Retirement catch-up strategies
If you’ve put off saving for retirement or you’ve saved less than you think you might need, it’s not too late. Consider these eight ideas to keep you on track to reach your retirement goals.
1. Make the most of retirement accounts.
If your employer offers a retirement plan, try to contribute enough to maximize any matching funds your employer may offer. In addition to your employer’s plan, contribute as much as you can to an IRA. If appropriate, consider a Roth IRA, which can help you build potentially tax-free savings.
If you’re age 50 or older and already reaching your standard contribution limits, take full advantage of making catch-up contributions to your IRA and employer’s retirement plan. For traditional and Roth IRAs, the catch-up limit is $1,000 above the standard limits. For certain employer plans like 401(k)s (not including SIMPLE plans), the 2015 catch-up limit is $6,000 above the standard contribution limits.
2. Save beyond your retirement accounts.
Contributing the maximum to your retirement accounts might be insufficient, particularly if you don’t have access to a retirement plan through work. Determine if you need to supplement your tax-advantaged savings with a regular, taxable investment account.
3. Keep saving when changing jobs.
When you leave a job, your decision for your retirement savings could include these options: leaving assets in the plan, rolling assets over into a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, moving assets into a new employer’s plan, or cashing out and withdrawing assets. Avoid cashing out your retirement savings because withdrawing from your plan before retirement can carry high taxes and penalties.
By keeping your savings in an employer-sponsored plan or rolling it over to an IRA, your investments continue to grow over time. Even small-balance accounts can add up when they compound over many years.
4. Start an emergency fund.
If you don’t have a savings account for emergencies, you may want to start one so that you don’t have to dip into your nest egg to meet unexpected expenses. Financial professionals recommend saving three to six months of expenses for emergencies.
5. Make the most of new money.
Consider putting part or all of any bonuses, tax refunds, inheritances, or other lump-sum payments into your retirement savings. You can even use direct deposit to put all or part of your tax refund directly into an IRA.
6. Monitor your investments.
Sit down at least once each year to review your personal situation, your risk tolerance, and your portfolio’s asset allocation to make sure your investments are on track to meet your retirement goals.
7. Work longer.
If your circumstances allow it, consider delaying your retirement. This will allow you to continue earning an income and defer Social Security benefits until a later date. This may give you the opportunity to save more in your retirement accounts, make more catch-up contributions, and receive larger monthly Social Security payments when you retire.
8. Manage expenses.
If you are disciplined about managing your expenses, you can free up more of your income to put away for retirement savings. You may want to consolidate your debts through a lower-rate loan or line of credit or consider accelerating your mortgage payments to pay off your mortgage faster. It’s never too late to take control of your retirement. By making these tips a part of your retirement savings routine, you can begin to make up for lost time.
For help catching up with your retirement, call 1-800-233-6370.