent.
On the flip side, filing for benefits before your full retirement age can permanently reduce your monthly income. Benefits will decrease based on how early you retire..
The bottom line is that there are real steps and strategies you can take today to help secure your future. It’s never too early or too late to evaluate your current retirement savings plan — or create a new one.