Start today, feel more relaxed tomorrow.
Two of the easiest ways to save for future goals, be it, a new home, college tuition or retirement, are to 1) start early so your money grows and 2) direct-deposit money right from your paycheck into a special account so you don’t even miss it. As your money accumulates, you invest it into more long-term investments that match your risk profile and timeline.
Changing up your investment style.
Typically, the longer you have until you retire, the more aggressive you can afford to be with your investments. The thinking is that if you have time to weather the ups and downs of the market, you can accept greater volatility for the possibility of a greater gain. Like many people, as you near retirement, you may find the opposite is true. Closer to retirement, there is generally less tolerance for volatility and investors are more conservative with their tolerance for risk. Before shifting your investment style, it's always a good idea to understand your current asset mix.
Retire on your schedule.
Deciding when to retire is as big a decision, as it is a personal one. Knowing that you’re in control of when you retire and doing the necessary prep work, can help you feel confident that you are emotionally and financially ready for this life-changing step. Review your asset and liabilities to determine your net worth and use this calculator to see if you are saving enough to cover your expenses in retirement.
Stretch those retirement dollars.
Making your money last can help ensure you have a comfortable and successful retirement. To avoid outliving your nest egg, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. Think strategically about your finances, being careful with credit cards and new debt, claiming your senior discount, reading the fine print on taxes and investments and maximizing your credit union benefits.
Make Social Security work harder for you.
Being strategic about when you take Social Security, can put more money in your pocket. Starting at age 62, you are eligible for Social Security, but will receive 25% less than if you wait until 66. At 66, or full retirement age, you’re entitled to 100%. However, if you wait just four more years you’ll get 35% more. It might make financial sense to coordinate benefits with your spouse. Perhaps one of you takes Social Security early, and the other one waits until 70 to get the maximum allowance. Visit ssa.gov for more information about social security or use our calculator to help you estimate your benefit.
Accessing your retirement funds.
As you reach age 70 ½, you must take distributions from your IRA and 401(k) plans. If you want to withdraw money from your retirement accounts earlier or simply roll them over somewhere else, make sure you know the minimum distribution amounts and understand which penalties might apply.
Make a smart move: Start college prep.
People with college degrees out-earn their less-educated peers, having an easier time getting work and weathering recessions. Yet, with college costs continuing to soar, without a savings plan in place, higher education could be out of reach for many families.
Putting a price on education.
The cost of a college education varies wildly, ranging from $8,000 to $50,000 a year.* Multiply that by four (or more) years and then add in textbooks, housing, car, parking and utility costs, and you’re looking at a big price tag. Be prepared and learn more about college costs here.
Start early and keep saving.
As college costs skyrocket, more parents are having a hard time funding their children’s education. That means, students are often taking on more debt--in the form of college loans—and struggle to repay them after graduation. The answer? The earlier you start to save for college, the easier it is and the more your money earns interest. Use this calculator to set up a college savings schedule. And check out the Coverdell Educational Savings Account (ESA) and the 529 College Savings Plan. They’re both tax-advantaged ways to grow your money.