Next year, something called Peak 65 is happening. This moniker refers to the fact that more Americans will reach the traditional retirement age of 65 in the same year than at any time in history. Crazy, right? However, many of these people don’t feel like they’ve saved enough to live comfortably after they retire. Here are some ways to maximize your savings and cut costs so you can be prepared and retire with less financial worry.
Use a retirement calculator. This is key. You’ll be able to see if what you have in retirement so far will be enough to actually live on. Here’s the tool. Once you know where you are, you’ll be able to determine your financial goals.
Catch up on retirement savings. If you’re over age 50, you can make something called “catch-up contributions.” You can increase your 401(k) salary deferrals by up to $30,000 and up to $7,500 in your IRA. Look into this ASAP. The more you contribute, the more you’ll close the gap between what you have and what you’ll need.
Put together a sample budget. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a household run by someone aged 65+ spends on average $4,345 a month, which is about $52,141 a year. Given this fact, it makes sense to take a look at your budget to see where you can cut back. Do you have numerous streaming services or magazine subscriptions? Can you use public transportation instead of driving? Must you buy name brands at the grocery store or would generic suffice? Review several months of expenses and ask yourself these types of questions. You might be surprised at what you discover and how you can save.
Utilize your Health Savings Account (HSA). This is a great tool to help you prep for health care costs when you retire. Once you enroll in Medicare at 65, you can still use your HSA investments, even if you no longer qualify to contribute. But you can get started on this early. Once you’re 55, you can contribute an extra $1,000 to your HSA each year on top of the maximum amount you’re using to catch up.
Consider part-time work. Having some supplemental income is a great idea when you retire. You’ll not only keep busy, which for some is critical, but also generate extra cash. You might even start a small business. What is it that you’ve always wanted to do? What are you passionate about? These questions are worth exploring.
Move to a less expensive city. There are some states that are simply less costly. And when you’re downsizing, which lots of people do when they retire, it makes a difference in your quality of life. For instance, Montana doesn’t have any sales tax, and state taxes are 33 percent less than the U.S. average. Here are a few others to consider.
These are just a few of the things you can do to prepare for one of the most important seasons of your life. No matter when or how you decide to retire, in the long run, it pays to start thinking about it before these years are even on the horizon.