Retirement Planning Tips for People Over 40

You’re still in your 20’s, you’re young, fresh, and ready to take on the world. With your first job paying you a decent salary, you decide to spend it all and worry about the future later. Then, you’re in your 30’s, you start having a family and expenses suddenly go up, you think, there’s still lots of time to save for retirement. Then you’re in your 40’s and that’s when you realize… gulp. You should’ve started saving for retirement a long time ago.

With the baby boomers nearing retirement, this scenario can be oh so familiar. For those who are in their 40’s and don’t have a retirement plan yet, don’t worry, there’s still time to make a difference. Below are some retirement saving tips that will make sure you live a comfortable life even when you’re 80.

Being Financially Responsible

The first step is learning to understand your finances. If you haven’t developed a budget for your expenses, then it’s about time you make one. Having a budget can allow you to keep track of where your money goes. This also gives you an insight as to how much you need to live on for the next couple of years. Having a budget can also allow you to make smart decisions on where you can cut down on expenses so you can put more to your retirement account.

Saving and Investing

When saving for your retirement, it doesn’t mean just putting your money away in the bank. Given the limited time you have left, it’s best to invest your cash in safe but still competitive vehicles that will optimize the interest your money can earn without fear of losing it at the time you need it. Starting a retirement plan such as a 401(k) or a 403(b) would be a good place to start. To allow diversity, mutual funds would also be a good place to invest in. Read about the top performing mutual funds in the country and choose a company that is known for its reputation over expected growth. Another area to invest in would be in high interest certificates of deposit.

Implementing Measures

Saving for your retirement late can have obvious consequences such as having to sacrifice more on your present living conditions. To achieve your retirement goals, it would be realistic to cut down on expenses that aren’t really necessary such as passing on that Starbucks cup. Having an extra $100-$200 directed to your retirement account would help a whole lot once it accumulates. Other places to cut expenses would be disconnecting the cable service, using fans instead of air conditioners, and perhaps doing the laundry yourself.

In some cases, even cutting down on these little expenses still won’t allow a comfortable retirement. In that case, it’s time to think about reducing your lifestyle expenses significantly such as moving to a smaller home, trading that expensive car that chugs gasoline like a camel for a more economic vehicle, or even moving to a smaller city with a low cost of living.

Finally, when all else fails, retiring in a third world country with a weaker currency can also be an option since the value of the dollar can buy you a more luxurious life there. After all, the tropics is the ideal place to retire with all the beaches and the comfortable weather throughout the year. Just make sure to bring your partner with you to avoid loneliness.

Top 3 Deadly Mistakes Retirees Make

It’s no surprise that most baby boomers are facing gloom in their retirement. With the way the economy is going and the slashes in healthcare benefits, there isn’t much to look forward to when it comes to retirement. Aside from the economic factors that just can’t be controlled, there are even three deadly mistakes that roughly half of American retirees are making. Find out what they are, and find out how you can avoid them:

1. Using Social Security Benefits Too Early

The longer you keep yourself from using your Social Security benefits, the higher the amount you can get. Unfortunately, according to Social Security’s Annual 2010 Statistical Supplement, 47 percent of Americans who retired in 2009 started using their Social Security benefits at the young age of 62. This is the youngest possible age for benefits to start, but it also gives the lowest possible benefit.

Having a Social Security income can matter a great deal. After all, you’re being paid a monthly benefit for the rest of your life, no matter how old you get or how bad the economy becomes. But the longer you wait to use the benefits, the higher the payments you can get. Just don’t delay using them after the age of 70 though, because the payouts plateau at this age. Again, delaying claiming the benefits can result to bigger payouts. If this can be done, then it’s better to actually discipline yourself.

2. Using Up Retirement Savings Too Quickly

The moment Americans retire, they start spending their retirement savings as if they’ve won the lottery. They tend to underestimate for how long the savings are supposed to last to meet their current and future needs. 36 percent of retirees have no set plan of how much to withdraw and when to withdraw the savings, leaving a much to fear when they have medical emergencies or if they live too long.

The best thing to do is plan just how much you’ll be needing, planning for at least 20 years or more. It can be scary to think about the consequences of outliving your retirement savings.

3. Not Having Enough

And finally, even before Americans retire, most of them don’t really know just how much they will need once they retire. According to the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey made by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) only 42 percent of Americans have calculated just how much they will need upon retirement. This could mean under saving for retirement, leading to a low retirement savings just when they need it most.

The best thing to do is calculate ahead how much you will need in the future, and don’t forget to include inflation.

Not caring about retirement can lead to some shocking consequences that can be difficult to remedy because of the lack of opportunities that are presented to one once he gets older. To offset the possible risks, the best thing to do is plan early, save early, and spend less.