Retirement should be a blissful time when you’re able to explore new hobbies, travel, and spend time with family free of the constraints of work. However, if you don’t save properly, you could find yourself pinching pennies in your golden years, passing on pricey activities, and even taking on a part time job to live comfortably.
“The best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago and the next best time is today. The sooner the better,” Dale Immekus, a financial advisor at Dedicated Financial & Insurance Services in Lodi, says of when to start saving for retirement. “Every day that you wait to start saving… the more you have to save to reach the same goal.” However, it’s easier said than done. Learn how to put money aside now to better enjoy your senior years.
How to Save
While saving for retirement should be a priority, it shouldn’t be priority number one. First, create an emergency fund—three to six months of living expenses to tide you over in case of unforeseen circumstances—then purchase insurance (i.e. life insurance, home owner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, etc.). After that’s been taken care of, save for retirement.
“Start by taking advantage of any group plans through your employer and be sure to max out any matching funds,” Dale explains. Many employers will contribute to your retirement fund. For example, if your employer offers a six percent match, then set aside six percent of your paycheck each month for your company retirement account. After your employer contributes their portion, you’ll be saving 12 percent each month. Pretty nifty!
Then depending on your particular tax situation, Dale suggests starting a ROTH or Traditional IRA to bank even more.
Don’t Stop There
While the funds mentioned above may be the most common way to save for retirement, there’s other ways. Taking additional steps to put money aside will prove beneficial in the end. Advanced planning sets seniors up for success with small but significant ways to save a little extra.
“One strategy is to fund a cash value life insurance policy,” Dale suggests. “You can build the cash value and draw on it in your retirement years. The investment portion will grow tax deferred. At retirement you draw money as a loan against your cash value and it will be a tax free stream of income,” he says. This tends to be a positive strategy for high-income earners, who have already maxed out their tax deferred program options.
Investments—such as real estate—are another way to create income for later. Buy property, rent it out so your tenant is paying the mortgage, and then either move into it come retirement and forgo a house payment or keep renting it out for spending money. However, be wary. “If they are not producing a cash positive, it may be a cash drain and not the best option,” Dale warns.
If retirement comes and you haven’t sufficiently planned for the financials, the options aren’t pretty, according to Dale. “Depend on the state or family,” he says. “That is an unpleasant thought and neither are the best of choices.”
Again, he stresses the importance of planning early. “A financial planner will be able to calculate if you will have enough income at retirement,” he explains. “Before you retire you have three options: work longer, save more, or spend less.” And if you’re in real trouble, combine all three. The more time you have to plan, the better the potential outcome. Find out while you still have options!
Dedicated Financial & Insurance Services
1300 W. Lodi Ave., Lodi, Ste. A1