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How To Catch Up On Your Retirement Savings

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How To Catch Up On Your Retirement Savings

We are all looking forward to a time when we can relax and enjoy ourselves without worrying about such trivial things as getting up early or finishing a report. Going through different schools and then several jobs throughout our life teaches us to treasure the precious moments we have to ourselves, but sometimes we can focus so much on this cycle of “work hard – play hard” that we lose sight of the bigger picture.

Many of us tend to spend money on vacations, drinking with friends, gadgets and food in an effort to make the most of our free time, and it isn’t until we hit 40 or 50 that we begin to think about our retirement savings, or lack thereof. Even if you have been leading a somewhat hedonistic lifestyle and not really thinking about the future, you can still catch up on your retirement savings with these few simple strategies.

Generate some additional income

It’s easy to get used to a lifestyle of unrestricted spending, but the problem with such a lifestyle is that you’ll have very little money left over each month, money that could have been tucked away in your bank account. A quick fix is to find a way to earn some additional income. Part-time jobs can give that extra bit of cash you need, but you can also use your skills. You may be able to:

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  • Offer tutoring – you can give lessons to others on anything from music and dancing, to cooking, math or a foreign language. Whatever knowledge and previous experience you have can be put to good use.

Violine lessons
    • Do some freelance work – people need a lot of different services, ranging from ghostwriting and translating to designing and programming, or even bookkeeping, accounting and legal advice. You can do this online, from the comfort of your own home. Good places to look for such work are websites like Upwork and Freelancer.
    • Create and sell a variety of items – toys, clothing, jewelry, furniture, paintings and sculptures are just some of the things that you can sell to people if you have some talent and patience. You can end up earning quite a bit this way if you are good.
    • Sell some of the stuff that is collecting dust in the attic – there are always a few old items that we barely use up in the attic, down in the cellar, or just littered around the house. Some of these might fetch a good price.

    Earning extra money will require you to devote a bit more of your time to work, but you can always try to make some money from the hobbies you enjoy doing anyway.

    Cut down on living expenses

    If you catch yourself worrying about life in retirement, it means it’s time to try and cut down on some unnecessary expenses as soon as possible. Effective budgeting doesn’t mean going into the woods and living of the land to save every possible penny – it’s just about making smart decisions, prioritizing and learning to do without certain luxuries.

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    Pink piggy bank surrounded by stacks of gold coins.

      Looking for things that are on sale, buying in bulk, switching to a more cost-effective brand and using your DIY skills are all great money-saving tactics that don’t require you to significantly lower your quality of life. Being careful about how you spend your money means you will have more funds to put aside, which brings us to our next point.

      Catch-up contributions

      In the US, for people who have hit 50, the best strategy is to put as much money into your 401k as you can. Some company retirement savings plans allow you to put additional funds into your 401k by way of reducing your salary by said amount. You get a bit less money per month, but it goes into your retirement fund and you get a tax deduction. These catch-up contributions can go all the way up to $5,500, which can make a big difference in the long run. Other countries such as Canada and Australia have similar schemes, so check out what is available in your locality.

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      Consider an IRA rollover

      An IRA gives you a greater freedom and because the penalties for early withdrawal are far less than with your typical 401k plan, you have the option of making good use of your money a bit earlier, e.g. in case of emergency or tempting investment opportunity. Experts agree that rolling over your 401k into an IRA is a good option for those who haven’t put much thought into their retirement fund for years and want to catch up quickly. You also have the catch-up contribution option with a maximum of $1,000 on both traditional and Roth IRAs.

      Move to a smaller home

      Sold Home For Sale Sign & New House

        If you are in your late forties or early fifties, chances are you’ve sent your kids off to college, and if you live alone there is not a whole lot of need for huge amount of space. Moving into a smaller home in a quiet neighborhood – or perhaps an apartment in the city – and selling your old house can be a good way of infusing your bank account with a large sum of money, as well as drastically cutting costs on maintenance.

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        There is no need to panic if your retirement fund doesn’t look that good and you’re already pushing 50 – with a bit of strategic planning you can implement money-saving measures, get some additional income on the side and do a number of different things to ensure that you can spend your retirement relatively carefree.

