If life has not allowed you to build substantial retirement savings, what possible steps could you take in an effort to improve your retirement prospects?
You could play catch-up.
If you are 50 or older, you can make the catch-up contributions the Internal Revenue Service allows for IRAs and other retirement accounts. For example, this year, a worker age 50 or older can direct up to $25,000 into a 401(k) account compared with $19,000 for someone younger.1
You could contribute enough to “get the match.”
If your employer matches your workplace retirement account contributions to some degree, you should make every effort to put in enough dollars to prompt that matching contribution, which amounts to additional money coming your way.
You could try to retire later.
More years contributing to retirement accounts means additional inflows into those accounts as well as the possibility of additional growth and compounding for those invested assets. Working longer also implies that you claim Social Security later, and claiming later results in a larger monthly benefit. Working one or two more years also leaves you with a year or two less of retirement to fund.2
Or, you might try to work a little during your retirement.
There are multiple benefits to continuing some form of employment and taking a partial-retirement approach. To name a few: increased income, a sense of community and opportunities for socialization, and healthcare benefits. Once you have reached your Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security, you can work and earn as much as you want with no reduction to your benefits.3
It is true, however, that your Social Security benefits could be docked if you’re not at your Full Retirement Age and you claim benefits while earning income elsewhere. In 2019, Social Security will withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over $17,640. This is called the Social Security earnings test. Prior to retirement and/or claiming benefits, you must be certain you understand your options and the consequences of the choices you make.
Growth investing may still be important when you retire.
One of the biggest fears that retirees face is the erosion of purchasing power. To help manage this fear, your investment portfolio should reflect your risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals. However, many retirees still need a growth component to their portfolio to reduce the risk of outliving assets.
Take one crucial step before you make any of these choices.
Schedule a consultation well before you retire to determine the level of income you may need to live comfortably and the methods you have for improving your retirement outlook.
Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with Wisdom Wealth Strategies.
“Wisdom Wealth Strategies, LLC is a registered investment advisor offering advisory services in the states of Colorado and California, and in other jurisdictions where exempted.” This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates.
1 – bankrate.com/retirement/irs-raises-retirement-plan-contribution-limits-2019/ [11/1/18]
2 – thestreet.com/retirement/social-security/maximum-social-security-benefit-14786537 [11/20/18]
3 – fool.com/retirement/2019/01/09/2019-social-security-earnings-test-limits.aspx [1/9/19]