According to a 2019 survey from GOBankingRates.com, 42% of Americans will “retire broke,” meaning they have $10,000 or less saved for their retirement. In fact, numerous Americans over 50 haven’t saved anything for retirement, and have gotten themselves into this position for multiple reasons – the most common being postponement.
“People practice ‘As soon as I,’ ‘After I’ and ‘When I’ financial planning,” Professor Barbara O’Neill shared with Forbes. This type of “one day” planning makes sense at the time; delaying retirement savings to pay off debt, rather than accomplishing several financial and savings goals simultaneously, seems like a smart move. But it’s this type of planning (or lack thereof) that leads to financial setbacks and makes retirement seem like a far-off goal rather than a near-term reality.
If you’re 50 or older and don’t have anything saved for retirement, don’t fear – you can retire by age 65. But in order to catch up, it will take more than simply putting more money into savings. Follow these tips and expert-backed strategies for “late starters” and, within 15 or so years, you’ll be on track to retire comfortably.
Refine your budget
As AARP explains, the first step to free up some extra cash for retirement savings is to look for excess spending in your budget. From dining out to cable bills, you can slash a few hundred dollars a month from your expenses to reallocate toward savings.
Leverage one of our recommended budget templates to help get your savings back on track.
Make extra contributions to retirement savings accounts
As Bankrate shares, you can start making extra contributions to your retirement accounts (called catch-up contributions) after age 50. As of 2021, younger savers can only contribute $19,500 to their 401(k)s and $6,000 to their IRAs each year. However, Americans ages 50 and up can contribute up to $26,000 in a 401(k) and up to $7,000 in an IRA.
So, to level up your retirement savings, take advantage of these catch-up contributions to get yourself back on track and double-down on savings for the remainder of your working life.
Look for extra streams of income
To reach your retirement goals, consider adding additional streams of income to help bolster up your savings even faster. Whether that means working overtime, picking up a second, part-time job, or even renting out a room on AirBnb, every extra dollar earned helps get you closer toward your retirement savings goal.
Tap into Your Home Equity
If you own a home, tapping into its equity can be a smart way to invest in your future and fund retirement. From home equity loans and HELOCs, to reverse mortgages, homeowners can leverage the funds in their home’s equity to live comfortably in retirement. Just be sure to do your research on rates and repayment terms to ensure you’re not digging yourself deeper into debt.
It’s never too late to start saving for your future. If you’re 50 or over and don’t have anything saved for retirement, remember that you’re not alone, and you can catch up. By implementing a few of these strategies, you’ll be on track toward reaching your retirement goals.
Finally, if you need assistance, always consult with a financial advisor to help you consider the options and strategies that make the most sense for you.
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