There is a lot of baloney out there (to put it kindly) about saving for retirement. Much of this information – or rather misinformation – originally comes from the mouths of so-called financial experts. Though most of these experts aren’t trying to scam you, they do sometimes stretch the truth so that they can make a little more money for themselves each year.
It works like this: we’ve all heard about just how important it is to save as much money for retirement as possible. We’ve also heard of how important it is to have a financial expert or advisor handle this money for us. But as much as this might help us, it also allows them to take between 1 and 2 percent as a personal profit each and every year.
This brings us to the oft asked question of “how much money do I really need to retire?” Of course, the answer is different for everyone but it is almost certainly a lot less than you currently think. And it is definitely quite a bit less than most financial experts make it out to be.
Simply put, most people end up retiring on a lot less than they plan to. And things work out for them. In fact, their quality of life post-retirement is often great. While you might not have as much retirement income as possible, you’ll definitely have a more stress-free life.
Anyways, to get to the point of today’s blog post, we’re going to look at seven strategies for saving for retirement in the real world. This ain’t none of that BS that a lot of the savings pros throw out there – it is real advice for real people with real jobs.
Let us know what you think.
1. Figure Out Where You Stand
The best way to approach a new retirement savings strategy is to step back and take a look at your financial situation from the outside. Add up your assets, take a look at your accounts, and figure out how much you’re currently sitting on. After doing this, you should take a peek at any of your debts (including mortgages and auto loans).
This strategy is all about figuring out where you stand. It’s about getting a strong idea of your current situation and how this situation might progress into the future.
2. Downsize Your Home
One of the biggest mistakes that people make regarding retirement, especially as they grow nearer to it, is to live in the same old house.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule but most people as they near retirement live in homes that are way too big for them. This is especially true for people with kids that are living on their own. The kids grew up there are now they’re gone but it’s hard to give up the house. There are a lot of “what ifs.”
But if your retirement budget is limited, an excellent retirement saving strategy is to downsize housing wise. Try finding a smaller home in a less expensive neighborhood that has more affordable taxes and less maintenance.
In addition to saving you boatloads of money, a smaller home can also save you time and energy (spent on upkeep, etc).
3. Don’t Pay for Your Grown Kids
A lot of college graduates are settling back into their old bedrooms in their childhood homes after finishing school. While this is no doubt a byproduct of a suffering job market, you shouldn’t allow them to settle in without taking responsibility of their own.
Letting your kids mooch of you does no good for anyone. Adults need to learn how to live on their own, cook their own food, make their own money, and manage their finances. Providing everything for your adult kids will drain your money and won’t help them grow up.
If your child does decide to live at home (and you’re okay with this), then it’s a wise idea to make them pay rent and share costs such as utilities and groceries. It will teach them to grow up and it won’t put as much of a strain on your personal finances or retirement savings.
4. Think About Sharing
An excellent real world retirement saving strategy is to think about sharing. What I mean by this is think about sharing a home with someone that you trust.
This is an especially smart idea for those that are single. More and more people that are nearing retirement or that are already retired are moving in with their children (and paying for their share of rent/bills/etc, of course!). Another idea is to think about sharing a living space with a close friend or a sibling.
Simply put, it is a whole lot cheaper to live with somebody else than to live all on your own. And oftentimes the companionship is nice as well. You don’t have to do it forever, you know.
5. Think About Another Country
Though this retirement saving strategy is a little more eccentric and off the wall than the others on this list, it does nothing to diminish its value.
An increasing amount of American retirees are going international and moving overseas. It sounds expensive but it can actually be quite a bit cheaper than retiring in the United States. There are several countries out there that are incredibly cheap to live in that are safe as well. Best of all, many of these countries respect the elderly a heck of lot more than the US does in general.
Yes, moving overseas requires a lot of research but if you’ve always wanted to live internationally it can be an interesting experiment to look into more closely.
So there you have it: five real world retirement saving strategies.
Though you should still listen to what your financial advisor says (they’re trained in this stuff, of course), there is no harm in investigating alternative strategies yourself. The concepts discussed above are five that nearly anyone can take to stretch their retirement savings a whole lot farther, even if they’re not as hefty as you once hoped.