How to Keep Growing Your Savings in Retirement

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

Ah, the golden years, that magical time when people trade in their workers’ aprons and finally get to enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

However, one’s comfort level during retirement depends upon having an adequate nest egg. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, many people dipped into retirement savings or increased the amount of debt they carried by taking out home equity lines of credit and the like. This means many seniors today experience a bit of anxiety when looking at their retirement funds, wondering if they will have enough to carry them through comfortably for the rest of their days.

Fortunately, techniques for continuing to grow savings even in the golden years exist, and people’s money can continue working long after the employee has hung up their hat. Here’s how.

Catch up on Your Contributions

Those 50 or older who remain in the workforce should take full advantage of the IRS rule allowing for catch up contributions to your 401(k) or IRA. Workers can contribute up to $6,000 per year without tax penalty. However, the vast majority of workers with 401(k)s can truly benefit from a retirement boost, as the contribution limit for those 50 and older changed to $24,000 per year, much more than the previous contribution limit.

Continue Paying Yourself

A long, long time ago, indubitably some economics instructor lectured on the importance of investing in savings even before paying other bills. Today, placing your savings goals on autopilot doesn’t even require a trip to the bank.

Those receiving direct deposits can simply call or log into their financial institution and direct them to divide income among checking, savings and investment accounts. Another tip — avoid linking debit cards to savings accounts. Merely having to drive to the bank to make a withdrawal versus hitting the ATM makes it easier to decline impulse purchases.

Avoid New Debts

Nothing can cut into retirement savings like high-interest credit cards that need paying each month. Avoiding new debt when nearing retirement should be a logical choice.

Unfortunately, too many people anxiously awaiting their retirement ages yield to the temptation to buy their dream car or take a no-expenses-spared vacation. While driving into the sunset in a shiny new Porsche sounds tempting, adding a $600 monthly payment may break one’s retirement budget. Try to resist the urge to splurge.

Consult Your Financial Planner

Your investing needs change as you age, and by the time you reach retirement age, dropping high-risk investments in lieu of lower-risk vehicles makes sense. By age 60, approximately 75 percent of any investment portfolio should consist of low-risk assets such as bonds. Contacting a qualified financial planner on an annual basis can help stretch nearly any retirement budget.

Have a Little Patience

Many people know waiting to retire means earning more in Social Security income, but holding off on pulling money from other retirement accounts may result in significantly increased gains. For example, those with $1 million in investment assets by age 60 can add another half-million dollars simply by waiting to retire until age 66, assuming a 6.5 percent return on investment.

Consider Downsizing

Many retirees find themselves rattling about in homes meant for growing families, not those approaching their sunset years. Larger homes require more money to heat and cool, increasing annual costs of living significantly.

Given the current stability in the housing market, the time to downsize has come. Additional proceeds from the sale of an overly large property can pad any retirement budget, and the savings in heating oil, not to mention in property taxes, cuts expenses at the same time.

Make Money with Hobbies

The entire point of retirement means finally shaking off the mantle of work responsibilities and spending time doing what one loves. Some hobbies can generate additional retirement income.

Seniors savvy about fitness can seek Silver Sneakers instructor certification and take up teaching classes. Crafty seniors can create unique gifts to sell at local fairs. Animal lovers can open a pet-sitting business.

Stepping out of the workforce means increased loneliness for many seniors, and harnessing a hobby helps keep them involved in their community while providing extra money.

Finally Dig Those Discounts!

Don’t overlook the power of the senior discount! Just about every grocery store hosts a monthly senior day where those 55 or older receive an additional percentage off purchases. Use these days to stock the pantry.

In addition, many Medicare supplement plans come with free fitness memberships. Why not work out when it’s free? Movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues likewise often offer senior discounts.

Happy Retirement

Just because a senior retires from the workforce doesn’t mean their money has to stop working for them. By managing money wisely, one’s golden years can become the best ones ever. PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, has created this interesting graphic on the average retirement savings by age — check it out here!

What to Know About Real Estate Investments for Retirement Income

Written by William O. Kresge

If retirement is right around the corner for you, it’s important to ensure that you have enough money to last you through your golden years. Would-be retirees often resort to stock trading and other sidelines to help build retirement funds in a relatively short period of time. This can be especially useful for those who may not have as much saved throughout the years. After all, there’s simply no way of knowing how much you really need. That’s why Becky Wilcox recommends establishing a passive source of income to let you continue earning even during retirement.

One type of investment to consider for reaping passive income is real estate. Entrepreneur Magazine lists some key advantages to investing in real estate, such as lower levels of volatility and better tax benefits. However, while it isn’t too complex to comprehend, real estate investments still require a certain level of knowledge, skill, intuition, and confidence. Fortunately, there are many traditional and online resources available, as well as seminars you can attend.

