Many retirees, unfortunately, are ill-prepared to actually retire. In fact, about 37% of retirees in 2022 said that they didn’t have enough money to enjoy their golden years.
There are several reasons why this might happen, which include not starting to save early enough or not putting away enough cash each year. Regardless of the reasons why this happens, it doesn’t have to be the case for retirees.
This guide covers several ways to save for retirement and avoid becoming part of that 37%. Here’s what to know about saving for retirement and putting aside enough cash to be able to truly enjoy your hard-earned golden years.
- Take Advantage of Employer Match Plans
Many employer retirement plans offer matching contributions. What it means is that for every dollar you save in your plan, your employer partially or fully matches your contribution.
Although most of these matching plans are capped at a certain amount, the caps are often quite high. A typical employer match amount is 3% of an employee’s salary, but is often as high as 6%, which can work out to thousands per year in “free money”.
Unfortunately, many employees don’t take full advantage of these plans. Instead, they add a small amount to their retirement savings, not thinking about how much additional income they could earn by meeting their employer’s match savings.
Rather than just adding to your 401(k) here and there, identify the maximum that your employer will match when you contribute to your retirement account. Then, aim to meet that amount so that you can get the maximum “free money” savings throughout the year.
- Make Use of Catch-Up Consultations
One of the reasons why it’s important to start saving early if you can is that yearly contributions to IRAs and 401(k) plans are limited. The good news? As of the calendar year that you reach age 50, you’re eligible to go beyond the normal limits with catch-up contributions to IRAs and 401(k)s. So if over the years you haven’t been able to save as much as you would’ve liked, catch-up contributions can help boost your retirement savings.
- Automate Your Savings Plans
Thanks to modern technology, many banks and financial institutions have APIs set up that allow you to automatically set up payments to your retirement fund. The benefit here is that you can set the automation to pull money from your bank on a certain day of the month.
The benefit of this is that you don’t accidentally miss a payment to your retirement plan. Additionally, by setting up automatic payments, you know that a certain amount of money is going out of your account each month. This can make it easier to budget around your retirement savings.
- Delay Social Security Savings
Another tactic for putting more money aside for retirement is to delay your Social Security benefits. Although this might sound counterproductive, the way this works is as follows.
Starting at age 62, you can receive reduced Social Security benefits. However, each year you wait to take your benefits, up until age 70, you earn what are called “delayed retirement credits” of 8% per year. These can obviously increase your Social Security benefit significantly. The result is that once you’re ready to begin your retirement payments, you’ll have more funds at your disposal every month.
- Take Advantage of Double Contributions
Another big way you can save for retirement is by contributing more than once to your retirement plan. Although many people aren’t aware of this, some teachers, public sector workers, healthcare employees, and employees at nonprofits are able to add double the amount of cash to their retirement plans.
Of course, not everyone is eligible for these savings. However, for those who are eligible, this can actually allow them to contribute much more to their retirement accounts, all of which can add up to big savings in their golden years.
One thing to note about this benefit is that it’s only applicable to specific 457(b) and 403(b) savings plans. If you think you might be eligible, it pays to check the IRS website, and with your HR person to be sure.
- Apply for Uncle Sam’s Retirement Savings Credit
Lower-income earners can also take advantage of savings credits to help them save for retirement. For instance, Uncle Sam’s Retirement Savings Credit offers a tax credit of up to 50% of your retirement plan contribution.
There are income limits for this credit, depending on whether you’re single or married. However, even just that extra boost can make a big difference when it comes to your retirement savings.
- Consider Where You’ll Retire
Many individuals don’t realize that the location they choose to retire in can have big implications for their nest egg. A few states actually have no state income taxes, meaning that you won’t have to pay those taxes on your income during retirement.
A few of these states include:
In addition, most states don’t tax Social Security income. As a result, you won’t have to worry about paying additional taxes on this type of income once you retire.
Saving for retirement can be daunting. However, with the right plan in place, you can start building a nest egg that will offer enough cash for you to comfortably enjoy your golden years.
Small steps like taking advantage of savings credits or meeting your company’s match amount can lead to big earnings later down the line. Consider implementing these 10 tips, and enjoy larger income streams during retirement.