If you feel that you are behind in saving for retirement, you are not alone. According to recent data from Northwestern Mutual, one-third of Americans have less than $5,000 set aside for retirement. In addition, 21 percent of Americans have no retirement savings to speak of.
If you fall into this large percentage of Americans who are struggling to set aside money for the future, don’t give up hope just yet. The idea is to start making an effort, however small, and then ramp it up gradually over time. If you are worried that you are behind in saving for retirement, here’s what you can do.
- Examine your budget and cut costs. And if you don’t already have a budget, establish one. Look for areas of your budget where you are spending money unnecessarily. Do you have a gym membership you never use? Are you eating out too much? Or maybe you realize that paying hundreds of dollars a month for cable really isn’t worth it. All of these are instances of wealth leakage that should be stopped. The more costs you are able to cut within your budget, the more money you will have to save.
- Prioritize saving. Another thing to do if you are behind in saving for retirement is to make saving a category within your budget. Think of savings as paying your future self. You have to make it a priority—an investment in your future well-being—if you want to be able to support yourself during the years when you are no longer working.
- Don’t rely on Social Security. Some people don’t save simply because they think they will be able to rely on Social Security to support themselves in retirement, but this is a mistake. Not only is the average Social Security benefit not enough for most people to live on during retirement, but Social Security could be disappearing entirely as the trusts funding it are slated to be depleted by the year 2034. Instead, you should save as if accumulating your retirement income is entirely up to you. Then, any money you do receive from Social Security is just a bonus.
- Consider a side hustle. It might be that your current income truly does not allow much room for retirement savings, and that’s OK. But in that case, you should consider securing an additional source of income, whether it is a part-time job, a freelance gig, rental property or what have you. Just a few hours a week of additional paid work could make a significant difference in the growth of your nest egg.
- Save more as your salary increases. Every time you get a raise, you should increase the amount you are contributing to your retirement accounts to match. Especially if your salary goes up and your living expenses remain the same, there is no reason to not put the additional money toward your retirement investments.
- Max out your retirement account contributions, if possible. If you’re struggling to save at all, then maxing out the amount you contribute to your IRAs and 401(k)s will likely also be a struggle. But if you are nearing retirement and you are still feeling behind, take advantage of catch-up contributions—the additional $6,000 you can contribute annually to a 401(k) and the additional $1,000 you can contribute to an IRA—for people 50 and older.
Don’t let yourself become intimidated by the fact that you are behind in saving for retirement—just start saving! The retirement you deserve is on the horizon if you prepare yourself financially to achieve it.
For more retirement-related advice and insight, continue to follow Ty J. Young Inc.’s Retirement You Earned blog! To learn how you can maximize the amount of income you receive in retirement, call our knowledgeable Ty J. Young Inc. advisors today at 877-912-1919.