Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring at a rapid rate, with an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring a day. Unfortunately, after decades of unsteady employment, many are retiring without enough retirement funds. If you belong to this generation, here are some tips to help you retire well:
Invest in final expense insurance.
If you’re unfamiliar with the significance of a final expense policy then you may be leaving your family without a way to cover your burial expenses. This whole life policy will help your family financially after you have passed away, helping to cover funeral expenses, which can range from $5,000 to $10,000.
Start saving and investing.
The sooner you start putting away money for your retirement years, the easier it will be to retire well, retaining the same quality of life that you enjoy now. If you start early enough, then you will benefit from the accumulation of compound interest gains. However, since savings grow at a slow and steady rate, you also need to learn how to invest some of the money you are setting aside.
If you don’t have enough money to invest, you will benefit from enrolling in your employer’s retirement plan and from getting a professional investment group to invest your money for you. Also, consider putting your money into mutual funds that require low initial investments. And you can always play it safe with Treasury securities.
Leverage your 401 (k) plan.
The best way to take full advantage of your employer’s 401 (k) plan is to meet your employer’s matching funds. Contribute enough to take advantage of this opportunity. If, for instance, your employer offers to match half of employee contributions, that is 50%, then be sure to contribute about 5% of your salary. So, if you earn $25,000 a year, then contribute $1,250. That way your employer will contribute $625. Understand that this is essentially free money.
The earlier you start, the more time you have to build up your savings because 401 (k) plans and IRAs have a cap on how much you can contribute. However, if you are age 50 or older, you are given a second chance to catch up on contributions and are allowed to go beyond the usual limits to catch-up.
Live within your means.
It can be difficult to live within your means for two reasons. First, you are dealing with a rising cost of living while your wages remain fairly stagnant. Second, you are surrounded by tempting offers all the time on things that would be nice to buy.
The way to have enough funds to begin saving for retirement is to work with a budget. Without one, it’s difficult to realize how much you’re spending. Simply keeping a mental tally is a highly inaccurate way of keeping track of your cash flow.
By setting a limit to how much you can spend on luxury items and by becoming more aware of where your money is going to maintain your current level of living, you will be acquiring an invaluable skill that will be highly useful when it comes to managing your money as a retiree.
Be aware of Medicare’s enrollment periods.
You will be eligible for Medicare around your 65th birthday and have a seven-month window to sign up. It’s important to sign up during this enrollment time because a permanent penalty may be added for late enrollment which will affect Medicare Part B as well as Part D premiums. Watch out – Medicare doesn’t cover everything, so if you have any extra money you might want to look into getting a supplemental medicare policy so you don’t get wiped out with catastrophic health care costs.
In closing, it’s important to mention that you should work with a certified financial planner if you feel overwhelmed by all the financial steps you need to retire comfortably. You are not alone. Professional help is available.