Better late than never. The traditional bit of advice is very appropriate to prepare for your inevitable senior years It’s never too late to start a savings plan strategy for retirement. More wisely, it’s never too early, either. It could be that you’ve drifted through your working years spending as if there’s no tomorrow, and suddenly you realize that tomorrow will happen within a few years. As soon as possible, creating retirement savings strategies should be your first priority.
1. Make up for the money you didn’t save. If you haven’t started early to put away savings and investments, correct those neglected responsibilities by earmarking more of your current income to the plan. For example, if you had put away $50 a week when you were in your 30s and are now in your 50s, make up for it by saving $100 a week.
2. Get sound, expert advice. Speak with retirement and investment counselors about your current financial situation. Consider various plans and directions for making up for lost time by increasing the value of your savings and investments.
If your company pays into a voluntary savings plan, withhold the amount that earns the maximum company matching contributions. Invest salary-deductions savings in the most favorable way, such as with tax-deferred 401(k) and similar fixed-interest plans.
4. Begin slimming down. If you’re overweight, a healthy diet will help you make your retirement years will last longer. Equally as important, you should also start your plans to slim down your spending lifestyle. You shouldn’t have to face the shock of suddenly realizing on retirement day that your income could be half of what you’ve been enjoying in your latter working years.
Start tracking your current spending habits, and begin saving on the least important. For example, if you’re eating out or going to clubs several times a week, cut back to just once. Subscriptions are also worth slimming, including more expensive print, TV cable and online services.
If you’re serious about eating healthy, cut out or reduce your intake of costly meats, desserts, alcoholic drinks and other indulgent luxuries. If you’re a heavy smoker, and you want to live to a healthy old age, you can also save hundreds of retirement dollars annually by doing what you should have done years ago.
5. Start planning your retirement home. Even if retirement is ten years ago, consider what you’ll do about living plans when the time arrives. You’ll have choices that are affected by many factors.
For example, if you’ll have a close-knit family locally, the decision to move to a retirement community in another part of the country may not be in your plans. If you own a home, and it will be an empty nest within less than ten years, you should consider the best time to put it up for sale.
That could be an important factor in your retirement lifestyle, because the equity could add significantly more money to supplement your savings and pension income.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “When I was young I used to think that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know it is.” Even if you’re getting a late starter in saving for your retirement, it’s better than being unpleasantly surprised when the regular paychecks stop coming in.