In fact, the real estate sector offers several different investment opportunities that are great for retirees. Consider these options:

Direct Ownership

When it comes to real estate investments, owning actual property is most likely the first thing that comes to mind. You can opt for short-term and long-term rentals on rooms and studio units, or go for something bigger like renting out a whole apartment building or office space. This route can provide you a lucrative business if you are financially prepared.

In this regard, it’s important to be well informed about your options so you can make better investment decisions. To help you with this process, Yoreevo’s James McGrath suggests taking advantage of a real estate agent’s services. Because an agent is tasked to work solely in your best interests, they can give informed opinions on your investment decisions and help you identify potential issues with a property. They can even negotiate the best possible deal on the property for you. Perhaps more importantly, real estate agents are paid through a commission from listing agents, so their services will not cost you any extra cash.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A REIT refers to a company that finances income-producing real properties. Many of these companies specialize in specific sectors, like healthcare and corporate real estate. These are made available for investors through initial public offerings (IPOs).

When you buy into REITs, you essentially make money as a shareholder through an IPO. The Street emphasizes REITs’ income-centric approach, noting that 90% of the revenues generated by REITs is regularly distributed to shareholders. The annuity-like income streams from this type of investment makes REITs a good option for retirees.

Tax Lien Certificates

Last but not least, tax lien certificates are a special form of real estate investment.The Balance’s guide to tax lien certificates warns that it can be a little more complicated than owning real estate stocks. However, it can be suited for certain investors, especially those who don’t want to deal with properties directly.

This is how it works: When real estate owners fail to pay their property tax bills, the government can place a tax lien against the property. The lien certificates can then be sold to investors through public auctions. When you successfully win a bid, you pay the tax office the required amount specified on the certificate. With this, you reserve the right to claim the same amount from the homeowner, plus interest. The property owners are given a certain period of time to pay the debt, but if they fail to do so, you then have the rights to the property.

Retirement can be daunting, especially if you haven’t figured out a steady source of income to replace your job. But with enough time and effort to research on real estate options, you can more confidently make investment decisions for your golden years.

How to Invest in the Stock Market for Retirement

Written by Becky Wilcox

It’s never too late to invest in the stock market for retirement– even if you are retiring soon or are already retired. Investing in the stock market has proven to be one of the best methods used in accumulating wealth– even in the short term. Stocks are assets known to trounce any other type of investment available.

When reaching retirement age, it’s understandable to be concerned about your financial status. Consider investing in stocks as a means to offset your post-retirement expenses. Before you begin investing, it’s important to understand how the stock market works and what you can expect.

Understand the Market

You cannot venture into this industry without understanding some basic information about how it operates. With a little research, you can become familiar with the language used in the industry so that you are not lost when stock jargon is used. Begin with the simple terms such as a stockbroker, money market, futures, forwards, and market fluctuations, and then expand from there. Keep in mind that on some days, trading is not available. For example, it’s good to know the Stock Market Holidays 2019 schedule and plan for days when the stock market is closed.

Profit Expectations

Profit earned from stock market investments can vary. Your broker can point you towards the safest investments with the best likelihood of short-term gains. Depending on your age, it may be prudent to include some 20-year investments in your portfolio as well. However, most of your investments should target returns after three to ten years.

Understand Risks

Investing in the money market is like investing in any other industry. It is possible to incur losses, especially if various factors don’t work in your favor. So don’t invest all your savings into the stock market just in case something goes wrong or there is another global recession.

Understand Diversification

Be sure to spread your investments over multiple entities and industries. It’s generally considered a bad idea to invest in a single company. It’s also not advisable to invest in the same industry, because the same issue could affect every company. The best strategy is to consider investing in several companies in different business sectors. For example, you could consider a technology company, a real estate company, a banking/financial company and a manufacturing company. Investing in a diverse group of entities will provide sufficient security for your investment. In case one industry declines, you will still have your other investments intact.

Invest in What You Know

One of the most important principles to incorporate into your investment plan is to invest in a company that you know. It’s hard to predict the success of a business if you don’t understand their business model. A good rule of thumb is: If you cannot explain what a company does in a single sentence, avoid investing in that company.

Take Advantage of Stock Volatility

High volatility rates characterize the stock market. Market volatility is the tendency of the market to either rise or fall sharply when responding to several variables in the market. The higher the volatility, the riskier is the market. Have a backup plan just in case the market takes a downturn by taking advantage of favorable fluctuations. For example, you can consider selling some of your stocks if they rise sharply before they bounce back down. You can make some profits in this period of uncertainty, and your broker should be able to offer you solid advice.

It’s Never Too Late to Start Investing

Investing in the stock market is a great way to accumulate wealth after retirement. You don’t have to wait decades before seeing a profit from your investment. Many options can offer returns in less than five years. If you are about to retire, or even if you are already retired, it’s not too late to learn how the stock market works and start investing.