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Published On: Sat, May 14th, 2016

Looking Ahead to Retirement? Here’s How to Secure Your Finances

According to Bankrate, fewer than two in three Americans are not saving for retirement. Most of the remainder lack adequate retirement savings. This is a big problem that threatens to overload an already strained social safety net and dramatically curtail the health outcomes, longevity, and overall quality of life of millions of older Americans.

If you worry that you haven’t saved enough for retirement, there’s still time to right the ship. Here’s what you can do to secure your finances and ensure that you’re not destitute when it’s time to hang up your hat for good:

Contribute the Maximum to Your IRA & Employer-Backed Retirement Accounts

No surprise that the most effective way to secure your finances for retirement is to contribute the maximum to your individual IRA and your employer-backed retirement accounts. Pay close attention to annual IRA contribution limits, which range between $5,500 and $6,500, depending on your age. If you have employer and individual accounts, speak with a tax professional for advice on maximizing your contributions and minimizing your short- and long-term tax obligations.

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

Speak with a Certified Financial Planner or Registered Investment Advisor

If your financial situation is more complex and you don’t have the time or means to figure it out on your own, consider meeting with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). CFPs and RIAs are credentialed, licensed professionals that can help make sense of investing, saving, long-term planning and other critical concerns. Their services aren’t free, but they’re often well worth the cost.

Sell Your Structured Insurance Settlement

Look into other lesser-known potentials, too, including the option to sell structured insurance settlement. If you’re behind the savings curve, this can be a way to quickly boost your cash reserves since you’ll be capturing your structured settlement’s expected payouts in one ample bundle.

Trim Your Household Budget

Most household budgets have their fair share of trimmable fat — non-essential expenses that, while perhaps temporarily painful to cut loose, are better off on the scrap heap. A pricey club membership that can easily be replaced by a cut-rate gym pass? A fancy dining-out habit that’s gotten a bit out of control? A penchant for online shopping? Whatever the ill, there’s a simple prescription: restraint. It’s easier than it sounds, and great for your retirement fund.

Teach Your Kids the Value of a Dollar

Kids are expensive, no doubt about it. And idle young adults can definitely put a strain on family finances long after they’re physically capable of fending for themselves.

That’s why there’s absolutely no shame in encouraging your older kids of legal working age to look for part-time summer or after-school gigs. They won’t singlehandedly cover their college tuition this way, of course, but they’ll at least get a taste of how difficult it is to make ends meet these days. That could pay off big time when they go off into the world and stop asking you for money every week.

Guest Author: Mariia Lvovych

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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