We all dream of it — the day we’ll finally be able to step out of the office building (hopefully forever) and have the time and freedom to do whatever we want to do. Friends will throw retirement parties and celebrate this huge milestone, but when they ask what you’re going to do with your newfound freedom, what will you be able to say?
Many people will be caught off guard, not sure what their plan is because they never made one — nor do they have the financial resources to live up to their large retirement expectations. According to the Federal Reserve, only 44% of Americans between the ages of 45–59 feel they’re on track with their retirement savings. That leaves a lot of Americans unsure when they’ll be able to retire and if they’ll ever have enough money to do so.
If you’ve found yourself close to the typical retirement age, not sure where you’re retirement funds will come from, there are still ways to improve your situation. Annuity.org talked with financial experts to find out what options late start retirement planners have. Don’t waste any more time, folks — get your retirement planning on track with the following strategies.
Consult with a Financial Advisor
There are many reasons to talk with a financial advisor about your situation. Sure, you could probably figure some of it out on your own, but chances are you don’t have the same knowledge or experience as an advisor. Not only can they help you make a plan for the years you have left before you retire, but they can also show you options and unique strategies for growing the money you make in a shorter period of time.
Determine the Amount You’ll Need for Retirement
While a financial advisor or planner can help you figure out exactly how much you’ll need to survive on the bare minimum, it’s up to you to decide what kind of retirement lifestyle you want. Depending on how extravagant your hopes are, you’ll need to not only save more but also likely make more in order to hit those goals.
Create a Budget
Creating a budget will help you stay true to the goals you’ve set. You’ll be able to see where you’re spending your money and make a solid plan to spend less on certain things so you can put more towards saving and investing. Use the budget sheet below to help you get started.
Maximize Retirement Account Contributions
By maxing out your retirement accounts, you’ll have more money going to retirement without having the opportunity to spend it first. Employers often match your contribution, which will help you earn more in the long run.
Generate More Income
There are many ways to make money on the side whether through side hustles, gig economy employment, or passive income opportunities. Side hustles can be anything from mowing lawns on the weekends to starting a pet sitting business — anything you do to earn money on top of what you earn at your 9–5 (or whatever hours you work).
Gig economy employment is different in that it’s something you use a certain skill for and only do on certain occasions. For example, being a guitarist in a wedding band or starting up a consulting business in your profession. Finally, passive income opportunities are ways to earn money by putting in the work once and earning money time and time again, such as owning a rental property.
No matter what strategies you decide to implement, remember to stay consistent and work with a financial advisor who can lead you in the best direction possible. If you want to know what else you can do to prepare for retirement, look through the rest of these 14 expert-backed strategies for retirement planning late starters and the infographic below.
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As you age, it often becomes more appealing to live somewhere that requires little effort to take care of. Somewhere you aren’t responsible for repairs if something goes wrong or maybe even somewhere where you aren’t in charge of mowing the lawn. While renting may not have been ideal in your younger years, it might just be starting to outshine owning your own place.
If you do choose to shop around for a rental unit, there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want to know what the landlord is doing to keep you safe, whether or not you’ll be able to age comfortably, and you might even want to ask whether or not you can have a pet to keep you company. Read through the rest of this guide to find out what you should do and ask before moving into a rental.
If it was true before, it’s true now. Location plays a large role in whether or not you’ll be able to live and age comfortably. Consider if the rental is close to shopping centers, a bus stop, or parks to spend time in. You’ll also want to think about the different infrastructure around the area. If there’s a school nearby, it may not be so quiet at certain times of the day.
Safety & Amenities
Many senior rentals offer amenities such as pools or gathering centers. Make sure you know what is offered and if it’s included in the monthly cost or extra. You’ll also want to make sure the property manager or landlord has taken the necessary precautions to keep you and others safe.
Another thing to look out for is age-in-place features. These can be grab bars in the bathroom, lighting under the kitchen cabinets, or anti-slip floor coating on tile or hardwood. These features will keep you safe as you continue aging and your body continues changing.
Often times you’ll find rentals that are part of Homeowners Associations. This means that you’ll pay a monthly fee to keep certain amenities that the HOA provides. Some HOAs have strict rules, while others don’t. Ask questions about what you can and can’t do as part of the HOA.
HUD for Senior Housing
HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development — a cabinet department in the US executive branch. They offer assistance for seniors with a low income to help them pay their rent. To qualify for this assistance, you must have a low income and someone in your household that is at least 62 years old at the time of occupancy.
Help with Maintenance
There are bound to be maintenance needs while living in a rental unit. This could be changing lightbulbs, fixing clogged drains, or dealing with pipe issues. Be sure you know if the rental property offers these services and if they are included in the cost of rent or the HOA fee if there is one.
Know What’s Included in the Monthly Cost
The last thing anyone wants is a bill that is way higher than what you were expecting. Before signing any paperwork, ask about what amenities, maintenance, or safety features are included in your rent each month. Other costs include electricity, water, or sewage.
There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re looking for a senior rental. You want to make sure you’ll be moving to a place that is conducive to your lifestyle and will provide you the amenities and space you need to continue aging. To see a full list and keep track of everything in one place, look through this senior rentals checklist so you don’t miss a thing.