Our parents and grandparents certainly made retirement look easy. This generation of workers, however, often reports feelings of apathy or concern about their own retirements. You might even feel this way yourself! Why are so many American workers worried about retirement? The recent downturn in our economy is certainly a factor, but luckily it appears that things are headed upward once again. Most people who fear retirement have made at least one of the following five mistakes. Avoid them, or remedy them now, and you can set yourself up for a more secure future.
Failure to plan. In your twenties, you were just getting started in your career. In your thirties, your focus might have been on marriage, children, or saving for a home. If you neglected to save for retirement during these decades, you have fallen a bit behind the curve. Luckily, you can save a significant amount throughout your forties, and during your fifties you can make additional catch-up contributions to your retirement plan.
Inadequate savings. If you didn’t begin saving early in your career, or if you saved only the bare minimum, you might be worried that your retirement savings won’t be adequate to fund your retirement. Take the necessary steps to reduce your spending and divert that money into a retirement plan. Remember, also, to take advantage of the maximum match amount offered by your company.
Perhaps your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, in which case it may be wise for you to open and fund an Individual Retirement Plan (IRA). Whichever type of retirement plan you utilize, check to see if you’re eligible to receive the Saver’s Credit on your tax return. If you receive raises or tax refunds, divert those funds to your retirement plan as well.
Retirement fund loans. It is almost never a good idea to take a loan from your retirement fund. Find another way to fund emergencies that may occur. If you have already taken this type of loan, do everything you can to pay it back quickly, and avoid this mistake in the future.
Prioritizing college over retirement. We understand how important your children are to you, but keep in mind there are many ways to fund an education (scholarships, federal and state grants, loans, work study, community college, etc). However, there is only one way to fund your retirement. Make it your top priority.
Worries about Social Security. Social Security was never meant to fully fund retirement, but it will likely be an important part of your income. You might be worried that your benefits won’t be there or that they won’t be sufficient to boost your retirement income. Call us to schedule an appointment and we can show you all the different strategies to maximize your Social Security benefits.