Do you plan to make great strides in your retirement savings in 2022? Knowing exactly how to execute the right strategy for your retirement plan can seem daunting, but considering various strategies can give you a great start for next year.
Let's walk through several strategic tips you can use to save for retirement in 2022.
Strategic Tip 1: Use a retirement calculator.
The internet is rife with retirement savings calculators, and unfortunately, they have their limitations. When a retirement savings calculator shows you must have $3 million locked up in order to successfully retire, that can send you into a tailspin of frustration.
A retirement calculator functions as a computerized algorithm by estimating your investments' future growth and expenses based on the information you input. Once you give a retirement calculator several nuggets of your financial information, including your expected retirement age, current savings, current investment returns, and more, the retirement calculator calculates a range of returns based on that information. Unfortunately, that range can be wide.
Experts generally recommend having enough money to cover about 80% of your preretirement income annually (after the amount you'll get from Social Security). However, you may need more or less, depending on a variety of circumstances: increasing inflation, stock market ups or downs, or more expensive health care costs.
The point is, you don't know what might happen within that range. You might not have to save as much as the retirement calculator predicts if you live in a less expensive area or if inflation trends downward for a good portion of your retirement years.
Strategic Tip 2: Avoid having just a single number in your sights.
A retirement calculator or financial advisor's recommendation, while wonderful, can cause you to fixate on a single number instead of looking at the bigger picture. What about the other things you need to accomplish for retirement, such as a budget, figuring out a plan for debt, plugging money into an emergency fund, long-term care insurance, an estate plan, and more?
If you assume that your "magic retirement calculator number" will take care of all of those things, you could be mistaken. For example, if you have a large amount of debt, it could affect the amount you've saved for retirement.
Strategic Tip 3: Consider your risk tolerance — and how it might change.
What happens if your risk tolerance changes? Risk tolerance cannot always remain static because life itself changes. You may realize that due to a health scare, you'd like to keep more money in liquid investments. As your investment goals and age change, your risk tolerance may change as well.
It's healthy to review how you want to invest as your life progresses. Once you have a plan in place, consider stress-testing your plan. A financial planner can help you determine how your retirement planning holds up under specific life events based on your risk tolerance.
Strategic Tip 4: Take advantage of catch-up contributions if you're 50 or older.
If you're 50 or older, you can take advantage of catch-up contributions. Doing so can make a significant impact on your retirement.
Workers younger than age 50 can contribute a maximum of $20,500 to a 401(k) or 403(b) in 2022, which is up from $1,000 from the $19,500 limit in 2021. You can add an extra $6,500 per year in catch-up contributions if you're age 50 and older. This can bring your total 401(k) contributions in 2022 to $27,000.
Strategic Tip 5: Target a specific savings amount.
You may have already heard that you need to save 15% of your household income in order to save for a longer life expectancy, combat inflation, and save for health care. However, your target retirement savings amount should tailor to your own specific situation. For example, if you get a late start in saving for retirement, you may need to save more than that. On the other hand, if you choose to participate in the FIRE movement, which stands for financial independence, retire early, you may need to save far more of your money — you may need to save 40% or 50% or more.
While you do want to target a specific percentage, just remember that you don't want to fixate on hitting a single amount. Don't forget to consider the bigger picture.
Strategic Tip 6: Consider how you want to take in income.
Consider how you want to welcome income when you retire. Will you generate money through your portfolio to meet all of your retirement income needs? Make regularly scheduled withdrawals from your investment earnings? Use a portion of your assets to purchase an annuity in order to guarantee income for life?
You may also need bridge income because you won't receive Social Security, money for a pension or 401(k) right away, particularly if you retire earlier than 59 ½. You may need to invest in order to cover the gap.
Think carefully about how you'll bring in your income when you retire. It's worth considering now.
Strategic Tip 7: Get help.
Since retirement planning involves complicated planning, you may benefit from specific advice from a fiduciary financial advisor. Financial advisors may charge you based on the amount you invest, charge you by the hour, or by the project. (Ask how they get paid when you interview suitable advisors.) It's a great idea to work with a retirement professional at least every five to 10 years and right before you retire so you know you're doing exactly what you should in order to retire the way you prefer.
Consider All Strategies Available to You
Finally, when considering all your strategic options for saving for retirement in 2022, it's a good idea to think through what your ideal retirement looks like. Where do you want to live? What hobbies would you like to tackle during retirement? Do you want to travel? Will you want to move closer to family members?
It's worth considering some of these questions now so you can determine how to implement the best strategies possible in 2022.
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