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Retirement Weekly Print This Issue

Dec. 8, 2021, 12:26 p.m. EST

Are your retirement savings falling short? Here’s what to do.

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By Faron Daugs

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4. Actions to take today

If you’re anxious to boost your retirement savings right away, here’s a list of quick tips to help you get started.

  • Use credit cards with benefit plans: Try to put most of your daily expenses on a credit card that offers points or mileage. Pay the balance off in full every month so you don’t incur fees, and use the rewards system to cover your leisure activities or vacations so the rest of your savings can go entirely to a retirement fund. 

  • Minimize your taxes: Lots of financial investments offer an element of tax savings to you—including retirement plans, home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and health savings accounts. Consulting a financial and tax professional could be helpful to determine which of these options makes the most sense for you.

  • Consider college savings plans: If you have children and want to save for their education, there are many plans available that offer tax benefits. Review the benefits of custodial plans, 529 plans, and prepaid tuition plans to determine how much you might be able to save in future cash flow and tax savings.

  • Take advantage of “catch up” features: Retirement and IRA “catch up” features allow for savers age 50 and over to put away an additional $6,500 contribution for 401(k)s and $1,000 contribution for IRAs.

  • Invest in growth-focused investments: If you have five or more years until you need your retirement funds, adjust your portfolio to balance the risk of downturns in the stock market with bonds or stable-value investments.

  • Add investments with downside protection: Safeguard your savings in case the stock market makes an unexpected decline.

  • Consider you potential long-term care needs. Certain insurance policies allow you to purchase coverage that can be paid up in 10 years. It may be best to purchase these while you’re still working and earning income rather than when you retire.

It’s never too late to start saving aggressively for retirement. Making a comprehensive plan—covering savings, debt management, insurance, taxes, investments, retirement, and estate planning—is the best way to ensure you’re preparing today for what you’ll need tomorrow.

Faron Daugs, CFP, Wealth Advisor, is founder and chief executive of Harrison Wallace Financial Group .

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