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Published on November 8, 2021

        How To Achieve Financial Freedom With the Right Mindset

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        How To Achieve Financial Freedom With the Right Mindset

        What would being financially free mean to you? Have you made the mistake of thinking that financial freedom requires millions of dollars and decades of hard work? When it comes to our relationship to money, the answers really lie in our mindset. Change your mindset around money and your entire financial outlook will change with it.

        And no: we’re not talking about putting a check for a million dollars under your pillow at night. This is about you becoming a financially free person, in whatever capacity you choose. And that’s really the key: it needs to be defined by you. So many people outsource this responsibility to society/celebrities/the government etc… and as a result never achieve it.

        What if you could identify what financial freedom looks like for you, realize that it is possible to get there in a matter of a few months and then build a road map to do just that?

        Read on, because that’s what we’re going to open you up to. This isn’t about giving you specific strategies “guaranteed to work in five minutes or your money back…blah blah.” This is about awakening you to just how powerful you are, where your blocks lie and how to smash through them effectively.

        Financial Freedom – What is it?

        Well like I said: I’m not going to define this for you. That misses the whole point of this article, but let’s lay out some ideas to get you started.

        Typically, when we talk about financial freedom in the west, we really mean: freedom from needing to work, in order to meet financial obligations. We know that there has been a rise in depression amongst nine-to-fivers, 62% as a matter of fact between 2019 and 2020 in the USA.[1] It’s therefore no wonder that there has been correlative uptick in the search for alternative solutions to finances.

        This depression is largely as a result of feeling trapped, unable to realize potential and being denied opportunity. It is also likely that, thanks to a more global world and social media: we see just how abundant life can be for some; like a carrot dangled tantalisingly close, but just out of reach. We yearn for more meaning in our lives, more excitement and to be able to live on our terms.

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        Finances are (as we see it) the stumbling block and the preserve of the chosen few…not us.

        So to start building an accurate picture of what financial freedom would be for you, begin with what your life would look like if you didn’t have to worry about money. How would you feel if you didn’t have to consider your monthly budget, when putting your hand in your pocket to pay for lunch?

        The point is that a lot of the stress and resulting depression that comes from feeling like a ‘wage-slave’ is down to our lack of clarity on what we actually want. We get caught, focussing on what we lack and that perpetuates a mindset of lack that very quickly is reflected in our reality. We are allowing our subconscious, emotional mind to be bombarded with imagery every day that reenforces a sense that we aren’t good enough. That we do not have what it takes.

        That wouldn’t happen though if we had done the work of pinning down exactly what we wanted in the first place.

        Does Financial Freedom Come at Extreme Levels of Net Worth?

        There is a tendency, thanks again largely to how we are conditioned through media, to think that financial freedom only comes at extreme levels of net worth. What if I told you that is completely ill-founded and untrue?

        Using the standard/assumed definition of financial freedom for a moment; this means that you need enough capital to generate a return that is greater than, or equal to your monthly expenditure. That doesn’t necessarily tell the full picture, but nevertheless; it’s is a good place to start.

        If your monthly outgoings (mortgage, bills etc…) come to $3,000 for argument’s sake, you can achieve that with as little as $108,000 invested over three years.[2]

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        Hardly the millions you had probably envisioned is it?

        Remember: we’re not talking about you living a lavish lifestyle necessarily. If that is what you want; fantastic, it’s certainly achievable, but what we’re getting at here is your ability to meet all of your financial obligations without having to work.

        I’m sure you’re unlikely to find $108,000 down the back of your couch, but it is a figure that is well within reach of most working adults. A $36,000 salary opens you up to borrowing that kind of money, and even if you have to continue working in the short term in order to service the debt and keep up with your bills; you’ll have a clear end goal in sight.

        And you’ll have doubled your income in the meantime, for the same amount of work!

        How To Achieve Financial Freedom With the Right Mindset

        As we touched on earlier, coming at your life from a space of ‘lack’ simply perpetuates more of the same. As I always say: your environment doesn’t lie. Look around you, if you’re dissatisfied with any aspect of your life, you first need to accept responsibility for it. If you don’t, you’re abdicating your power to make new choices.

