3 ways to fit retirement savings into your budget
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How often do you commit to start putting more money into your IRA or 401 (k), only to renege on that promise when life’s expenses get in your way? It’s hard to prioritize retirement savings when you have other urgent bills to pay. And to be clear, you should definitely strive to build a emergency fund before you put any money aside for retirement, because if you are having a short-term crisis, you will need that savings money to draw on.
But if you want to put more money into your retirement plan this year, you may need to make some changes to your spending and income. Here are a few that could work wonders.
1. Pick a few non-essentials to reduce
You’re probably spending money every month on non-essential items, like takeout, streaming services, and social events. There is nothing to feel bad about – we all do. But if you want to increase your retirement savings rate, you may need to make some changes in your budget.
Take a look at your non-essential expenses and prioritize your monthly treats in order of importance to you. Then choose a few areas to narrow down. You might be ready to give up take-out (or order take-out less frequently), but you’re not ready to give up going out with friends. Every little expense you cut will free up more money for your retirement plan, so don’t underestimate the importance of minor spending changes.
2. Put money in your savings before you spend it
If you have a 401 (k), your savings are already on autopilot as your contributions are deducted directly from your paycheck. IRAs are a bit trickier because you usually have to send money into your retirement plan yourself.
But some IRAs offer an automatic savings feature, and it pays to take advantage of this option. If you arrange for a specific amount of money to be withdrawn from your current account your IRA each month will make it easier for you to reach your goals.
3. Increase your income with a second job
You may have limited flexibility in your budget to increase your retirement savings rate. But if so, increase your income with a lateral restlessness should help. Since this money will not be allocated to existing bills, you can use your income to fill your IRA or allow more money to be withdrawn from your regular paycheck for your 401 (k).
Best of all, many of today’s side activities are flexible. If you’re pressed for time, find a gig that lets you set your own hours so it doesn’t interfere with your schedule as much.
Saving for retirement is important, because while Social Security will provide you with income later in life, it probably won’t be enough to live on. If your savings rate needs to be raised, use these tips to increase your savings rate and meet your goals.
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