Friday, March 9, 2018

Why You Will Run Out of Money in Retirement

Retirement used to be about enjoying your golden years. For many, it was a time to travel or to relax without the need to earn a paycheck. However, times have changed and today, the very thought of retirement brings dread to those 50 and over.

There is a simple reason for this – most of us don’t have the money we need to enjoy a partial retirement, let allow life without work. Don’t believe me, then look at this article about how many Americans lack any sort of savings for an emergency.

To make matters worse, the Federal Government is now running annual deficits of more than $1 trillion and some observers believe the total combined government debt in the U.S. is reaching $70 trillion – that is roughly three-years’ GDP.

Don’t forget Social Security. In fact, this has become the fallback option for most Americans but the reality is that some forecasts predict the trust fund behind those monthly payments will run out of money in the 2030’s.

Think about it, if you are in your mid-50’s the odds are that there won’t be any money left in Social Security by the time you reach retirement age. At least there are pensions. 

Well, unless you are a government employee, the odds are that your employer long ago switched to a 401k plan. In fact, it’s even worse if you are working as a consultant or a contractor as you are basically on your own.

Ok, enough with the scare tactics. I think you get the point – you will probably run out of money in retirement. That is clear and odds are you already know this. The real reason you are reading this article is to find out what you can do to find some semblance of financial freedom in your golden years.

Step 1: Start Saving Something, Anything

While most financial advisors recommend that you should be saving 15 percent of your monthly income. The reality is that this is often a bridge too far for many Americans. Think about it, times are tough and you are probably just making ends meet. 

To make matters worse, the rear differential on your car is probably starting to give you problems.

As such, the idea of setting a goal of saving 15 percent of your income can be daunting. However, saving 1 percent or 5 percent might be something more realistic. 
The added plus is that it gets you into the habit of stowing away a little bit of cash each month. 

So, start saving something, anything today and build on that as you go. Not only will you gain some satisfaction from your growing bank balance but once you get enough money – maybe $500 or so, you can start to put that money into an interest-bearing account. In this way, your money can help you make more money.

Step 2: Cut Back on Your Expenses

Take your monthly cable TV bill. Some people are paying more than $200 every month to have 1,000 channels of nothing that they never watch. 

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this does not compute. Even better, you don’t need to be a techie to figure out ways to watch TV without cable.

Another way to cut back on your expenses is to stop eating out so much. Sure, it is good to support your local businesses but the reality is that eating out generally costs more than cooking at home – a lot more.

Also, don’t fall for those meal box’ subscription services. Yes, some of the recipes are inventive and it saves time when shopping. 

However, you are paying a premium for these services and you can probably get most of the recipes online and the ingredients either through Amazon or at your local supermarket.

An added plus to cutting back on your expenses is that once you get started, you get passionate about finding ways to save money. 

This brings us to an important fact – a penny saved truly is a penny earned. So, if you can find a way to save $200 a month or more that works out roughly $2,400 a year that you have for retirement.

Step 3: Sell Your Home While the Price is High

It used to be that owning your home was a key part of the American Dream. However, if you are over 50, still paying a mortgage, and have no money saved for retirement, then you need to get radical.

One of the best ways to do this is to look at the equity you have in your home – if you are lucky enough to not be underwater on your mortgage. As such, you might want to steal a page from those annoying Millennials at work by rethinking your housing arrangements.

In some cases, this might mean selling your home so that you can cash before the market turns and in other cases, it might mean finding ways to sublet your home as this will turn a massive expense into a revenue-generating operation.

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