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4 Simple Ways to Save Enough for Retirement

4 Simple Ways to Save Enough for Retirement

Odds are you’re one of the nearly 60% of Americans moderately or very worried about not having enough money for retirement. Regardless of your age, profession, income or social status, a desire for retirement savings continues to top seemingly every personal finance poll. The question is: what simple things can you do to calm your nerves and instill the confidence you need as retirement approaches?

Stop Refusing Free Money

Recent data suggests as much as 80% of companies who offer retirement plans also offer to match employee contributions, up to an average of nearly 5% of each employee’s pay. Effectively, that’s a 5% bonus every single year just for contributing enough to meet your employer’s match program. Ask your Human Resources contact if you’re eligible to participate in your company’s retirement plan. Stop refusing free money!

Max Out Traditional Retirement Plan Contributions

If you are to have any any chance of saving enough for retirement, you need to save much more than the minimum to meet your employer’s match. For most traditional workplace retirement accounts, the 2014 maximum contribution was $17,500. If you contribute most, or all, of the maximum consistently year after year, you’ll be well on your way to a robust retirement

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For self-employed workers and non-traditional retirement accounts, check with your financial advisor for annual limits to be sure you’re maxing out in compliance. You do have a financial advisor, right?!

Assuming you’re 30 years old, make $75k per year, plan to retire at age 65 and earn 6% rate of return in your 401k, the below chart shows effect on your bi-monthly paycheck and the monumental difference between just contributing to get the match versus maxing out the $17,500 allowable.

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Bankrate.com 401k Calculator

    Go to BankRate.com’s 401k Contribution Calculator to customize your own scenario.

    Tax-Advantaged Savings

    Contributing to traditional retirement accounts is fundamental, but what if your contribution limits are too low to allow adequate savings? Or what if you’re concerned about the taxes you’ll pay down the road on the traditional retirement account income?

    A healthy retirement plan should include tax-advantaged savings like a Roth IRA, if you you qualify. Tax efficient investments like municipal bonds may make sense for a conservative portion of your savings. An often-overlooked savings vehicle, perfect for tax-advantaged retirement income, is a cash value life insurance program.

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    Cash Value Life Insurance may not be a good fit for everyone but the tax-favored savings accumulation, flexibility and death benefit are attracting more and more savers, especially young professionals.

    Protect Your Savings

    If you’ve followed the nuts and bolts of saving for a healthy retirement listed above, you will be in good shape. If you’re truly a saver, protecting what you’ve worked so diligently to build should go hand in hand with your plan. Protecting your savings means a few different things:

    First, don’t take more risk than you’re comfortable taking. Unless you’re burying coffee cans filled with cash in your backyard, every retirement savings plan includes some measure of risk. Fully understand the risk in your investment program or keep asking your financial advisor more questions until you understand and are comfortable with your investment plan. A properly allocated and diversified savings plan helps guard against any major economic swings.

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    Ensure you don’t get wiped out by insuring your plan. Life insurance and long term care protection should be part of every healthy retirement plan. Owning adequate life insurance can prevent financial ruin and emotional distress for your Family during the savings years — just watch a few of the short videos at non-profit LifeHappens.org to see what I mean. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics show that 70% of people turning Age 65 will need some type of Long Term Care services. Lifetime income annuities may also be a nice compliment to your retirement plan as you get closer to retirement age. These annuity programs can guarantee an income for life but still enjoy a potential market rate of return. It’s important to note the earlier you secure these important retirement protections, the cheaper they will be.

    Saving enough for retirement may seem like trapping a unicorn or finally spotting that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In other words, it may seem like a fantasy. While your individual retirement goals are different from your neighbors’, follow these four simple concepts diligently and you will absolutely retire with confidence. Saving enough for retirement is simple. Not easy. Simple.

    “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” Brian Tracy, Leading Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur

    Featured photo credit: betacam via freeimages.com

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    Last Updated on November 24, 2020

    10 Steps To Help You Make Your First Million Dollars

    10 Steps To Help You Make Your First Million Dollars

    Money may not be everything, but the things it could afford makes certain things so much easier. While it can’t afford true love, kindness, passion and wisdom, certain processes becomes much more efficient. A million dollar today compared to a million dollar ages ago is indeed a lot different in terms of value. At the present, it is more possible to make your first million if you really want it. Especially, there are many ways the world can offer to help you make your first million dollars.

    Believe you are capable, and you’ll get there. Here are 10 ways to ensure you will reach that goal:

    1. Stop planning, start doing

    “If you wait, all that happens is that you get older!” – Mario Andretti

    The first step is sometimes the most challenging step. If you want to get ahead, you should know not only where to go but also when you are going to perform your first move. Planning alone won’t make you succeed. Too much preparation won’t get your things done. So start doing and remain focused on the goal you’ve set. For example, if you want to earn more money through your current job, seek to have a promotion within the organization or find a company that will help you increase your salary. It’s always about starting to take upon yourself the beliefs and habits of highly successful people.

    2. Define your priorities

    It’s not enough to simply become busy, give most of your attention to what matters the most and what is important to you. Make sure these priorities you create will continue to support your goal. For example, you want to own a brand new car. What exact amount do you need to feel accomplished? What are your ways and means to make it? These are the questions you probably need to ask so you can begin constructing your priorities list. Let’s say, less spending on home furniture can give you more saving that can accumulate until you achieve your dream car.

    3. Track your gains and losses

    Sometimes you need to take a look back and see the big picture to realize what you have and where you are today. Tracking your gains and losses means monitoring your past activities to come up with a conclusion regarding your progress. Based on your conclusion, you can decide what you should do next.

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    4. Make an investment

    Invest in something that will accumulate wealth. Invest in assets and avoid too much liabilities. Investment is like watching your plants grow. How much you keep matters more than how much you spend. Make saving a habit. Save while you can.

    5. Be patient

    No successful person will think he can make tons of money overnight. Many have found themselves in debt because of too much living in the now. While there are many people as well who really get their patience paid off. Patience works to most people. Being patient doesn’t mean waiting while doing nothing. Remember: no aspiring millionaire is a couch potato.

    6. Work with what you have and make the most out of it

    Instead of thinking about what you lack, focus on what you have and what amazing things you can do with it. Spend your time and energy wisely.

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    7. Expand your knowledge

    “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” – Socrates

    There are several exciting ways to improve your knowledge and perspective about what’s new in your field, it’s endless. It is important so you don’t get stuck to one thing. Have courage to push that goal, you have to keep moving, you have to get deep.

    8. Establish routine

    Be careful with your actions, you become what you do. Begin each morning with a clear mind and definite plans. Stick faithfully to your routine and finish what you’ve started.

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    9. Adapt and develop

    You can only do better once you begin to recognize what you need to improve. Change is the only constant thing. Adapt new ways and new strategies to develop more effective results. The value of money is never stable, it changes over time. You have to keep an eye to those changes.

    10. Focus on your goal

    Keep a clear and determined mind constantly to avoid distractions that drain your energy and mislead you. Know your target and your purpose of getting there. Remind yourself everyday to attract favorable things.

    Featured photo credit: Giuliano Maiolini via flic.kr

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