Retirement is here: Have you saved enough?
If you’re a senior and are still working, continue saving for retirement – ideally, at least 20 percent of your income, according to the federal Employee Benefits Security Administration. You can try reducing your expenses to increase your retirement savings. Put as much as you can into tax-deferred investments like Individual Retirement Accounts or, if you’re still working, a 401(k) retirement plan. You also may want to consider selling low-return investments or holdings and reinvest in something that will bring in higher returns.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) suggests you look into conservative, income-producing investments, but still consider keeping 20 percent to 40 percent of your investments in stocks or stock mutual funds. Good choices for the rest of your portfolio may include bonds and bond funds, CDs and money market accounts, according to the FDIC.
About a year before you expect to retire, discuss your plans with a Social Security Administration claims representative. It takes awhile for the paperwork to go through, so you’ll want to apply for retirement benefits about three months before your retirement date.
Did you know that putting off retirement – or at least delaying taking Social Security -- means your monthly Social Security benefits will be higher? The Social Security Administration mails annual statements to workers older than 25 estimating their benefits based on different retirement ages. You also can visit the administration’s Web site, www.ssa.gov, and request a free Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement.
If you are a senior on a fixed retirement income, you’ll need to budget carefully to make sure you live within your means. Your expenses are probably lower than when you were working, but you also need to account for how inflation and health-care costs will affect your expenses in retirement.
If you own a home, you may be able to use its equity to supplement your retirement income. Reverse mortgages and home equity loans or lines of credit are two ways for seniors to tap into their equity to increase retirement income. Qualified financial advisers can help you decide if any of those options make sense for you in your retirement.
It may also be time to consider selling your home, moving somewhere less expensive and easier to maintain, and adding the proceeds to your retirement savings. It’s up to you, though. However you choose to enjoy your retirement, you’ve earned it.