There’s no way around it. Once you hit a certain age, you need to start thinking about retirement planning. But, you should begin this process well before you hit the age of 55. For seniors who are at this age, or for those who are fast approaching, if you haven’t yet started your retirement fund, or have, but it’s not where you want it to be, these are some quick tips to get you started on your retirement savings and building that nest egg.
You start by starting. Sounds simple enough, because it is. It doesn’t matter if you earn $40K or $400K a year, you can put something aside, so do so. Even if it is $50 or $100 a month, it’s a start. And, the sooner you begin with your savings, the more you’ll have, and the more you’ll be able to contribute, as you get older.
If you’re under the age of 55 and thinking about retirement, and have nothing set aside, just start. You’ll be surprised how much that little contribution you’re making each month will add up.
Retirement savings are offered by most employers today. If you have a 401(k), pension, IRA, and other retirement accounts with your employer, contribute to it. You can automatically contribute per pay period from your paycheck. So, it’s something you won’t think about, plus it’s money you’re not foolishly spending elsewhere. Another benefit of doing this is you pay less in taxes. For example, if you’re in the 12% bracket, for that $100 you automate to contribute, you’re only paying tax on $88 (or close to it). So, you’re setting aside more, and paying taxes on a smaller portion of what you’re contributing to your 401(k) or other retirement accounts monthly.
Match that Contribution
Many employers will contribute to your 401(k) and allow you to match their contribution. Let’s say your employer offers 50% match, up to 5% of your salary. If you can, contribute the full amount, do so. It’s a great way to automate your savings, maximize what you’re putting aside for retirement, plus it’s not taxable until you tap into that retirement fund. So, for each year you are contributing, you’re not paying taxes on those matches and contributions. You’ll only pay taxes when the time comes for you to actually dip into that retirement fund you have been so patiently saving and contributing to for so many years.
Catch-Up Contributions (50+)
If you are 50 or older, catch up contributions are a great way to build up your retirement fund, especially if you weren’t contributing to it (or were doing so in a limited fashion) when you were younger. Once you hit the age of 50, you can match a higher amount with catch up contributions to an IRA. There are limits in place, depending on whether it’s an IRA or 401(k), but if you can contribute a bit more as you’re getting older, and have fewer expenses, this is a great way to build up that retirement fund even higher for when you’re ready to retire and stop working full time.
Do it automatically. If it comes out of your paycheck, you don’t have the option to avoid contributing to your retirement savings each month. However, you have consciously write a check, you might skip contributing a few months out of the year, and this can really come back to hurt you when the time comes to retire. If your employer allows you to automate deductions from your paycheck and contribute to your retirement accounts, do so. It’s the error-proof way to ensure you’re saving, and avoid using the money some other way which won’t benefit you as you’re getting older.
There’s no doubt about it, the earlier you start planning for retirement, the better, and the more you can set aside. But, just because you didn’t start so early in life, doesn’t mean you can’t save anything. The best way to get started with your retirement planning and to begin saving for your retirement is to start. No matter how little it is get started in doing so!