Late Start on Retirement? 3 Tips to Help You Catch Up

A recent study from the Economic Policy Institute found that many Americans are behind on their retirement savings. According to the study, the average family between the ages of 44 and 49 has only $81,437 saved for retirement. That number is $124,831 for those between ages 50 and 55 and $163,577 between ages 56 and 61.1

If you’re behind on your savings, the good news is it’s never too late to get started. You may have to adjust your plans, but with focus and discipline, you can still save enough money to fund a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.

Below are three tips to help you get started on overcoming your savings gap. If you haven’t implemented these steps or started your planning, make 2018 the year you do so. The longer you wait, the more challenging your retirement might be.

 

Calculate your savings target.

Have you ever started a road trip without knowing your destination? Probably not. The same should be true for your retirement planning. You need to know your final destination before you can develop a strategy. In the case of your retirement plan, your destination is your savings goal.

Your estimated annual spending is a good starting point. Life is unpredictable, so you can’t precisely calculate your annual spending in retirement. However, you can probably generate a range or ballpark figure.

Next, calculate any income you can count on in retirement, such as Social Security or pension benefits. If your income won’t cover your expenses, you have a gap that will need to be covered by distributions from savings. Your target should be a savings balance that’s large enough to safely generate your needed income.

 

Guarantee* your income.

As a late starter, you may be working with a narrow margin of error for your retirement savings. Even if you do save enough to fund your retirement goals, you may not be able to withstand certain risks, like volatility with your savings or income.

You can minimize these risks by increasing your amount of guaranteed lifetime retirement income. Annuities offer several ways to create a stream of income that’s guaranteed to last for life, no matter how long you live. You can then enter retirement with a reliable, predictable monthly income source in addition to Social Security and possibly a pension.

 

Maximize your contributions.

Finally, the most important step you can take to fund your retirement plan is to save as much as possible. Make use of tax-deferred accounts such as a 401(k) or an IRA. If you are under age 50, you can contribute up to $18,500 to a 401(k) in 2018 and as much as $5,500 to an IRA. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,000 to a 401(k) and $1,000 to an IRA.2 These additional amounts for older workers are called catch-up contributions, and they’re designed specifically for people who are off to a late start.

Ready to catch up on your retirement savings? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Spicer Wealth. We can help you analyze your goals and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/07/how-much-the-average-family-has-saved-for-retirement-at-every-age.html

2http://time.com/money/4990121/401k-ira-contribution-limits-2018/

 

*Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values.

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17188 – 2017/12/12