For many people in the workforce, retirement is a big thought. This is especially true for many baby boomers who are getting closer and closer to retirement age. A baby boomer is someone who was born between 1946 and 1964, which means that many of them are right around the age of retirement. However, according to many experts baby boomers are not properly prepared for retirement. They say that they’re not going to have enough money and they’ll live longer than the generations before them. What can you do if you’re a baby boomer looking at retirement without the necessary funds?
Baby boomers have a few different options. In fact, they’re changing the face of retirement. Baby boomers are doing things differently than the generations before them. If you find that you’re nearing retirement without your finances in check, you can take a different path to retirement.
You don’t have enough money to retire comfortably right now. What can you do? The obvious answer is that you can continue to work. This many not sound like the dream, but it is exactly what the majority of baby boomers are doing. They’re putting off retirement and continuing to stay in the workforce. This gives them more time to save money and let their current investments continue to grow.
The only reason that this is an option is because baby boomers are in better health than many of the people in generations before them. They, and the generations after them, are expected to live longer lives. That in itself is a great reason to want to work longer because otherwise you would need to have an even larger retirement than you were initially planning. Many baby boomers stay in the workforce for longer, but not all baby boomers are doing this because they are financially dependent on their jobs. Some baby boomers actually want to keep on working.
This non-retirement strategy isn’t necessarily ideal, but it does help make retirement a realistic possibility in the future. If you’re able to keep working, you should. The only downfall to baby boomers staying in the workforce longer is that that leaves fewer openings for those who are just starting to make their way in the workforce. Baby boomers can pick the path of waiting to retire.
Find Other Sources of Income
For some people, staying in the workforce for a longer period of time is not an option. Some people are ready for retirement by the age of 30. Some people can’t keep working due to health issues. If you’re ready to be done with work, you have to try to find another source of income for retirement. These sources may not be available to everyone and some have to be thought of pre-retirement, but you can look into:
- Social Security: Retired Americans are supposed to receive monthly payments from the Social Security Administration. You can sign up to receive payments between the ages of 62 and 70. The longer you wait to sign up, the higher your monthly payments will be. This is a great income source to keep in mind, but you will definitely want to have other plans in place too. If you continue to work even part-time in retirement, you should also be aware that there may be some restrictions to your social security.
- Retirement Accounts: You can get two different kinds of retirement accounts. There are the IRAs and 401(k)s, which require that you pay taxes as you withdraw the money. Then there are the Roth IRAs and 401(k)s, which require that you pay taxes when you put the money into the retirement funds. Having both of these types of retirement funds can give you a great source of money during retirement. Of course, to have these funds at high enough levels requires some foresight and pre-planning.
- Reverse Mortgage: If you are 62 years old or older and own your own home, you may qualify for a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of loan that actually draws on the equity in your house. You have to pay back the loan if you move out of the house. Otherwise, typically the home goes to the bank after you die. Your heirs can keep the home if they can pay off the debt. This type of income is great because it does not affect your social security, it is tax-free, it can be used for whatever you need and it doesn’t take a lot of pre-planning on your part.
- Stocks and Mutual Funds: You can actually plan on continuing to grow your retirement fund while you’re retired. If you keep some money in stocks and mutual funds, you will be able to see more money come in from those investments. Of course, if you decide to go with this option, you have to have enough money to leave some in the stock market. You should also consider working with a financial expert to make sure that your investments are sound.
- Bonds: There are a lot of different types of bonds, but a bond can provide you with some extra retirement income. This type of income does require some pre-planning, but it’s an easy way to get some extra money for your retirement.
- Savings Accounts: You can also trust savings accounts to keep your money. You can draw from them what you need. This isn’t exactly a source of income, but if you get a high interest savings account you may be able to see better results. The major benefit of this type of savings plan is that the money in your savings account is backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This means that if the bank mishandles your savings, you will still be entitled to that money.
- Part-Time Work: While you may not want to stay in your full-time position, many retirees are turning to part-time work as a source of some extra money. This is a great option because you can find a job that you enjoy, will help you pass the time and will provide you with the extra money that you need to live comfortably. More and more retirees are turning to this option both out of necessity and out of the desire to stay busy even in retirement.
If you’re a baby boomer who hasn’t been able to properly plan for retirement, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily out of your grasp. If you can find some other sources of income, you may be able to enjoy your retirement sooner than you expected.
Even if you stay in your current job longer and you find some extra sources of money, you may still find that things are tight in retirement. One option that many baby boomers find appealing is downsizing. When you’re retired, you don’t need to have a huge house. The smaller your house, the less expenses that you will have for maintenance, utilities and the like. If you buy a new, smaller house when the market is buyer-friendly, you will see even more benefits.
Downsizing is a particularly good plan for you if you still have a mortgage to pay. If you get smaller, less expensive house your mortgage will likely be lower. This will give you more money to spend each month on things other than your housing.
Think About the Location
As you think about downsizing your living arrangements, you should think about where you live too. Do you live someplace where the cost of living is high? You can make your retirement fund go farther by moving to a location with a lower cost of living. Many baby boomers choose to retire in a college community because of low cost of living and lots of culture.
You may want to be where all of the other retirees are at, but if you have little money for retirement, you have to make it stretch. You can stretch your retirement fund by moving to an area where you won’t have to spend as much. Downsizing your home can help you spend less money, but if you downsize the cost of living you’ll see even better results and more saving.
Change the Look of Retirement
One important thing to remember as you get ready to retire is that your retirement doesn’t have to look like your parents. You don’t have to retire right when your each your 62nd birthday. You don’t have to live in the same house that you raised your kids in. You don’t have to rely on your retirement fund solely. You need to find the right retirement plan for you, and then stick to it.
As a baby boomer, you may find that your retirement isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. Whether you want to keep working because you like your job or because you have to give your retirement fund some more time to grow, you can keep working. You can turn to investments, smaller homes, new cities and financial advisors to help you not only change the look of retirement, but also make your retirement exactly what you want it to be.
Maybe baby boomers haven’t made the best retirement plans, but that doesn’t mean that retirement is out of your reach. Consider some of the above paths that you can use to make your retirement a reality. Once you do find a path that works for you, make sure that you stick to it and enjoy your days in retirement.