Many people, for one reason or another, have put off planning and saving for retirement until retirement age is just around the corner. Getting a late start with your retirement fund doesn’t exclude you from participation, but it may require you to do a little extra to enjoy the retirement you have always dreamed about.
Whether you choose to open a Roth IRA or participate in your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan, you should start putting money into a retirement fund today. While the amount you contribute may not be great, something is better than nothing.
Next, you should focus on paying off your debt and avoid gaining new debt. Start by eliminating your smallest amounts of debt and then use the extra funds you’ll have to work on the next loan. This particular step may require you to make some painful lifestyle changes, but your new found discipline, and financial resources, will put you on a path to a more secure retirement.
You should also take advantage of any available tax breaks. For example, after age 50, the IRS allows “catch up” contributions to an IRA. This basically allows you (and your spouse) to pay more into IRA accounts than the standard annual amount. These additional contributions can add up quickly as the years roll by.
Another strategy you may want to consider is supplementing your income. If you can manage to earn extra funds by taking on a part-time job, adding more shifts or working overtime, you’ll be able to put more money toward your retirement.
And finally, use automatic withdrawals to fund your various retirement and investment accounts. It is significantly easier to save your money when it never actually gets into your hands.
Saving for retirement can seem overwhelming, but it is not the mountain it appears to be. Begin today, gain momentum, and watch a more secure future unfold.
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