6 Strategies to Avoid Working in Retirement
Take it easy in retirement.
Work is an expectation of life. Through school and part-time jobs, one figures out what she will do for a career, then it's time to pursue that profession through adulthood until it's finally time to sit back and relax. But has working in retirement become an expectation as well? According to a recent survey, Bankrate found that 70 percent said they would work as long as possible, even through retirement. But not everyone wants to keep stepping through the office doors -- 25 percent of respondents said they had no plans to work in retirement. Here are a few tips to ensure the glory days remain work free.
Pick a strong savings rate.
Outside of starting young, one of the most important ways to ensure there's enough money in retirement is to save each month. These funds get invested, and after compounding over 40 years, even small figures add up. For those with a 401(k), make sure to select a large enough percentage in order to qualify for the entire company match. And if over the age of 50, "take advantage of catch-up contributions," says George Reilly, an advisor at Safe Harbor Financial Advisors in Occoquan, Virginia. This allows savers to contribute an additional $6,000 per year for those already contributing the limit of $18,000.
Keep fee exposure low.
The silent killer of most savings goals comes in the form of fees. Because they're automatically deducted from accounts, it's difficult to even see the impact. But the difference in 1 percent in fees can cost more than $100,000 over a lifetime. Reilly suggests looking at a target-date fund filled with index funds, if the 401(k) offers the option. However, instead of selecting the fund corresponding to the year one hopes to retire, pick the one that's five to 10 years later. It ensures the fund exposure to stocks remains higher, in order to encourage more growth.
Delay Social Security.
People can start tapping Social Security at 62, but try to avoid it. By taking it early, Social Security will only pay out 70 percent to 75 percent of the monthly payment that one would receive by waiting until retirement age. And if you delay even longer, such as to age 70, you can receive 132 percent of that original payment. To get to 70, Peggy Kessinger, an advisor at Cedar Financial Advisors in Beaverton, Oregon, suggests tapping tax-deferred accounts. Since one must pay taxes on these accounts, it's best to do so before Social Security hits, to avoid inflating one's income bracket.
Get a government job.
When it comes to retirement perks, there are few cushier jobs than working for the government. That's because employees are enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System, which includes an annuity that is built up throughout one's tenure. This annuity, which employees and the agency pay into, is returned in the form of monthly payments for the rest of one's life. The guaranteed income comes on top of a Thrift Savings Plan and Social Security, which is a "luxury that some clients don't have," Reilly says.
Delay retirement as long as you can.
Working a few years longer stretches out savings into the twilight years. It's not the most appealing of options, but most advisors suggest saving enough money that will last between 25 and 30 years, depending on the spending ratio. By delaying retirement, the employee gives himself more time to reach that necessary figure.
Control your spending.
How one spends her money in retirement is as important as how one saves. And spending ratios will depend on the individual. "Generally speaking if they average around 3 percent or less annual withdrawal, their savings will last," Kessinger says. But how much one spends depends on how much expenses are cut in retirement. While analyzing costs, cut out work-related expenses like commuting. If those costs are replaced by travel or redoing the house, then the expense line won't move much. That requires a higher spending rate each year, decreasing the time it takes to get through the money.
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