Long gone are the days when a benefit of working for a company was a retirement plan. Business-sponsored retirement plans are rare in this day and age. Moreover, if you are an entrepreneur, addressing issues related to your eventual retirement rest fully on your shoulders.
Another stark reality associated with retirement planning in the 21st century is that many people have not started the process of laying the groundwork for their future financial wellbeing. They have not started the process of saving for retirement in what really can be classified a timely manner.
You may fit into this category. You may be a person who is a late starter when it comes to planning for your retirement. If that is the case, you need not panic nor despair.
There are some viable strategies you can employ as a retirement planning and retirement savings late starter.
Statistics and Retirement
If you are a retirement late starter, you must understand that you are not alone. A survey conducted by BankRate revealed that meager 14 percent of respondents felt that they would have enough money to retire comfortably. In reality, a percentage of those people have likely overestimated what they would have available and underestimated what it takes to live comfortable in retirement.
The survey also revealed that 60 percent of workers have $25,000 or less in assets. This comes nowhere close to meeting the needs of a person in retirement. At least one more set of zeros needs to added to this figure.
Calculate What You Must Save
This may seem like a daunting and dull task, but you really must sit down and honestly calculate what you need to save in order to meet your minimal financial objectives and needs for retirement. In this regard, you need to end up in a position at which you have retirement income available to you that clocks in at about 70 percent of what you earn today to live comfortable in your Golden Years.
There are tools and calculators that can assist you in doing the math. You can also meet with a qualified, reputable retirement financial planner to assist you in coming up with an honest, thorough assessment of your future financial needs.
Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses
Once you get an idea of what you need to save for retirement as a late starter, you may wonder how in the world you are going to manage meeting that goal. You may be a person who already maintains a stable budget. However, on first blush, you may wonder where you will pull money to put away into retirement savings.
The reality is that you have unnecessary expenses.
There are items that you can cut out of your budget and still live comfortably. The money that you trim in this fashion can be applied to your retirement plan savings action plan.
You need to focus sharply on what is an unnecessary expense. This example may be something of a cliché, but it is illustrative and important. If you enjoy popping into a coffee shop once a day for some sort of pricey brew, that can be eliminated from your budget for the sake of preparing for retirement.
If you are like most people, you are likely to shun that suggestion because you conclude you’re “only spending $4 a day on coffee.” If you are like most people into this caffeine drill, there are days in which you do not get coffee shop beverages, but there are also days you get more than one. Thus, a safe annual total of $4 coffee drinks is 305. That brings your total annual coffee shop java-only tab to $1,220. If you are 10 years out from your desired retirement age as a late starter on saving, that comes to $12,220 which could be invested into your retirement savings plan.
Pay Down Debt ASAP
A companion strategy you must employ if you are a late starter when it comes to retirement planning and savings is to pay down your debt as quickly as possible. The elementary reality is that the longer you maintain debt, the more money you expend on interest. This represents another category of spending that can be diverted from debt maintenance to retirement savings and investment.
A key debt to strive to pay down as quickly as possible is your home mortgage loan, if you have one. If you own your home outright by the time you retire, you eliminate a major expense and have a significant asset that can prove invaluable to you as a retirement saving late starter.
Don’t let the thought of retirement stay a daunting task. Take the time to start planning today.
Holly Morphew is an award winning financial coach, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is a Certified Financial Health Counselor, Certified Student Loan Counselor, and Accredited Financial Counselor ®. Her unique background in business, corporate America, and real estate give her a broad perspective to help her clients create wealth, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and eliminate debt. View client testimonials here!
Holly began teaching personal finance in 2006 to young adults as a service project with Rotary International. Her workshops were so popular she decided to teach personal finance full-time so she could help more people. She created The Financial Impact System, a step by step guide to master your money, streamline spending, protect your money, and create multiple streams of income.
Holly is originally from Boulder, Colorado. She received the prestigious “Rotarian of the Year” award in 2007/08 for her work in financial literacy. Holly served as Treasurer of the Erie Rotary Club from 2006–2009. She has a B.A. in International Business & Japanese from the University of Colorado. She now resides in Denver, Colorado. Holly also plays competitive beach volleyball year-round, practices yoga, and loves to hike with her two dogs.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.