Falling behind on retirement? Here’s how to catch up
Retirement comes faster than you realize. One minute it seems like you have years to save and the next minute the end of your working days are right around the corner. The good news is that if you’re not where you want to be in terms of retirement savings, you can do something about it.
Every change has to start somewhere. With retirement savings, this change should likely start with opening an IRA or adding more to your existing accounts. If you do this sooner rather than later you’ll be better off. Even a small addition can make a big difference.
An IRA account is a flexible retirement tool with a lot of benefits for almost anyone. If you’ve maxed out contributions to your 401(k) or other defined savings plan from an employer, you can use an IRA to save more. It is also a great way to save if you run your own business or if you have left an employer with a defined contribution plan and need to roll the funds over to something new. It’s important to know that there are limits to how much you can add to your IRA each year. On the bright side, in 2019 the government increased these limits, raising them from $5,500 to $6,000.
A little more means a lot
Even the smallest amount of savings that you put into a plan can add up quickly. That’s partly because of the power of compounding interest and partly because of the tax advantages found in IRA plans. Over time, even an increase of contributions of as low as 3 percent can go a long way towards a bigger nest egg and a dream retirement. Additionally, if you are already meeting the maximum amounts of your IRA, adding just a little bit more to meet the newly raised amounts will take your retirement savings further.
If a substantially larger amount of savings is called for, you don’t have to get there all at once. A baby step approach, gradually adding to the amount you save each year, can work well. Your retirement professional can help you determine how to add slowly growing retirement amounts into your existing budget. With the right approach, you won’t feel the loss to your monthly spending but you’ll feel the positive difference it makes in your quality of life at retirement.
Increase your savings with these tricks
When you’re looking to add to your retirement savings, there are a few tricks that can help. For starters, consider automating your savings each month so that you don’t even have to think about it. Also, if you’re over 50 the government allows you to save even more through catch-up contributions. As of 2019, you can increase your savings from $6,500 to $7,000 a year.
Other ways to increase your retirement savings may impact your lifestyle but will almost certainly be worth the small sacrifice. These include scrutinizing your budget to see if there are any added funds that can be redirected to retirement. Getting a second job may also help you reach your goals. This doesn’t have to be as negative as it sounds. The second job can be in almost anything, including a non-career area that you’ve always wanted to work in or the start of meaningful work that you want to do in retirement.
Reason to be optimistic
While coming to the realization that you are underfunded for retirement is never good news, there’s no reason to give up hope. You’re not alone in your situation and there are plenty of things you can do to turn things around. The changes may take planning and a small amount of sacrifice, but the payoff will be worth it once your working days have ended.