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How To Catch Up On Your Retirement Savings

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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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

        How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps

        We all like to dream about being financially wealthy. For most people though, it remains a dream and nothing more. Why is that?

        It’s because most people don’t set their mind to achieving that goal. They might not be happy in their current situation but they’re comfortable – and comfort is one of the biggest enemies of growth.

        How do you go about developing that millionaire mindset? By following these simple steps:

        1. Focus On What You Want – And Take It!

        So many people are too timid to admit they want something and go for it. When there is something that you want to accomplish don’t think “I could never actually do that”, think “I could do that and I WILL do that”.

        Millionaires play to win, not to avoid defeat.

        This doesn’t mean to have to become a selfish jerk. What it means is becoming more assertive and honest with yourself. You don’t have to grab off other people. There is a big pot of unclaimed gold in the middle of the table — why shouldn’t you be the one to claim it? You deserve it!

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        2. Become Goal-Orientated

        It’s almost impossible to achieve anything if you don’t set firm goals. Only lottery winners become millionaires overnight. By setting yourself attainable goals, you will get there eventually. Don’t try to get rich quickly — get rich slowly.

        Let’s take the idea of making your first million dollars and expand on what kind of goals you might set to get there. Let’s also say you’re starting at a break-even position – you’re making enough to get by with a few luxuries, but nothing more.

        Your goal for the first year can be having $10,000 in the bank within a year. It won’t be easy but it is doable. Next, you need to figure out the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.

        Always look at ways to make growth before cutbacks. With that in mind, you might want to see if you can negotiate a pay rise with your boss, or if there’s another job out there that will pay better. You might be comfortable in your old job but remember, comfort stunts growth.

        You may also have other skills outside of your workplace that you can monetize to boost your bank balance. Maybe you can design websites for people, at a fee of course, or make alterations to clothes.

        If this is still not enough to make the money you need to save $10,000 in a year, then it’s time to look at cutbacks. Do you have a bunch of old junk that someone else might love? Sell it! Do you really need to spend $10 on your lunch everyday when you could make your own for a fraction of the cost?

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        If you are to become a millionaire, you need to start accumulating money.

        Here’re some tips to help you: How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

        3. Don’t Spend Your Money – Invest It

        The reason you need to accumulate money is for step three. Millionaires tend to be frugal people, and that’s because they know the true value of money is in investing. Being your own boss goes hand-in-hand with becoming a millionaire. You’ll want to quit your regular job at some point.

        Stop working for your money and make your money work for you.

        Rather than buying yourself a new iPad, that $500 could be used to invest in the stock market. Find the right shares (more on that later), and that money could easily double within a year.

        There’s not just the stock market — there’s also property, and your own education.

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        4. Never Stop Learning

        The best thing you can invest in is yourself.

        Once most people leave the education system, they think their learning days are over. Well theirs might be, but yours shouldn’t be. Successful people continually learn and adapt.

        Billionaire Warren Buffet estimates that he read at least 100 books on investing before he turned twenty. Most people never read another book after they’ve left school. Who would you rather be?

        Learn everything you can about how economics works, how the stocks markets work, how they trend.

        Learn new skills. If you have an interest in it, learn everything you can about it. You’d be surprised at how often, seemingly useless skills, can become extremely useful in the right situation.

        Start developing the habit of learning continuously: How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You

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        5. Think Big

        While I advise to start off with small goals, you absolutely should have a big goal in mind. If you have a business idea, then that is your ultimate goal – to start that business and make a success of it. If you want to invest your way to millions of dollars and do little work other than research, then that is your big goal.

        There is no shame in not achieving a big goal. If you run a business and aim to make $1 million profit in a year and “only” make $200,000, then you’re still significantly ahead of most people.

        Aim for the stars, if you fail you’ll still be over the moon.

        6. Enjoy the Attention

        To be successful, you have to be willing to promote yourself and enjoy the attention to a certain extent. Now the attention doesn’t need to be on yourself, it could be on your brand, but attention definitely attracts money.

        Never be embarrassed to get your name out there. That means finding a spotlight and being brave enough to step right up underneath it.

        If you run a business, try contacting the local papers. You’d be surprised at how amenable they often are to running a story about you and your business, and it’s all free publicity.

        Above all, remember: You control your own destiny. Push hard enough for anything and you’ll get it.

        More About Thinking Smart

        Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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