Whether you are 30 years old or five years away from retirement, budgeting for retirement at any age will make your retired life much more enjoyable. Retirement brings out many changes, including those to your finances. Several factors impact your financial picture, including Social Security, taxes, inflation, the rate of return on savings and investments and personal spending habits. While some of those factors are out of your control, you are still able to make the most of your current and future spending to help you later in life and through retirement. Use the following tips to make the most of your retirement savings now and later:
Prepare a Budget
Budgeting is a useful resource at any stage of life. As you prepare your monthly budgets now, be sure to allocate a portion of your income toward your retirement fund. The recommended amount varies depending upon your age, your desired retirement lifestyle and your current monthly expenses. Find an amount that you can afford, contribute that amount each month and make a habit of it. To make saving this amount easier, you could even set up an automatic payroll deduction with your credit union or financial institution. This process will take a set amount each time you receive a direct deposit and place those funds into a separate savings account. With such an easy way to save, you will be more financially prepared for your retirement.
Establish an Employer-Sponsored Plan
If your employer offers a retirement plan, such as a 401k, make sure that you contribute a portion of your income toward that plan. Often, employers will match your contributions up to a certain amount, which means you will earn free money on your existing contributions! Because income contributed to a 401k is held until you reach a certain age, you will not be able to access it and spend it on unnecessary expenses. 401k plans also offer various types of investment options, making them a great way to save retirement money in addition to creating your own personal savings.
Consider Opening an Additional Retirement Account
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are alternatives to employer-sponsored plans but can be opened in conjunction with your employer-sponsored plan. Open an IRA with your local credit union or financial institution and make contributions when you have the funds available. There are also tax benefits for certain types of IRAs. Be sure to speak with your financial institution on their IRAs and which one works best for you and your budget.
Do the Math
Knowing how much money you will need for retirement is tricky to predict. Thankfully, there are great resources to help you calculate those numbers. One example is the Principal Financial Group, which features calculators on their website allowing you to see if you are saving enough money now, how much could be lost to taxes and how Social Security might change by the time you reach the age of retirement. To calculate these numbers, visit Principal Financial Group’s website at the following link: principal.com.calculators/retire.htm. Other websites that feature retirement planning calculators and resources are AARP (aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/) and Charles Schwab (schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/retirement_and_planning).
After you have worked for 20 or more years, you will likely want to spend your retirement relaxing rather than worrying over your finances. Starting retirement savings and preparations now will allow you to better plan for the retirement lifestyle that you always dreamed you would have.