Let's face it -- Social Security will not be enough to support most of us in the manner in which we're used to living. That's why millions sock away more for retirement. Even so, it's often not enough. Fortunately, there are ways that you can make more money in retirement -- either by taking action now or later.
The scary background
Here's the rather alarming situation: According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey, among those aged 50 or older, 30% had saved $250,000 or more for retirement, but a full 27% had saved less than $10,000! Even $250,000 won't get many people as far as they think it will.
What about Social Security? Well, the average Social Security benefit was recently $1,350 per month, or about $16,000 per year. It's true that, if you were an above-average earner, you'd collect bigger-than-average checks; but still -- the maximum benefit for those retiring at their full retirement age was recently $2,639 -- or about $32,000 for the whole year.
Fortunately, there are things you can do now to make more money in retirement -- and things you can do in retirement, too.
Work longer before retiring
A great way to have more money in retirement is to delay retiring for a bit. If you work for a few more years than you'd planned to, you can keep saving and investing money for retirement. You'll put off drawing from your nest egg, while making it bigger, too.
For example, if you sock away $10,000 per year for 20 years, and it grows by an annual average of 8%, you'll end up with about $494,000. If you can keep going for another three years, still averaging 8%, you'll end up with... more than $657,000! That's more than $160,000 extra just by delaying retirement for a few more years. If you're collecting matching funds in your 401(k) from your employer, you'll collect a few more years' worth of that free money, too.
Work in retirement, too
Retirement doesn't have to mean that you have no job at all. Many people work part-time in retirement for a short or long while. You might keep working for your current employer on a part-time basis, or you might find a new gig.
You could work a few hours per week at a local hardware store or retail outlet, or perhaps tutor kids in a subject you know well, or even teach a language or music to adults. You could become a freelancer or contractor, offering services such as writing, editing, graphic design, and so on.
Park shares of healthy and growing dividend-paying stocks in your portfolio. If you have, say, $200,000 distributed across several with an overall yield of 4%, you can collect $8,000 per year without selling any shares. And better still, those payouts are likely to be increased over time.
You could work for yourself in retirement by selling things. There's a good chance your home is full of things you never use and don't need. You could donate them for a tax write-off, but you might make more money by selling them yourself online or off -- perhaps in a yard sale.
You may be able to make things to sell, too -- such as sweaters you knit, furniture you craft, or vegetables you grow. You can even sell space in your home by taking in a boarder, or temporarily renting out one or more rooms through a service such as Airbnb. Some people in certain locations make money renting out parking spaces in their driveways.
Spend a little time thinking about money-making possibilities. You might not have thought about your credit card as a money maker, but some generous cash-back or rewards credit cards will pay you just for going about your daily business. You might earn 3% back on supermarket and gas station spending, for example. That could amount to $250 or more per year.
Many cards offer 1% or more on everything you charge, while a few cards offer 2%. Spend $1,000 per month, and you're looking at $120, $240, or more.
Another good way to have more money in retirement is to simply spend less. Can you get by with just one car instead of two? You can save money a lot in insurance and maintenance that way. You might move to a less expensive home, or to a less expensive part of the country, too. While the median home price tops $400,000 in some metropolitan regions, it's below $200,000, or even $150,000, in others.
Insurance is a major cost for many of us, and we can often save a lot by increasing our deductibles -- or just by making some phone calls and shopping around. You may be surprised to be offered coverage just like what you have now for several hundred dollars less per year.
Boost that Social Security income
You can start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your "full" retirement age (at which you would collect your full benefits), is probably 66 or 67. For every year after your full retirement age that you delay starting to collect, up to age 70, your ultimate monthly check will grow by about 8%. Delay from age 67 to 70, and you can increase your ultimate checks by about a solid 24%!
Expecting checks of $2,200? You can turn them into more than $2,700. Look into spousal strategies, too, because coordinating with your spouse as to when each of you will start collecting can make a difference in how much you ultimately collect.
Many of us will feel the need for more money in retirement. Fortunately, there are ways to set ourselves up for greater income, and ways to supplement that income.