Even if you're juggling other financial goals, there are steps you can take to help you get back on track.
YOU’RE BUSY WITH YOUR CAREER, maybe buying a home, having kids, saving for college—even starting a business. It’s the stuff of life—and retirement often takes a back seat to all of those immediate financial priorities. Suddenly, you’re hitting your 40s or 50s, and you realize you’ve fallen behind on planning for your future.
So how can you catch up? Debra Greenberg, Director of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America has the following suggestions—each of which can help you get closer to your retirement goals. “Don’t be discouraged,” Greenberg says. “Even seemingly small amounts can add up over the years, and taking action now increases the likelihood you’ll be better prepared to meet any unexpected challenges that come your way.”
401(k) – Be sure you’re getting your full company match, if one is offered, so that you’re not leaving money on the table. Don’t forget: an annual “catch-up” contribution of $6,500 is allowed after age 50 for 2020.
Roth IRA or Traditional IRA – Want to save more? If you’re married and not working, for 2020 you may be able to make a $6,000 pre-tax contribution to a spousal IRA. Additional $1,000 contribution allowed after age 50.
Health Savings Account – If you have a high-deductible health plan, HSAs can be used for qualified medical expenses now, and after age 65 you may be able to pay Medicare premiums with tax-free distributions.
Paying off high-interest credit card debt should be a priority. Doing so will give you more money to direct toward your retirement. Says Greenberg, “A financial advisor can help you figure out how to manage competing financial needs while still saving for retirement.
If you work past age 65—or consult as you phase into retirement—“that can potentially give your assets more time to grow before you start drawing upon them,” Greenberg notes.
Working longer can help you defer Social Security. Each year you delay taking Social Security after full retirement age, your monthly benefits grow by 8% until age 70.1
The equity you might have accumulated in your home.
Reduced living costs (like transportation, housing, maintenance bills)
A smaller mortgage—or if you can buy a new place outright, eliminating a mortgage completely.
A potential tax advantage if you relocate to a town with lower property taxes—or to one of the seven states with no personal income tax.
Many people tend to shift to more conservative investments as they near retirement; others simply have a conservative investing bias. But today’s longer life expectancies mean that your money has to last longer and work harder. “Talk to an advisor about adjusting your asset allocation to pursue more growth, without losing sight of your risk tolerance,” Greenberg says.
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1Social Security Administration