Get the Most out of Your Retirement Savings

Senior man giving woman piggyback rideAre you concerned about outliving your money? With life spans increasing along with the cost of food, health care, and other necessities, many soon-to-be retirees want to be sure that their retirement savings will adequately cover the cost of living late in life.

It’s normal to be worried about your retirement plans toward the end of your career, but luckily you can take steps to boost your savings and make your money last longer.

Save more. Many people feel they can’t make the maximum tax-deferred retirement plan contributions, or they forget to update their payroll withholding when the IRS raises contribution limits. Whatever the reason, try to contribute all you can. For 2015, the limit for tax-deferred contributions to 401(k) funds is $18,000.

If you’re age 50 or over, remember that you can also make additional “catch up” contributions. The limit for these contributions is now $6,000, for a total contribution of $24,000 in 2015.
Contribute to a Roth IRA. You can contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth IRA account, so you won’t be charged income taxes on it later when you retire. If you’re worried about your future income tax liability in retirement, this could be a smart move for you. Talk to your financial professional or tax professional about the details.

Work a little longer. Most people are at their earnings peak toward the end of their career. Postponing retirement by just a couple of years could allow you to contribute much more to your savings. This is also a great time to pay down debt, so that your cost of living is lower once you actually do retire. And if making this move allows you to postpone claiming Social Security, you may be receive a bigger monthly check once you do claim it. For each year that you postpone your claim beyond your full retirement age, your Social Security check will be about 8 percent larger.

Relocate. Your federal income taxes will be the same no matter where you live, but your state income tax liability can vary wildly from one state to another. Since some states are far more friendly to retirees than others, do your research and choose one in which the tax structure most benefits you. You can also choose to move somewhere with a lower cost of living overall, which allows you to stretch your retirement budget much farther.