Time flies when we’re having fun, as the saying goes. Too many of us come face to face with the reality of this old saying when we wake up one day and discover it’s our 50th birthday. That’s generally around the time we start to think more about what we want to do in our golden years. Then we start to wonder how we’re going to manage all of that on a retirement income we haven’t planned for. When reality sets in, we generally find ourselves asking the obvious question: is it too late to start saving for retirement?
The answer is, “No.”
If you’re on the tail end side of 40 and don’t have a retirement nest egg to speak of, don’t panic. You can still catch up on retirement investing, but you’re going to need to implement some measures that will get you on track toward the retirement lifestyle you want. Here’s what to do.
Pay yourself first
Get in the habit of saving. Each payday, put some money into your savings account. Even if it is only a small amount, that’s OK. The purpose is to develop a habit of saving.
Put more into your employer-sponsored retirement plan
If your employer offers a retirement plan, you should be taking part in it. If you’re not a participant, you need to be, starting now. If you’re already in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan and contributing 5 percent of your income, increase your contribution to 10 percent or more. Money you put in will grow, especially if your employer has a matching program. Use a reliable 401(k) calculator to help you decide what contribution level works best for you.
Use an automatic savings plan
Check with your Human Resources department to find out if your employer has a payroll savings plan. This will let you deduct money from each paycheck to be deposited into a savings account at a credit union or bank. If you’re already making contributions, consider increasing the amount.
Save at least 20 percent of your income
Experts recommend that people between the ages of 40 and 60 save at least 20 percent of their income. If you can’t do that much right now, work on a plan for reaching that goal. You can put money into a retirement account, into your personal savings account or invest it.
Create an emergency fund
With an emergency fund, you should have enough money saved up to pay for an emergency situation, such as an unexpected car-repair bill or a home repair that can’t wait. Most professionals suggest an emergency fund of between three to six months of basic living expenses. Not having an emergency fund means you may have to cut into your retirement savings if untoward something happens.
It’s never too late to start your savings for your retirement. Take the steps you need now to get on your way to a secure future.
About the Author:
Gabby is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of experience writing about personal finance, beauty and fashion as well as other lifestyle topics. When she’s not writing, Gabby likes traveling and exploring the world. And she loves cats.