No matter your age, there are certain things that you need to do to prepare financially for retirement. The earlier you start, the better off you will be.
It is recommended that you put aside at least 10 to 15 percent of your annual income. You should put more away if you are closer to retirement and haven’t put much aside yet.
- Create an Emergency Fund
Creating an emergency fund will insure that you will have some money to help you out if a situation arises where you lose your regular source of income. It should have enough money to last you three to six months. It is for emergencies only, so a purchase of a new flat screen TV doesn’t qualify.
- Pay Down Debt
If you are struggling with debt, there is a technique by Dave Ramsey called the “Debt Snowball.” List your debts from lowest to highest. Pay the minimum balance on all of your debts, except the smallest, and pay down the smallest debt fast. Once your smallest debt is gone, move onto the next lowest debt and work on getting that paid. Continue this process until all debt is gone.
- Pay Yourself First for Retirement
Put your retirement savings before your children’s or grandchildren’s college education. They have more time than you do to save for their own future and can work and take loans out.
- Contribute the Maximum to Your Retirement Savings Program at Work
At a minimum, contribute enough to your 401(k) or other retirement plan
to get the maximum employer match available.
- Consider Where and How You’ll Live
If you are living alone, consider a roommate or downsizing to a residence that is less expensive. This will help you stretch your money, both saving for retirement and for when you retire.
- Be Flexible about Work
You many need to work during your retirement, even if it is part-time. You should match your retirement lifestyle to your retirement income.
- Stay Healthy
Many health care costs are related to your lifestyle. Keep control of your health care costs by eating a proper diet and exercising regularly to keep yourself in optimum health.
- Postpone Taking Social Security
Don’t take social security until you reach your full retirement age or even later. Taking social security benefits before full retirement will mean that you will receive a reduced amount for the rest of your life. It could also cause your spouse to receive a reduced amount for the rest of his or her life.
- Rinse and Repeat
Review your financial status on a regular basis. Get professional help if you find it necessary.
Preparing for retirement should commence as early as possible to ensure that your retirement years are financially secure. These ten steps can help you get started.