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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

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        Last Updated on August 20, 2018

        30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

        30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

        Spending time with friends is, in and of itself, a great way to pass the time without spending a lot of money. But if you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eateries together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too.

        No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to go and do fun things that don’t cost a lot.

        If you are having trouble convincing your friends to do things on the cheap, then be upfront with them. Tell them straight out that you can’t spend that kind of money right now — and don’t let them pay for you either. But here are some great alternatives you can offer.

        30 Fun Things To Do With Friends Without Spending Much

        1. A potluck dinner party. Host a dinner party and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. If you are not comfortable with cooking, maybe try and learn how to cook a new dish together with your friends.

        2. Host a spa day. Give each other manicures. Try out new hairstyles. Make some facial masks or exfoliates using natural, at-home ingredients. Then drink mimosas.

        3. Movie marathon. Log into Netflix and watch every episode of “Stranger Things” Or do an ’80s movie marathon, watching “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and all of our old favorites. Don’t have a Netflix membership? Get the free trial just for the marathon!

        4. Pinterest party! You know all of those cool Pinterest crafts you say you’re going to do? Do them. At home one night with friends. Then make up some of those bacon-wrapped whatevers you’ve been dying to try!

        5. Go to the park. Pack a picnic. Hang out. Watch people. Play on the swings.

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          6. Have an organization party. Set up a day of each weekend where you go to each of your friends’ houses and help them clean out a closet, a room, a garage, whatever. Serve drinks and food and trade stuff among yourselves.

          7. Hold a yard sale. After all of that cleaning, why not hang out together and make some extra cash too?

          8. Concerts in the park. All summer long, many parks host free concerts. Go with your friends. Hang out, bring a picnic dinner. This is a very relaxing way to chill out on a hot summer night after work.

          9. Volunteer together. Offer to do the yard work for the local senior center or hang out with the kids at the YMCA. After a few hours of volunteering together, you will have new respect for each other and something new to chat about.

          10. Play board games. Drag out the Scrabble or the Yahtzee. You can hang out and play all sorts of games with large groups or small ones. Hold a tournament and compete against each other. Here’re some board games ideas.

          11. Video game tournament. Not into board games? OK. Well, how about a video game tournament? Whether it’s the latest dancing game or “Call of Duty,” play against each other and award prizes (or food) to the winners.

          12. Grab a ball and a bat and go play baseball at the local park. Grab a basketball or a tennis racket. Most parks have courts and fields you can use for free as long as there isn’t an organized event going on.

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          13. Go to the school play. This might cost a little for admission, but it’s a great way to support your community and have a fun time.

          14. Iron Chef night. Bring your friends over and have an Iron Chef night where you cook dinner out of only the items in your pantry. No buying anything!

          15. Go dumpster diving. Yup. I said it. Check out the dumpsters in your area and see what you can find. You might even find dinner! Here are some tips for respectful diving.

            16. Go to yard sales. Take all that money you made at your yard sale and cruise around your town together looking for cool stuff. Maybe you could even fix something up and resell it.

            17. Go fishing.

            18. Go camping.

            19. Find some cool trails around your town and go hiking. Here’re some of the best hiking trails you should try.

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            20. Get out the bikes and bike everywhere for a weekend.

              21. Dig out the old croquet set — or borrow your Mom’s — and play croquet. Do it! Totally fun.

              22. Swap movies and music. Have everyone bring over a box of old movies and CDs they don’t want anymore — or don’t watch anymore. Then swap with abandon.

              23. Go on a walking tour of your town. Most towns or cities have a historic district. Find out if there is a walking tour available. If not, make one up!

              24. Scavenger hunt. Put your friends to the test — yes, this is for grown-ups — to find different things in your city…like a certain bike rack, a vintage sign, that sort of thing. The winner gets a dinner cooked by the losers.

              25. Find out when the free days are at your local museum or zoo. Most have them and they can be great fun to visit with friends.

              26. Hold a quilting bee. No, you don’t have to be fancy — or old — for this. Grab some old T-shirts that you love, old jeans, whatever. Cut them into squares and sew them together. Who knows? Maybe it will become a regular thing?

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              27. Go to Open Mic night. Your town is likely harboring some great talent at an open mic night that has no cover and cheap drinks!

              28. Go to a religious service. Even if you’re not religious, going to a service in an unfamiliar religion can be enlightening and a great way to meet new people.

              29. Find a swimming hole. Head to the old town swimming hole — or find a new one. What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends.

                30. Start a book club, card club (canasta anyone?), sewing club or scrapbooking club. Something you and your friends like. My parents used to belong to a cooking club where once a month all of their friends gathered at one house and the host family cooked a meal from a different country. I learned a lot about food that year.

                You don’t really need to spend much to have lots of fun with your friends! Pick a few of these ideas and start trying them out this weekend with your friends!

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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