When it comes to retirement savings, many of us wonder if we are saving enough. If you want to make sure that you make it to retirement with the resources that you need, it’s vital that you start saving enough right now.
As you consider your situation, and how much money to save, here are 4 questions to ask yourself:
1. What Percentage of Your Income Are You Saving?
One way to improve your ability to save for retirement is to regularly save a percentage of your income. This is a great practice because it ensures that you develop a regular habit of saving. But how big of a percentage should you save?
First of all, many experts recommend that you base your percentage on your gross income, and not your net income. Next, the old 10% rule of thumb has been upgraded to 15%. In the end, though, it depends on when you start saving. If you start saving in your 20s, setting aside 10% of your gross income just might be enough. If you are starting later in life, 15%, or even 20%, might be a more realistic number.
There is no set way to figure it out. But you do need to be honest with yourself, and what you need. Chances are that you should save more than you do.
2. Do You Have More than One Type of Retirement Plan?
Consider, too, the types of retirement plan you have. Consider using tax-advantaged retirement accounts as much as you can. This means that you might want to open an IRA and a 401(k). If you have a life partner, consider having him or her open more than one type of account as well. This can boost the tax-advantaged savings you receive for your household.
Don’t forget, too, that other investment accounts and savings vehicles can be used to help you prepare for retirement. A little diversity in account type, as well as asset class, can go a long way.
3. Are You Maxing Out Your Retirement Plans?
Maybe instead of just relying on a percentage, you should consider maxing out your retirement plans. While you may not be able to practically max out a 401(k) plan, chances are that you could max out an IRA, and then contribute to a 401(k). Consider maxing out at least one type of tax-advantaged retirement plan. It’s even better if you can max out all of your retirement accounts. Consider what you need to do to maximize your advantages so that you are receiving the best effects.
4. Will You Work During Retirement?
Ask yourself what you plan to do during retirement. Will you have income streams that you can rely on? You might work a few years longer than expected, or you might decide to work part time in retirement for something to do. Others choose to freelance or consult during retirement, keeping an income stream coming in and reducing the need to save up quite so much.
Ultimately, the important thing is to have a plan. Create a plan for your retirement, and you will most likely have the financial resources you need to succeed… and live the life you want.