Many Baby Boomers can’t afford to retire. Experts suggest a Boomer needs at least $500,000 in a bank account, and we better be careful with it, or we will run out of money. Does that strike fear in your heart? It does mine. Like many people my age, I never saved aggressively. My small paycheck and the huge stack of bills made it impossible to even think about dumping money into a 401K.
If you can’t afford to retire don’t panic. All is not lost. Here’s 7 strategies you can implement now to prepare for retirement.
1. If you can’t afford to retire find an enjoyable way to make money.
One of the reasons many people are anxious to retire is that they hate their job. If you’ve not saved for retirement you will need to keep working longer than people who are financially prepared to retire. But don’t worry. Find a way to make money that lights your fire. If you want to know more about how to do this check out this article: How to Find Your Encore Career: Merge Purpose with Paycheck.
2. If you can’t afford to retire go to the doctor.
This strategy may surprise you but I’ve included it as a strategy because nothing drains the finances like health care costs. It is cheaper to prevent illness than it is to correct. Go to the doctor and get a checkup. If there are any problems fix them now before it becomes a costly venture. And, if you can keep yourself healthy, you can keep working.
3. If you can’t afford to retire downsize everything.
Consider checking out the minimalist movement. (Joshua Becker’s blog on becoming minimalists is helpful and can be found HERE.) Do you really need that big house and three cars? Start getting rid of stuff. Sell your big house and use the equity to pay cash for a smaller house. Imagine life without a mortgage and smaller utility bills. If you don’t know where to begin consider checking out The Baby Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Downsizing.
4. If you can’t afford to retire eliminate debt or reduce it.
Add up your total monthly credit payments. Will you be able to make those payments when you retire? If your monthly debt payments total $1,000, remind yourself that getting rid of those payments means you can make $1,000 a month less and not need to reduce your standard of living. Make it your top priority to get out of debt. If you owe money on your car, start by getting rid of the car loan. For step by step instructions read my article How to Dump Your Car Payment and Save Big Money for Retirement.
5. If you can’t afford to retire readjust your retirement expectations.
Regardless of what you read on the internet, retirement is NOT the land of eternal sunshine and shuffleboard. In our culture it is seen as the Promised Land. I’ve talked to people who have retired and despise it. Readjust your expectations regarding retirement. This next chapter of your life will be what you make it; with or without a big bankroll.
6. If you can’t afford to retire stop whining.
My retirement account from being a minister sucks and it started turning me into a whiner. I told anyone who would listen about my lousy retirement benefits. Nope. Don’t go down that road. No one wants to listen to a whiner. Since refusing to whine, I’ve discovered my entire outlook about retirement has changed. Refuse to become a whiner.
7. If you can’t afford to retire plan on enjoying the journey.
When it comes to the subject of retirement we focus too much on the subject of money. Life is a journey. We take the good with the bad. You have the power to decide whether you will love it or hate it. Force yourself to choose a positive attitude. The shipwrecked lives of disappointed rich people remind us life isn’t about money. Focus on the good and move forward.
If you find yourself thinking more often about retirement but have a poor financial retirement plan don’t panic. But you do need to take control of your life. If you can’t afford to retire, start implementing these 7 strategies and you will make the rest of life the best years of life.