It is almost certain that you’ve heard of the saying: Better late than never. This adage certainly holds true. However, one will have a lot of catching up to do. But the important thing is that you can catch up. This way, there will be no regrets.
In a survey by Bankrate.com, almost three in four adults have financial regrets. Most of them regretted not saving up for retirement. This is followed by the lack of an emergency fund, and finally, racking up too much debt on credit card. About 22 percent of those surveyed by Bankrate.com said they wished they saved for retirement. With that in mind, it’s about time you start saving on your retirement fund. No matter how young or old you are, don’t dilly-dally and just start saving NOW!
If you are in your 40s, 50s or even 60s, there is no use blaming yourself on why you have never set aside money for retirement. Instead of beating yourself up about it, just start looking for ways to catch up on retirement savings. Here are some tips for you to start saving to prevent any future regrets.
Know your options
If you are employed, ask your personnel manager about your 401(k) options and how the company handles it. Enroll your pay check right away. If it is automatically taken out of your payroll, it is money that you can no longer spend. This means that you will be forced to cut expenses, too. By the way, there is another benefit to this that is more than just savings. The money you put up for the employee-sponsored financial plan is actually tax free.
If you are 50 and older, you can put an additional $1,000 in your Roth IRA (individual retirement account) so you could catch up. You can do the same with other government-backed retirement savings plan. In some cases, those who were already in their 60s tried to catch up on their retirement savings by taking every retirement savings opportunity they could find. It is not going to be easy but at least the future will be better.
Consider downsizing the home
Since you are a late bloomer in the game, it means you are already at the prime of your life. This also means that perhaps the children have already left the home to make their own homes. So if you are empty nesting, you might want to consider downsizing. The extra bedrooms you have might be unused but the bills still include them in the payment. What is meant here is that while no one is occupying the rooms, it is still counted when you pay for your real estate tax and other related fees. You still have to clean those extra rooms from dust, and you still have to maintain them. These are expenses you can already let go.
So consider selling your house and buying a modest home that is just big enough for you and your spouse and perhaps one extra bedroom just in case a child or the children come by to visit. One of the main reasons people refuse to sell their homes is because of sentimental value. They cannot let go of the memories shared inside that house with their children. But you have to remember that memories are in the hearts. Also, the future is just as important as the past memories—it may even be more important.
Since the house is bigger than the property you are going to buy, keep the extra money you earned in a savings account or invest it. This way, the money will earn. This will fund your retirement or even serve as your emergency fund.
Every once in a while we may experience financial windfall. Our initial reaction is always to buy stuff we usually cannot afford and even go as far as buy our friends dinner. Actually, a windfall is just an opportunity to catch up on savings so we don’t have any financial regrets in the future. Deposit any unexpected money coming in, like a tax return or a lottery winning, to the bank. If there are better opportunities like an investmen which could make more money than the one percent interest on savings account, then go for it. Just make sure there is no chance you will lose you money on that investment.
Don’t count salary increases
If you are getting a salary increase at work, forget about it. In most cases, people who merit a salary increase have a tendency to also increase their expenses. Some people would be content to have just one dependable office shoes. But with an increase, they now need at least three pairs of office shoes. Some may have been satisfied with just having water with their dinner but with the salary increase, red wine has just become a regular staple during meal.
If you don’t want to regret your financial situation in the future, don’t count your salary increase as an egg. Maintain your expenses and divert the increase to either your savings account or your emergency fund.
Consider getting a long-term care insurance
A nursing home will be a large expense. So if you are in your 60s, getting a long-term care insurance will be your best bet. This way, you don’t have to be too much of a burden to yourself and you will not be a burden to your children.
Don’t hold a lot of cash and leave your credit card at home
Having money to spend is the main reason why people spend. If they have money in their wallets—with credit card/s to boot—and see something they want, they just go for it. So it would help a great deal if you keep a small amount of money in your wallet—just enough for emergency purposes. And if you don’t anticipate expenses, leave your credit card at home. Credit cards give you a false sense of security. It’s as if you can afford a lot of stuff when it’s really just debt.
Retirement should be a time when we don’t have to worry much about life. It should be the time we enjoy it knowing that the end is near. So in order to have a stress-free retirement life, we should save for it.