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This Is How Anyone Can Supercharge Their Retirement

This Is How Anyone Can Supercharge Their Retirement

Whether you’re so far from retirement that it seems like barely a blip on your radar, or you can see the big day circled in bright red ink on your calendar, planning for retirement at any and every stage of your life is essential. From small, incremental changes to big, monumental ones, there’s a lot of value in being an active planner when it comes to your “second act.” Here are 10 ideas for anyone to supercharge their retirement.

1. Start living simply.

This is a life-long lesson for anyone who wants to retire comfortably. No matter how close or far you are from retirement, start living a more simple life now. Scale back on all of your expenses. Each time you’re going to make a purchase, ask yourself if this is a need or a want, and if you’ll be just fine without it. Opt for less living space when possible, and aim to acquire fewer things.

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2. Ask for a raise now.

Earning a higher salary now means that your earning potential for the rest of your life has grown. Don’t put it off another day–if you think you deserve more, then ask for it. If you’re take-home pay is $50,000 right now, and your raise gets you $5,000 more each year, you’ll make $75,000 more over the course of 15 years. You might not notice a big difference paycheck to paycheck, but the amount you can put into savings is significant.

3. Cut back on your expenses.

This is part of living a simpler life. Make it a habit to reduce your energy consumption, buy fewer clothes and take better care of the ones you have, and avoid purchasing anything new. Sources like Craigslist, consignment shops, and reuse stores offer a wealth of new or slightly used merchandise at far lower prices, or even for free. Resolve to not buy anything new for one month and see how far you are able to get. You’ll be surprised at how many things you don’t really need, or how much you can get for free or very inexpensively because it’s used.

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4. Max out your employer matches.

In addition to asking for a raise, make sure you are taking the maximum allowable level for your 401(k) and other employer sponsored investment and savings programs. Whatever your employer’s match is, be sure to meet its maximum. Otherwise, you are basically foregoing free money.

5. Take advantage of AARP and AAA discounts.

Even if you’re not yet retired, people aged 50 and older can become members of AARP and take advantage of the discount programs they offer. At any age, you can join AAA, and find discounts on everything from groceries to travel to entertainment.

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6. Work part-time during retirement.

When the Social Security Act was signed in 1935, the average life expectancy in the United States was only 60 for men and 64 for women, yet the retirement age was set at 65. Now people live 15, 20, or 30 years past their retirement age. Keeping a part-time job during retirement helps you stay fresh, offers you regular income, and keeps you connected to your professional self. There are so many options for professional part-time jobs for people who have a wealth of experience now. You can even find at-home jobs that allow you to work from the comfort of your home, helping you to avoid the costs associated with commuting and professional wardrobes.

7. Downsize your home.

One of the biggest expenses people have is the upkeep of their homes. Not only is a large home expensive, but as you age it will be more difficult for you to maneuver through your house. A smaller house provides you with reduced expenses and responsibilities, and the ability to stay in your home for as long as possible throughout your retirement.

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8. Learn how to cook.

This is a great idea for people at any age. Not only does learning how to cook give you something new to enjoy during retirement, but cooking your own meals is far cheaper than dining out. The added bonus is that home-cooked meals are generally healthier for you, setting you up for a healthier retirement. Cooking at home will help you save an estimated 75 percent on food-related expenses each year.

9. Put off retirement for just two years.

If the idea of working until you are 65 is not appealing, consider what you’ll be missing out on monetarily by retiring early. At 65, you are able to claim full Social Security benefits, whereas retiring earlier means that your overall payments will be lower throughout the course of your retirement. In addition, that’s two more years of bringing in a full salary and two more years to save for your impending retirement.

Lifestyle changes take a while to become habits, so be sure to make these tips part of your daily routine right now. Whether you’ve got a year or 20 years before retirement, it’s never too late to make meaningful changes that will positively benefit the later years of your life.

Featured photo credit: TaxCredits.net via flickr.com

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Brie Weiler Reynolds

Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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