Once you reach retirement, you're free to start living life on your own terms. No longer do you have to answer to the whims of your boss or wake up every day to an alarm clock. Of course, this will only be possible if you have the money that you need to retire comfortably. Many people retire with a very small amount of money in their portfolio and do not know how to handle their situations. If you want to maximize the amount of money that you have available at retirement and make your retirement dollars last, there are a few steps that you should consider taking.
Type of Retirement Account
When you want to make sure that you have enough money available for you upon retiring, you should spend some time analyzing your retirement account. The government has given retirement savers several options for retirement savings. One type of account utilizes pre-tax savings and requires you to pay taxes on the money as you withdraw it. The 401k and the IRA are accounts that utilize this tax structure. Another type of retirement account utilizes an after-tax method of saving for retirement. You put money that already has had taxes taken out of it into your account. When you invest, it grows tax-free and you can withdraw it during retirement without paying taxes on it. The Roth IRA and Roth 401k are the two types of accounts that use this tax structure.
If you use one of the Roth accounts, you can maximize the amount of money that you have available during retirement. The truth is, no one knows how much tax rates will be by the time you retire. Many expect tax rates to keep increasing slowly over time. By using one of the Roth accounts, you will not have to worry about that problem. All of the money in your retirement account is yours to keep. Uncle Sam will have to get his money elsewhere while you're enjoying retirement.
Fixed Income Investments
When planning for retirement, it is also important for you to choose the right types of investments to have your money in. While you are younger, it makes sense to put some of your money into equities and equity mutual funds. This way, your account balance can grow while you're young. When you get closer to retirement, it makes sense to transition your portfolio over into fixed income investments like bonds and bond funds.
By putting most of your portfolio into these types of investments, you can't receive regular interest payments while you are retired. If you structure your portfolio right, you may receive multiple interest payments every single month. Ideally, you may be able to simply live off of the interest from your portfolio without having to take much money out of the value of your investments.
You may also want to consider investing in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds are issued by municipalities such as schools, local governments and airports. The nice thing about investing in these types of bonds is that they provide tax-free income. Any interest that you receive is not taxable on the state or federal level.
Watch Your Expenses
When you actually reach retirement, it is also important for you to watch your expenses closely. Some people have a hard time keeping track of their expenses and living on a budget. It is important for you to set up a budget that you can stick to on a regular basis. Otherwise, you may end up spending more than you can afford to spend. Figure out how much you can spend each month so that you will not deplete your retirement portfolio too quickly.
You may need to take a look at your expenses to make sure that you are not spending more than you can afford to spend. For example, you may need to move to a cheaper home or an area that has cheaper living expenses in general. Many senior citizens move abroad during retirement so that they can make their dollars go farther.
Take advantage of senior discounts whenever possible. Many places like restaurants, coffee shops and movie theaters offer discounts for seniors with an ID. These discounts can really add up if you are willing to ask for them.
Making it Work
There is no secret to living comfortably during retirement. You just have to plan ahead and then be willing to stick to your plan. As long as you can track your expenses and spend your money wisely, you should be able to experience an enjoyable retirement.