        You may well have been the victim of circumstance in the past, but how you respond and what you do with that experience is up to you. If you choose to look for the positive, however minor it might be in any given situation – your experience of life will begin to change.

        This is, in essence, what The Law of Attraction is all about. What lies behind it is your reticular activating system (RAS). The part of your brain designed to filter out the (as it sees it) unless information, highlight the important information and prioritize your safety. Thanks to it being part of your primeval/‘lizard’ brain however, it predates the conscious mind, intellect and reason.

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        The issue for a lot of us is that we haven’t understood how to communicate in a way that our RAS understands. We can’t translate our conscious desires and are therefore caught in a loop between two incongruous forces.

        Our subconscious wants us to be alive and it bases its criteria for this, largely on the principal of: same = safe. Meanwhile, your quality of life, passive income, work/life balance etc… are inconsequential. That part of your mind doesn’t give a hoot about the utility bill or being able to afford a holiday.

        It is perfectly possible to show you subconscious/RAS the benefits of financial freedom though, or indeed any other outcome you’d like to see in your life. You just have to speak its language. Becoming debt free and financially free is actually one of the easiest things you can communicate to your subconscious, because you have so much ‘real-world’ experience with money.

        Here’s how:

        1. Start by clearing your mind and being present – find a meditation, visualization or breathing exercise that calms your mind, allows you to focus on the present moment and become an observer of your surroundings. The point of this is to stop all of those thoughts buzzing around in your head that are pulling you back to the past, or projecting you into an imagined future.
        2. Then build a mental movie or slideshow of what your average day would look like, were you to achieve financial freedom. We’re not talking about big occasions, huge wins or events; just an average day.
        3. From your position of present observer – start to observe the feelings that arise as you go about this average day in your new life. Do you feel your shoulders relax and drop? Have you got excited ‘butterflies’ in your stomach? Are you smiling more?

        Learn to recall these feelings at will – this will connect the dots for your RAS and you will soon start noticing a shift. Think of it as connecting with your desired future and pulling it into/towards your present.

        Bonus Hack – Practice Gratitude

        We’ve already discussed how you can start attracting/observing the opportunities that will enable you to achieve financial freedom. This involves a lot of work in order to finesse, but the principals are easy enough to understand. Something that we can all do, no matter what we’re trying to achieve, is practice gratitude.

        Using the same principals that I’ve outlined above: something of a ‘catch-all’ that we can train our minds to produce more of, is gratitude. If we can shift our mindset so that the next time some negative, external and unforeseen event occurs, we are still able to be grateful for it; your entire experience will shift.

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        Not only will you observe more to be grateful for all around you on a daily basis, but you will shift out of a mindset of ‘lack’. All of the barriers that stood in your way before (not enough capital, stuck in a job I hate etc…) they will shift to becoming things that support your desires and goals.

        For example:

        The job you hate, when reframed as the means to support a transitional stage of your life (i.e. enabling you to borrow money to invest) suddenly gives you a resource to be grateful for.

        The added beauty of this is that your RAS doesn’t know the difference between a big win and a small win. You being truly, deeply grateful for your socks (for example) carries the same weight as being grateful for your health, or your spouse. This is why I say “practice” gratitude. You can start whenever you want!

        Look around you right now and find something that you really are grateful for, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential.

        Practicing this will create a snowball effect. Much quicker than you might think: you’ll be overwhelmed with gratitude for your life and all that’s in it.

        In Summary

        Financial freedom is more within your reach than you probably think or feel. Understand that the limits you’re assuming to be there are largely a product of your subconscious mind, having been drip-fed evidence of that over the course of your lifetime. Changing that might take a lot of effort in the short-term, like cranking over an old car, but the effects will begin to build up quickly and self-perpetuate.

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        Apply this mindset to your financial situation and you will find that it too will begin to ‘snowball’. Financial freedom is closer than you think, so start looking for it today!

        Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

        Reference

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