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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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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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