There's a reason 60% of older workers are more worried about running out of money in retirement than actually dying. With living costs continuing to climb and Social Security doing a poor job of helping seniors retain buying power, millions of retirees are at risk of depleting their nest eggs prematurely and struggling financially as a result.
If you're anxious about outliving your savings, you should know that there are several steps you can take to get more money in retirement. Here are a few to begin with.
1. Delay Social Security
Your Social Security benefits are calculated based on your top 35 years of earnings, and you're eligible for your full monthly benefit upon reaching full retirement age (FRA). That age is either 66, 67, or 66 and a certain number of months, depending on the year you were born. However, you don't have to claim benefits at FRA. You can hold off and boost those payments by 8% a year up until age 70 instead. This means that if you're looking at an FRA of 67 and a full monthly benefit of $1,500, waiting until 70 to file for Social Security will increase each payment you receive to $1,860 -- for life.
2. Save in a Roth IRA
When you save for retirement in a traditional IRA, your contributions go in tax-free, but once you start taking withdrawals as a senior, that money is subject to ordinary income taxes. Roth IRAs work the opposite way -- you don't get a tax break for contributing, but your withdrawals are yours free and clear of taxes, thus giving you access to more cash when you're older. And that's reason enough to house at least a portion of your savings in a Roth.
3. Consult part-time in your former field
Retirement can be an enjoyable period of life, but it can also be laden with restlessness and boredom. Therefore, if you have the option to consult in your former field, you'll not only have a means of occupying your time, but also an opportunity to generate some added income. If you enjoy what you do, put feelers out before leaving your full-time job to see if your company might be open to a consulting arrangement. Or, build a solid business network during the tail end of your working years so that once you retire, you'll have potential clients.
4. Monetize a hobby
Whether it's growing plants in your garden or baking up delicious pies in your kitchen, having a hobby is a good way to keep yourself busy in retirement. But if money is a concern, why not try turning your favorite pastime into an actual business? There are plenty of hobbies that can end up being quite lucrative if you're willing to work at them, so you might as well explore what could be a rather enjoyable means of earning an income.
5. Become a landlord
Many seniors hold on to larger homes in retirement rather than downsize. If you have the extra space, consider finding a tenant whose monthly rent payments can be a source of easy income. This arrangement is especially doable if your home features a separate living space, like a finished basement or garage.
Another option, if you don't want a full-time tenant living under your roof, is to rent out your home seasonally. For example, if you live near a ski resort, taking in guests on winter weekends could help you drum up some serious cash. Best of all, renting on a short-term basis often means avoiding taxes on your rental income. As long as you don't rent out your property for more than 14 days over the course of the year, you can keep your rental income all to yourself.
Running out of money in retirement is a tremendous concern. Even if you've amassed a fairly healthy nest egg to date, it still pays to explore your options for boosting your income in retirement. This way, you'll buy yourself not just more flexibility, but also some much-needed peace of mind.
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