First off, I’d like to highlight that it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. You may have to work longer than you would have if you had started putting money away in your early twenties, or you might have to live on a tighter budget, but any money you can put away for retirement and begin growing is worth it. You might have spent a large portion of your retirement savings to pay off debt, to cover your child’s college expenses, or you simply waited to start saving because you didn’t have the extra money. Whatever the reason you’re starting to save at a disadvantage, it’s no cause for panic. With smart financial moves you can still put away a fair amount of money for retirement.
Maximize your contributions
The first step to take in order to try to play catch-up with your retirement savings is to make sure you’re maximizing your contributions to any accounts. If you have a 401(k) through your employer with a company match, make sure you’re putting enough money in it to get the full benefit. Putting as much money toward your accounts as possible can help make up for missed years.
Extend your career
While you may want to retire by a certain age, if you haven’t been contributing to your retirement accounts, you’re probably going to have to work for at least a few more years than your ideal date. Even if you don’t want to, consider extending your career by a few years in order to give yourself more time to save up.
Examine your budget
If you do not already have a budget, make one. Take time to look over your budget and see where you could cut back and use money to contribute to retirement accounts. Even if you’re already contributing the full amount, it can still be beneficial to simply save money in a savings account with a decent interest rate. You’ll have money set aside for emergencies and also raise a little interest on it.
As you get older, it might be a good idea to downsize your home. Downsizing can save a lot in home costs and you can also gain a profit if you choose to purchase a smaller home. You should also consider downsizing your lifestyle; you’ll have less clutter and can also sell belongings you no longer need.
Make smart investment choices
Once you start maximizing your retirement accounts, it’s important to make sure you’re making smart investment choices. Avoid putting your money into high-risk stocks; you don’t have as much time to bounce back if you make poor investment choices. Figuring out what type of investments work best for you and then choosing something that shows consistent growth with lower risk is your best bet for a secure retirement fund.
Meet with a professional
Finally, even as you do your own research, meeting with a professional financial advisor is often your best bet for how to catch up your retirement savings. A financial advisor can give you solid advice on what investments are best for you, can look over your budget to see where you can cut back, and can evaluate your other assets. You’ll get a holistic overview from your advisor and better understand where you stand.