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Now that your nest is empty, you have lots of time to think about how much you need to save for retirement. But you’re terrified that no matter what you do, it will never be enough.
So you just keep doing the same thing: nothing.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, 40% of workers ages 45–54 have less than $10,000 in retirement savings, and only 9% are sure they’ve got enough to live comfortably after they retire.
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One thing’s certain: You won’t get there if you don’t try. So stop letting fear get in the way of your future and consider these reasons your golden years can still shine.
Life Doesn’t Stop at 65
First of all, there’s no rule that says you have to retire at 65. In fact, if you trim the extra fat from your budget, you might find it’s a perfect time to do what you really love. So get out there and have a little fun bringing home the bacon!
There are lots of ways to stretch your retirement dollars further without the strain of a 40-hour week. If you’ve always had a passion for antiques, hit up garage sales for good buys you can turn into a profit. Love coffee and people? Get a part-time gig slinging lattés. Or put your career experience to work as an adjunct professor at a local college.
Age Has Its Advantages
If you’re 50 or older—believe it or not—time is on your side. That’s because you can make additional “catch up” contributions toward retirement: an extra $1,000 per year for traditional or Roth IRAs and an extra $5,500 per year for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans.
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Of course, you should be debt-free (except for your home) with a fully funded emergency fund before setting anything aside for retirement. It’s the only way to free up your biggest wealth-building tool—your income! But don’t miss out on the chance to max out your tax-favored plan options once you’ve reached Baby Step 4 and start investing 15% of your income.
Compound Interest Can Still Work for You
It’s true that compound interest works best when you start saving early. But you can harness its power to multiply your money at any age. You just have to do your part by giving it everything you’ve got and sticking with it!
Let’s say you max out your Roth IRA at $6,500 a year from age 55 to 65. After 10 years, you could have $114,000–128,000. But if you can start by age 52 and work a couple of extra years, you could end up with $227,000–271,000 tax-free at age 67. Adding just five years to your investing equation doubles your retirement money—and these calculations don’t even take your spouse’s retirement contributions into account!
Don’t Worry. Retire Happy.
The future can be scary without a plan. But a late start doesn’t mean you have to give up on your hopes and dreams. A true investing pro will look at where you are today and guide you toward a future you can feel good about. If you’re not sure where to begin, Dave can recommend an advisor in your area who has the heart of a teacher.