From rising inflation rates and debt levels to an unpredictable market, many workers are concerned about their financial preparedness for the future. According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only about two-thirds of workers are confident in having enough money to live comfortably in retirement. In general, saving for retirement should begin as soon as possible to allow a person to adequately grow their nest egg and provide enough income to live on for years to come. With proper preparation, there can be a greater risk of having enough money to live comfortably as a retiree. No matter the life stage, some steps can be taken to improve financial security for retirement. Here are several ways to get started saving for retirement at any age.
Knowing how much money is needed for retirement can seem complicated, but taking time to break down expenses and estimate the income needed for the future is crucial. Many experts recommend saving around 70 to 90 percent of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living, but this can be higher or lower depending on your personal goals and financial priorities. After determining future expenses and calculating how much savings are needed, it can be easier to determine a savings goal for every month going forward. Thinking about planned expenses, activities, housing costs, and future healthcare needs can be helpful when calculating how much savings will be required for retirement.
People in their 30s are likely well into their careers and possibly taking advantage of a retirement savings account through their employer. They may also have an IRA or 401(k). This can be a great life stage to kick off saving for retirement and make progress toward a more secure financial future. At this age, there is ample time for those savings to grow, and if an employer offers a company match, there is even more opportunity to boost the earning potential. This age can also be a good time to nail down a budget, adopt healthy money habits, pay down debt, and plan for emergencies.
Life insurance not only offers financial protection to your loved ones, but some types of coverage can also provide benefits while you’re alive, like helping supplementing your income in retirement. Life insurance policies that build cash value can supplement retirement income down the road and help fill income gaps that may exist between planned and actual expenses. Typically, any potential cash value can be accessed through policy loans or withdrawals, and the money can be used for a generally tax-free income stream.1
Many saving activities seen in your 30s can also be helpful in your 40s. Taking advantage of an employer offering a 401(k) match can help increase the income put aside for retirement. Other options include investing in an IRA, purchasing an annuity, or adding life insurance to a financial plan. At this life stage, diversifying a portfolio with different financial solutions and investments can allow savings to grow and bulk up the nest egg for the future.
High debt levels can cut into savings, affect retirement preparedness, and may prevent workers from contributing to retirement accounts. Creating a strategy to tackle debt can be beneficial at any age. After making a list of all debts owed from smallest to largest, extra money can be put toward paying off the smallest balance while making the minimum payments on the larger ones. Once the lowest balance is paid off, the extra money can then go toward the next smallest debt, and so on. Each time a debt is paid off, additional funds can be put toward the next on the list.
Many free online and mobile debt repayment tools allow users to track debt payment progress easily and conveniently. Other methods for eliminating debt include:
Retirement could be right around the corner as you enter and exit your 50s. Even if you haven’t accumulated much savings for the future, it’s never too late to start. All life stages can be an excellent time to meet with a financial professional but it can be especially beneficial when feeling behind schedule. There may be ways to invest for the future, create guaranteed retirement income with an annuity, or tighten up spending that helps free up more money for future expenditures. Individuals over 50 may be eligible to make catch-up contributions toward their retirement. The IRS maximum for 401(k)s is $22,500 , and those over 50 can contribute an additional $7,500 to their retirement accounts to help boost their savings ahead of retirement.
Spending habits often ebb and flow throughout our lives. As retirement gets closer, checking in on finances and following good money habits is more important than ever. This can be an opportunity to cut back spending, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and find ways to direct more money toward savings. Trimming out non-essentials like TV streaming services, food delivery, and online shopping can reduce spending and free up more money in the budget to go toward retirement savings.
Financially planning for the future can be a beneficial step at any age. Partnering with a financial professional can help you calculate estimated expenses, create a budget, and explore strategies that allow you to maximize retirement income. Whatever your age or stage in life, it’s never too late to start saving!
1. Policy loans from life insurance policies generally are not subject to income tax, provided the contract is not a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), as defined by Section 7702A of the Internal Revenue Code. A policy loan or withdrawal from a life insurance policy that is an MEC is taxable upon receipt to the extent that the contract's cash value exceeds the premium paid. Distributions from MECs are subject to federal income tax to the extent of the gain in the policy. Taxable distributions are subject to a 10% additional tax before age 59½, with certain exceptions. Policy loans and withdrawals will reduce cash value and death benefits. Policy loans are subject to interest charges. Consult with and rely on your tax advisor or attorney on your specific situation. The term financial professional is not intended to imply engagement in an advisory business in which compensation is not related to sales.