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5 Strategies to Help You Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement.

By Diane Mtetwa - Jan 26, 2021 at 9:30AM

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Afraid of running out of money in retirement? Try these 5 strategies.

Are you afraid of running out of money in retirement? With people living longer than ever before, it's a valid concern. 

Having a long and healthy life is a fantastic thing. Your time in retirement should be spent enjoying it and not worrying about whether or not your assets will last. Here are five strategies that can help you alleviate your fears. 

Mature man with a concerned expression on his face looking out the window.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Set up and follow a budget

You may know that you should be socking away more before you retire but don't see where it can possibly come from. If you are in a position where it seems as if you have no excess money that you can save, try setting up a budget.
The first thing you should do is track how much you spend, making sure you include all of your monthly purchases from the biggest to the smallest. After you've got a good idea of how you're spending your money, you should categorize your expenses. Which are essentials like your rent or mortgage versus things that you just want, such as the newest cell-phone upgrade? Which are fixed expenses like a car note, and which vary, like your electric bill? Items that are wanted instead of needed can be eliminated more easily so that you can save more. Variable expenses can potentially be reduced and redirected to your savings.

2. Save more money before retiring

The more money you can accumulate before retiring, the less likely you will run out of money. If you are not maxing out a retirement account like a 401k or IRA, consider giving these accounts a boost with the extra money you've identified that you can save from your budget. Adding money to these accounts could potentially give you tax savings and will grow tax-deferred. Once you reach the age of 50, you can also contribute $1,000 more to an IRA each year and $6,500 more to a 401k each year in the form of a catch-up provision. 
If you are already contributing the most that you can to these accounts but have more that you can put aside, consider putting money into a non-retirement account. You will not get the same sort of tax savings but you will still be adding toward your retirement goals and if invested, you can also benefit from stock market growth and compound interest

3. Continue investing for growth

Individuals age 85 and older are the fastest-growing age segment in the United States.. This means that if you retire at age 65, it's possible you could live far longer than 20 years in retirement!
A big determinant of your risk tolerances and your asset-allocation model is your time horizon. If it is now longer because of increases in life expectancy, you can potentially stand a little more risk even after you've stopped working. This will allow you to still hold some equities for growth instead of converting your accounts completely to bonds and cash after you retire. 

4. Create multiple income streams

As long as you qualify for Social Security, you will be eligible for income benefits as early as 62 years old. But Social Security will probably only replace about 40% of your income, and many experts agree that you should replace at least 80% of your pre-retirement income

Some people are lucky and have a pension that they can depend on, but most supplement their Social Security with their investment accounts. One way that income can come from your retirement accounts is in the form of a withdrawal. Any time you take money from your accounts, though, your balance is reduced, so you shouldn't take too much. A good withdrawal rate to aim for is 4%
Another way that you can derive income from your investment accounts is through income-producing investments like dividend stocks or interest-paying bonds. Generating as much income as you need with these types of investments may be hard, but they won't reduce your principal balance like withdrawals will. 

5. Consider working part-time

Even after doing all of this, it's possible that you won't have enough money for covering your expenses in retirement. If this is the case, think about working longer. As much as you may dread this, it's important that you remember that work in retirement can be redefined. After you retire, you only need to work enough to supplement the other income sources that you have.
Imagine that you make $75,000 while working. If you plan on replacing 80% of that, you'll need $60,000 in income each year. If Social Security replaces 40% of your pre-retirement income, or $30,000, your other income sources, including part-time work, should replace the other $30,000. You can potentially do this working part-time. 
Drastically simplifying your lifestyle and living on a fixed income probably doesn't fit into your retirement plans. Running out of money is something that plagues many retirees and is a cause for concern but can be completely avoided. With some careful planning, your many years of working hard can pay off, and you can live your life to the fullest in retirement. 

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