By Nick Garza
If retirement is right around the corner and you’re looking for reassurance about your nest egg, good news: it is not too late to save for retirement. Think about the lifestyle you want, create a plan and get to work — there’s time to catch up!
When you envision your golden years, what do you see? Are you in the suburbs? The city? Do you live with your children or are you more independent? Are you active in the community? Is travel a priority? What about healthcare needs? Ranking the factors that are most important will inform your spending, so keep your goals in mind while looking for ways to save today and determine what’s realistic for retirement.
Once you have a clearer idea of how you want your retirement to look, focus on the things you can control today to get there tomorrow:
- Reduce spending on big-ticket items. At this point in life, focus on reducing expenses today so you save even more for your retirement nest egg. Can you downsize from a three-bedroom home to a more modest apartment? Take a look at what you’re spending — particularly with regard to housing, which tends to be the biggest chunk of monthly spending. Cutting that cost can free up a lot of income that can go toward retirement.
- Increase income. Perhaps it’s time to encourage your spouse or partner to find an enjoyable way to earn a little extra income to boost your household retirement savings. Or, consider a part-time job of your own to supplement any current income. The added cash flow can help boost your savings, and today’s “passion economy” provides many options with flexible hours so you can choose something that works best with your existing schedule.
- Take advantage of “found” money. The next time you get a raise, bonus or unexpected windfall of income, contribute that amount to your retirement fund instead of treating it like fun money to spend.
- Take advantage of catch-up contributions. If you’re 50 or older, the IRS wants to help you save more for retirement, so they allow you to increase the maximum amount of contributions into IRAs, 401(k)s and health savings accounts.
Start planning for retirement now to help protect the life you've worked hard to build.
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