Happy senior man and woman couple dancing and holding hands on a deserted tropical beach with bright clear blue skyYou’ve decided to retire, or you’re getting close to your expected retirement date. But after running a projection of your income, you’re feeling disappointed and worried. What do you do if your retirement income won’t be enough to sustain you? Try these tips to put more money in your pocket.

Sell your home. Home ownership can be a burden in retirement, especially if you own a large house that requires too much maintenance. If you sell your home, you could tap into significant amounts of equity and perhaps even pay cash for a smaller place. You could also reduce your property taxes, homeowners association fees, utilities, and maintenance costs. While you’re at it, consider purging before the big move, and sell off excess furniture and knickknacks.

Maximize your Social Security benefits. Claiming your benefits before full retirement age will result in permanently smaller payments. On the other hand, waiting beyond full retirement age will net you a larger monthly check (by 8 percent each year). It might be worth it to wait just a bit longer to retire.

Make catch-up contributions. Hopefully, you’re already making the maximum allowable contributions to your qualified retirement fund each year ($18,000 in 2016). If you’re over age 50, you can make additional catch-up contributions each year ($6,000 in 2016). You will enjoy the same tax advantages, and might also earn a larger employer match (depending upon your company’s rules).

Review your fund expenses. Each of your fund selections has its own expense ratio. In the past, you might have enjoyed the potential returns of a few funds with high expense ratios. But now that you’re getting closer to retirement, reducing your expenses could be a good idea. Look for expense ratios of less than 1 percent, unless you have a good reason to invest in funds with higher charges.

Consider an annuity. An immediate annuity is an insurance product which provides you with guaranteed payments for the rest of your life. In some cases this could be beneficial to living off of your retirement fund, which could run out of cash if you live a long time.

Work just a bit longer. If you’re seriously disappointed in your projected retirement income, another solution is to keep working a few more years. During this time, make a serious effort to pay off your debts, and stash as much money in your retirement account as possible.

Adjust your spending. Of course, the most practical way to cope with a restricted budget is to adopt more frugal spending habits. Review your monthly budget carefully, and reduce or eliminate unnecessary items.

For more help with your retirement budget, or finding ways to maximize your income, call our office at (760) 436-1711 to schedule an appointment.

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