Retirement is something we should all be planning for. If we live long enough, we’ll all get to a point where we’ll be ready to stop working and start settling into a more relaxed life. But these days, it’s getting more and more difficult to depend on pensions and Social Security to help you sustain a comfortable living situation for yourself. Now it’s entirely up to you to make sure you provide for yourself beyond the scope of your working career, and learning how to do that can seem a little bit daunting at first. Luckily, however, there are some great ways that you can start saving right now in order to reach your retirement savings goals. Here are the top 10 ways to start saving today!
1. Make a plan.
Without a bigger picture of your retirement needs, it will be difficult to know how much you should be putting away each month. You can do this on your own or you can use an online site to help you manage your money. A simple site like Manilla can help you keep track of your everyday finances, or a site like Personal Capital can help you manage all of your bank accounts, credit cards, investments and more. Both are free, so it doesn’t hurt to set up an account with them.
2. Take advantage of savings accounts.
The best retirement savings accounts are ones that compound your interest. Essentially, this means that you are making interest on your interest! 401k’s and Roth IRAs are both good for this. If you really want to take advantage of a savings account, try an online savings account like Ally or a money market account like EverBank, since they usually have higher APYs because they don’t pay for the same expenses as a brick-and-mortar bank.
3. Contribute to your retirement plans at work.
If your employer offers a 401k plan, they will often match your contribution to it. Try to contribute as much as you can and speak to your employer about the options they offer.
4. Take a closer look at your mortgage.
If you own a home, you could consider refinancing your mortgage to get a lower rate. Once you’re paying less toward your mortgage, you can put the extra money toward your retirement plan. If you want to calculate how much you might be able to save by refinancing, Credit Sesame has a great mortgage refinance calculator to help you out.
5. Diversify your investments.
Dividing your portfolio among stocks and bonds will both make your investments safer and will also likely make more money. Look for different ways to spread risk among your investments. If you need help, look to sites like AnnuityFYI to help with annuities, or if you are looking for tips on diversifying your stock, check out a site like OptionsHouse, which specializes in stock education.
6. Cut your fees out.
Look at your credit card APRs and investment fees and try to see if there are ways you could consolidate your debt or avoid fees in order to save money. You can also look for credit cards that offer the best rewards, so that you are actually getting free money back from the cards. Just remember to pay your balance off every month to avoid interest. Check out our recent article on the credit cards with the best rewards and lowest fees here.
7. Think about your budget during retirement.
Once you’ve managed to comfortably retire, don’t stop there! You can keep budgeting and cutting costs, or planning for big expenditures, like vacations or gifts for the grandkids. Just make sure you have it all in a practical budget that you can stick to – this will make sure your money stretches out. Again, you should try a site like Manilla or if you have income and investments over $100,000, try Personal Capital. These can help you manage all of your finances into your golden years.
8. Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance.
Having the right insurance package will make sure your health needs get taken care of throughout your old age. Many elderly people require treatments and hospital stays from time to time and the bills can really add up. Make sure your medical needs are covered so you can spend your money on other needs.
9. Keep working.
If you’re still healthy and alert at 65, consider extending your career for a few more years. This might not be ideal, but many people enjoy working until they are in their 70s or longer and can continue to save money by doing so. You can always cut your hours back or find a less strenuous job if you want to scale back a little.
10. Start now.
The sooner you begin or increase your contributions to your retirement fund, the sooner you’ll be on the way to a happy and comfortable retirement. Waiting can cause stress later in life when you realize that you haven’t saved enough for retirement. It’s never too soon to start.