If you are like many people, your retirement savings are not where they need to be at this stage in your life.
If you are young (more than 15-20 years out from retirement), you still have time to adjust and begin saving more, allowing additional time for your money to work for you. Click here to read about the power of compounding interest.
If, however, you are less than 10 years away from your planned retirement, you may have few options available to you:
1) Make the decision to live below (not within) your means. By reducing your expenses now, you should be able to find additional money to place towards your retirement. You should already have a budget in place that you can review to find areas you are willing to cut (cable, hairdresser, an extra car, eating out, vacations) for a more secure future. For additional ideas, click here to read 52 Ways to Save.
2) Reconsider your risk tolerance and your investments. Are you able to invest more aggressively for the opportunity of greater returns? What percent of your retirement savings are you content with having in more stable, low return investments? This is a very personal area of finance and you need to understand your risk tolerance; click here to learn more.
3) Be careful of financial predators. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Question how someone can guarantee an income or investment rate in the current economy. Beware if you are encouraged to move all your savings to a product like an insurance annuity or investment strategy; diversification is a valuable tool that helps lower risk and weather changes in the market. You will also want to be aware of the role commissions may play; is this decision in your best interests or theirs? Don’t be so scared that you don’t have enough saved for retirement that you become a victim of a scam. Always speak to an independent financial advisor before making big investment decisions.
4) Recognize that you may need extra time before you are able to retire. If you are saving all you can, willingness to work a little bit longer may be your best friend. Not only will additional time allow you to save more, it allows for additional potential growth of your savings. You might just need to move your projected retirement date a few years forward. Or consider phasing into retirement by moving to part-time rather than full time employment. Consider working as a consultant in your field of expertise. There’s no rule that says retirement has to be 100% or nothing.
Your retirement is just that—your retirement. It may not look like the retirement of your parents or grandparents. Know what retirement looks like to you. Know what you want, and know what you are saving to achieve. And go for it.
Save as if your future depends on you.