To new parents, “they grow up so fast” is a familiar saying that doesn’t seem to apply to them. However, seasoned parents can get hit hard with the reality of it when all of a sudden our teetering toddler is a high school senior walking away in his cap and gown. Empty nest syndrome moves in, and we struggle to adjust to that new life. It’s all the harder for those who find themselves looking at an empty nest egg to go with it.
As parents, we will do anything we have to make certain our children are well cared for. This feeling too often includes helping them transition into their adult lives on solid footing while in our retirement years. A noble gesture but it doesn’t help much in our golden years.
Don’t worry there is hope for our retirement years if we work to develop safe retirement strategies that will allow us to catch up our nest egg.
Never Say Never
You can get right with your nest egg, but there’s no time to waste. The first step is simple: don’t panic. You’ll need to make some serious adjustments in your attitude and habits regarding money management.
You will need to become familiar with financial instruments, like stock, mutual funds, earnings reports, dividends and annuity calculators. It can seem overwhelming but remember you’re not going to panic. Instead, set up a meet with your financial adviser to help you get going on your late-start retirement planning.
Grab Every Advantage You Can
Just as rank has its privileges, maturity has its perks. If you’ve already hit the half-century mark, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives you permission to squirrel away thousands of extra dollars each year toward your retirement savings. Your financial adviser will be able to help you muddle through the details of IRS regulations.
Now is not the time to be timid. Take every advantage that comes your way, even if it means taking a few risks with a portion of your savings. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the saying goes. Do some research on stocks and mutual funds that can grow your savings nest egg. This diligence is how you’ll make up for the retirement savings diverted to raising your children.
Clear Your Debt Load
The quicker you can pay off the debts you owe, the better it will be. Interest rates on credit card debt will quickly throw your finances into a tailspin. Do whatever it takes to dig yourself out from under your debt load as quickly as you can, even if it means working extra hours or taking on a second job.
Be certain you aren’t making more debt while you’re attacking your existing debt. The more funds you can save each month to apply towards your retirement, the faster your nest egg will swell.
You may even consider continuing in a part-time capacity for a while as a way to ease into retirement while still kicking a bit into your savings pot. Even if you have to postpone your actual formal retirement for a few years, it will be worth it when you finally do call an end to your days of gainful employment.
To recap, here’s your action plan:
- Don’t panic. Assess your needs and make adjustments to current spending patterns if needed.
- Develop a secure retirement strategy, either through your research or at the advisement of a retirement advisor.
- Take advantage of IRS allowances to maximize your savings.
- Reduce and clear your debt.
The biggest takeaway is that it is never too late to start saving for your retirement, so don’t panic. Look at your current situation, assess and make a plan going forward. You can do it!