Evaluating whether you have enough retirement cash can be overwhelming. You can use a variety of calculators to determine how much you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement, but you may find numbers that will just make you feel like you may never be able to retire at all, yet don’t tell you the whole picture. For instance, Calculator.net calculates that a 30 year old with $20,000 in savings would need to save over $2,000 per month until the age of 65 to reach $3,000,000.
What Calculator.net doesn’t consider is interest rate fluctuation, matching funds and whether you may want to work part time in retirement. Many retired individuals use retirement as a time to become a consultant and start a brand new, more relaxed career that leaves time for travel, etc.
Here are a few tips from Stephen F. Lovell, a California-based Certified Retirement Planning Counselor, on what to do to make what you have and what you can realistically save work for you.
Don’t Worry About Market Dips If You Have at Least 20 Years Until Retirement
Your retirement account funds could be low because of a down cycle, an economic time when the majority of stock prices drop. The good news is in 20 years, you should hit an upcycle where you’ll get back most of the money you lost and see continued growth. Your financial planner can help you figure out how. The time you have left before retirement determines how much your account can recover. Contribute to a plan that’s designed for retirement, i.e., a balanced portfolio that gets more conservative as you age.
If you have less than 20 years before your first year of retirement, there are still moves you can make. For instance, your advisor can help with an investment plan that factors in where you’ll be at 75 or 85 when you’re 60 or 65.
Contribute Up to Your 401(k) Match Amount
Whenever possible, contribute up to your 401(k) match amount. If you earn $60,000 per year and contribute 5% of your salary to your 401(k), you’re adding $3,000 on your own. If your company matches this amount, you’re adding another $3,000 per year. Over 10 years, you’ve saved $60,000. With earnings, this amount could easily add up to over $100,000.
Move to an Income Tax-Free State
There’s a reason people retire to Florida: no income tax. When you’re evaluating your next move or even where you’d like to live in retirement, think about both taxes and cost of living. You may not be able to save much in your current situation, but think about what changes in your lifestyle you could make to become more financially secure.
For instance, it could be that you get a job offer in two different states for the same amount of money. Consider the cost of living differences including taxes. For example, let’s say you are offered an income of $60,000 by two companies. One is in a state with no income tax and the other has a state income tax of 5%, up to $3,000 annually. You could save up to $30,000 more in retirement over the course of 10 years without any additional cost of living differences added in.
Consider Investing in Annuities
If you don’t retire with a pension, you can buy one called an annuity. These are insurance products where you’re either investing in either a lump sum in retirement or in a set period of time. You can also choose one with a guaranteed monthly income. By setting different annuities to pay out at different times, you can take advantage of bonuses for letting the insurance company hold on to some of your money longer while utilizing money from other annuities earlier.
It’s instinct to protect your money by investing heavily in safer investments such as savings accounts and money markets. But playing it too safe too early can cost you the growth in investments you need. Luckily, there is a way to invest in safer investment products that have guaranteed growth. Limited liquidity investments either offer you a higher return for losing access to your money for a set period of time that may be as little as a few months or as long as a few decades. Products range from a certificate of deposit – banking products offering a guaranteed interest payout after a set period of time where you can’t touch the money – to annuities. You can add thousands or even years to your retirement nest egg by doing so, but you’ll need to plan carefully with a financial professional to do so.
Planning retirement funds is not a simple endeavor, nor can you come up with an extra million dollars easily. However, you can develop a strategy to invest the money you have wisely and still live your life now.
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