No matter where you are in your life, saving for retirement or other goals is likely one of your most important financial considerations. But, even if you have professional guidance and a clear strategy for your desired future, you could still be missing some straightforward ways to maximize your savings.
Speaking of retirement, the reality is that most people do not save enough money for retirement. In fact, the National Institute on Retirement Security estimates that Americans have at least a $6.8 trillion gap between the amount they have saved and the amount they need. Alarmingly, they found the gap could be as high as $14 trillion.
We are always here to help you address major life events and financial changes, but we also want to share some simple ways to increase your savings now. For a checklist to help walk you through ideas for increasing your savings, check out What Accounts Should I Consider if I Want to Save More?
Reevaluate Small Budget Items
Changing major aspects of your budget — such as your housing or healthcare costs — can significantly impact your savings potential, but may also take time to implement. To start saving more today, look at the little places where you spend money and see where you can trim your expenses. For example, do you eat lunch out every day or buy a specialty coffee most mornings? Do you have entertainment packages you aren’t really using, such as cable TV or online memberships? Saving a few dollars each day can add up to thousands of dollars over a year, which is money you can put toward your retirement.
Remember to Imagine the Retirement You Desire
Effective retirement strategies often focus on building a clear vision of how you would like to spend life after your career. As you go about your daily life and make financial decisions, how often do you reflect on this vision? Rather than only thinking about your retirement goals during financial reviews or major choices, start incorporating this picture into your regular decision-making process. For example, each time you make a purchase, ask yourself if you’d rather have this item or put the money toward the retirement you desire. You may discover that by grounding each purchase in this way, you spend less on items you don’t really care about — and have more money to put toward the retirement you’ve dreamed about.
Capture Your Employer’s Full 401(k) Match
U.S. employees lose $24 billion a year by not saving enough in their 401(k) to claim their company’s full matching. If your employer matches your retirement contributions, make sure you contribute at least enough to claim what is essentially free money. And if you are age 50 or older, remember that you can contribute extra funds each year to your 401(k) on top of the annual limits, with each amount dependent on the limits set for the given year.
Invest Additional Funds
When you receive a raise, bonus, tax refund, inheritance, or other financial windfall, spending the funds can be very tempting. Instead, if you choose to invest this money into your portfolio, you can boost your savings without affecting your current bottom line. In addition, if you put a bonus into a 401(k) or IRA, you may also enjoy tax benefits and not owe anything until you withdraw the funds.
Saving for your financial goals is a big responsibility, but it does not have to be a burden. With these simple changes — and support from professionals who care about your future — you can focus on creating a lifestyle that matches your dreams. We are here to help you at each step, so please let us know if you have any questions about these tips or the bigger strategies guiding your retirement.
Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.
The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.
Published for the blog on October 21, 2020 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.