There are some Americans that are more prepared for retirement than others, some that are more prepared than they think they are, and others that are not very prepared at all. As it stands, about 56% of those between the ages of 38 and 65 have saved enough money to cover their basic living expenses after they retire, including their medical expenses. What is unfortunate is that 44% of individuals are not saving enough money on their retirement and that means they are sabotaging their retirement long before they reach it. The good news is that it is not too late to accelerate the saving before retirement so that you can be as financially secure as possible when the day comes that you can say goodbye to your job and hello to the rest of your life.
But being a part of that 44% does come with its fair share of problems. The first being that there is not a lot of time left to save. Of course, age determines how much time you have and whether or not you will retire at retirement age or work longer. Between now and the time you retire, that age could increase over time. This will give you a little more time to save. The second problem is that in order to retire comfortably, more money will need to be invested in retirement at one time than what would normally be required if the adequate amount had been invested to begin with.
Fortunately, there are some good ideas to help you successfully retire as close to retirement age as possible rather than work until you are in your 80s.
Increase Your Rate of Savings
You will need to increase your rate of savings by 1% to 2% each year. You can start with a small increase so that it is a little less painful on your pocket. You can also try increasing your 5% 401(k) contribution to 10% over four years, which means you are going to gradually increase your contributions as you receive raises. This can result in approximately $550 more per month during retirement. If you can, contribute more than the 10%. Most financial advisors will suggest that you put in 15% so that you can retire and live comfortably for a long time.
Work A Little Longer
You may even want to consider working a couple more years. If you intend on working until you are 67, plan on working until you are 69. This will allow you to save a little more. Hypothetically, a person needs about a million dollars to live on after they retire and that is someone who retires around normal retirement age. One million dollars is more or less enough to take care of the necessities and a few extras after retirement, which means living within your means as much as possible. If you are used to living on $75,000 per year, $40,000 per year for 25 years is not going to be enough to maintain your way of life and what if you live longer than 25 years after retirement?
Invest In Some Longevity Insurance
Buying an annuity can be a good way to invest in your future. This is a type of longevity insurance that enables a person to compensate for not knowing exactly how long they are going to live after retirement. While joyous, it is also an unfortunate fact that there are some people that live longer than they thought they would and this results in them running out of money.
What you can do is take 10% to 15% of your savings when you retire and purchase an annuity that will not pay you until you are around 85 years of age. This is like insurance for living a long life. The only drawbacks to this are the fact that you do pay more for inflation protection and the money is held up in hopes that the annuity company will still be around when you turn 85.
If your health allows you to do so, you can find a part-time job and work approximately five years. This can help you prime your savings. A person who does this also reduces the amount of money that they will need for the remainder of their retirement. If you are a late saver, finding a part-time job that you enjoy can reduce the amount you need and make life a little more comfortable for you.
Be Honest with Yourself
You will need to be honest with yourself. Look at your financial situation and buckle down to determine what you need to do to plan for your retirement years. It may be ideal to consult with a financial advisor to help you create a solid plan that will ensure you can maintain your standard of living after you retire. No one wants to have to work for the rest of their life.
If you are nearing retirement and looking the prospect of working until very late in life right in the face, you may find yourself in a hurry to save money, invest money, and possibly even sell off assets so that you can have the money that you need to save and/or invest. If you have debt, you may be more tempted to go ahead and pay off that debt rather than save for retirement. The fact is, you will need to pay off that debt, but you have to make sure you have an income later on. You can balance your saving and your debt management so that you can minimize debt as much as possible while maximizing your retirement savings.
You can also maximize your retirement by prioritizing your retirement accounts, such as making your 401(k) first, maxing out a Roth IRA, maxing out your 401(k) or 403b, and then working on taxable investments. In regards to debt, do everything that you can to lower all of your interest rates. This will lower payments and also shorten the time in which you owe. Refinancing can be your best friend and balance transfers to lower interest credit cards will prove quite valuable. Lastly, create an emergency fund where you have at least six months of living expenses. This will help you if you ever have an unexpected time of need.