There is no magic to getting financially ready for retirement. We all wish we could come up with some amazing way to put money back for retirement, such as the famous genie in the Aladdin’s lamp. But if that genie came up and we asked him for a way to get ready financially for retirement, his answer would be short and to the point — “Start Saving!”.
But for millions of people in the working world, it’s hard to save. It would help if you had every dime you have to pay the bills, get the kids through their dentist bills and clothes for school and have a little leftover at the end of the month for a matinee movie with a small popcorn. So how can we ever find a way to put money back for retirement under these circumstances?
The key to savings is to take advantage of changes in your income to start a savings program. For example, when you start a new job with a new salary. Before you get used to that paycheck, set up a direct deposit of a small amount of money into a tax-deferred financial fund such as an IRA. The money goes straight in there, and you never see it in your paycheck. The funny thing about how we all think is that you live up to the level of money you are getting. So if you never see that $50 or $100 in your paycheck, you will adjust your lifestyle accordingly, and suddenly you have a program in place to save for retirement.
You can apply the same principle to payments you may have automatically deducted from your account. If you are paying a car payment or you have a health club due taken directly out of your account, when those things come to an end, think about whether you want to see those direct withdrawals stop entirely. If you are not used to having that money in your budget, you may be able to have your bank direct deposit some or all of that amount directly into your retirement account.
Just think how great it would be if you could put a car payment a month into retirement savings. You would see a very significant amount of money build up in that account in no time. And when you start seeing the financial reports start coming in from your bank or whoever is managing your retirement funds and you see it really start to build up, the vision of a secure retirement future for you and your spouse will begin to become a reality for you.
Another fun way to build up that retirement account is to make a project of it. You and your spouse could take on the challenge of doing some form of contract or temporary work every month or so and putting all of that money into your retirement fund. Maybe he can go out with friends and cut wood and sell it around town for firewood. Maybe she could use her artistic skills to do original artworks and sell them at the local crafts fair or flea market.
There are many ways to find odd jobs or part-time employment to build up that fund. You can work department stores at Christmas time or sign on with Manpower and go on one-day assignments every once in a while. You can even find ways to make money on the internet if you have technical skills. Tap your talents and find that work and the amazing thing is that it will be fun because this is not working extra. After all, you are in financial trouble. It is building for a secure retirement together and making it a challenge, and a game is a way of putting your creativity into the process.
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