Saving For Retirement – When is “Late”, TOO Late?

saving for retirement too lateToday millions of Americans are entering retirement age without enough funds to allow them to live the lifestyle they once did.

While we are told to start investing early in life, many of us do not for one reason or another.

Over the years I’ve talked to many individuals that “wished they would have saved more” and “wished they would started earlier”.

There’s a sinking feeling when retirement is approaching and all you have is regret for your past financial misdoings.

If you find yourself approaching retirement age and have not yet looked at your retirement needs or started saving for later in life, it’s not too late.

But….you need to take action NOW.

The longer you wait, the harder it will be.

Read on for some great tips to help you get started.

Know It Is Never Too Late

Many people who did not start saving when they were younger ignore the situation thinking that it is now too late to get started.

This is not true.

While it certainly may be more of a challenge to save all the funds you will need, it can still be done.

I’ve had many people contact me in their 50′s and, some well into their 60′s, that have realized that they haven’t saved nearly enough.  They fear that they will never be able to retire.

I’m quick to encourage them that retirement can become a reality, but they have to make changes immediately.  They also have to realize that an early retirement is not a reality.   They’ll have to work work well into their late 60′s and maybe 70′s to make up for the shortfall.

Look At Your current Situation

The first step you will want to take is to look at your current situation and determine how much money you will need to have saved to live a comfortable retirement. You can find retirement calculators on the Internet or work with a financial advisor to determine a figure. Once you come to a number you now need to take action immediately and create a savings plan.

If you’re a chronic spender, it’s imperative to stop buying crap.  Think you need the latest iPhone?  Think again!  You’ve lost that priviledge when you failed to starting an adequate savings plan.

Look At Savings Options

It will critical for you to start saving as fast as you can. If you already have retirement accounts you will want to make sure you are maxing out your yearly contributions.  No exceptions.  You may be able to take advantage of pre-tax catch up contributions so be sure to check your account for details. Most accounts allow you to do this once you reach age 50.

You may also need to open additional accounts in order to save what you need. Many investors suggest looking at Roth IRA’s as a retirement savings options. No matter where you decide to invest your money make sure you have a diversified portfolio that will guarantee a steady return on your contributions.

Look At Money Saving Options

If you are getting a late start at saving you may struggle to save the amount you need to each month. Here are some tips that might be helpful.

  • Look at ways to make some extra money. Do you have a hobby or interest that you could turn into a part time job or do you have a skill that others are looking for. Be creative and see what you can come up with.
  • Can you downsize? Look at your current living situation and determine whether or not you might be able to downsize. If you have kids who are now older and moved out, you may not need to stay in such a large home.
  • Do you have large ticket items that you no longer need or use? If for example you have a boat, a camper or other big ticket item that is not being used, now may be a good time to sell. Take the money and invest it in your retirement account.

It’s Not Too Late

No matter your situation, it’s never too late to take charge of your financial future. But only YOU can make it happen.

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Comments | 8 Responses

  1. says

    I am glad I am saving now in my twenties but I agree it is never too late. Also, no amount is too small to start. Saving just one dollar is a better start than spending it because everyone has to start somewhere.

  2. says

    Good info Jeff. One of the things I always remind clients is that one of the biggest returns they can get if they are “late to the game” is working longer. It benefits you three-fold: (1) more years of working gives you more years to save, (2) you now have fewer years you need to finance a retirement for, and (3) you can put off filing for Social Security benefits until you are older, and your benefits have risen significantly.

  3. says

    This is Saving for Retirement in Plain English. … learned early in life that saving a little bit of money over a long time can make sure they retire comfortably.

  4. Roy says

    Let me comment on this, having been retired now for a whole 7 months.

    1. It is retirement, not working life. Your expenses are a whole lot less. Fewer clothes, no commute. I hope you have several hobbies.

    2. Savings ain’t worth a crap, an investment that returns you decent CASH is wonderful! Forget the CD’s & Bonds for now.
    A portfolio of decent dividend paying stocks, and mREITS helps beat the 2% blues. Start early buying those BIG blue chips.
    A DRIP savings idea works very well.

    3. The company 401K is only worth a dam if there is a match (free money).

    4. If no 401K start a ROTH plan to accumulate the cash. The government doesn’t help us much, and in fact may be your enemy, or enema. Start early, and keep it away from your uncle in Washington. That SOB will take it away, or corrupt it through his minions if he is able.

    5. As for the number, do as much as you can. Whoever heard of a retiree with TOO MUCH money. I’ve never met one.
    Start the earliest you can, especially when you “can’t afford it.” Truth is, you will NEVER be able to afford it. Just do it anyway.
    The trick question is how long will you live? Unknown, but you D?O control when you might end it. Few do, but you do have that option.

    Living Comfortable thus far in WI. PS send rain, we need that more than anything else right now!!

  5. says

    Jeff, all good points you make here. I see my kids struggle in this poor economy but I have to think to myself, as you say, the latest iphone is not a necessity. Saving more to catch up IS a necessity. Thank you, Glenis

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