The recipe for a comfortable retirement is all about budgeting and making the numbers add up. Living below your means and setting aside money for the future isn’t an easy task. Nor is it particularly fun to postpone doing something in the here and now for a retirement that will last for an undetermined amount of time.
That disconnect can be found around the world. A recent survey, based on over 15,000 consumers in 15 global markets, found that over half of non-retirees (56%) say they are not adequately preparing for a comfortable retirement. That number maxes out at 72% in Egypt, 71% in Taiwan, and 66% in the U.K. (Source: “Retirement,” HSBC web site, last accessed March 26, 2013.)
Here in America, we can expect to spend about 21 years in retirement, but we will burn through our savings in just 14 years. This means that most Americans have not, and are not, financially prepared for the last 33% of their retirement. This isn’t exactly a surprise when you consider that 36% of Americans say they are not preparing adequately and a staggering 20% say they are not preparing at all.
In spite of inadequate retirement savings and a bleak long-term outlook, the short term has greater appeal; 43% of respondents are more likely to save for a trip than retirement.
This poses major questions about how people will fund not only their “active” retirement years, but how they will also cope with the financial burden of possible long-term care costs associated with aging in their later retirement years.
Right now, those nearing retirement (55–64 years old) say the majority of their nest egg (35%) will come from the state. That means that they expect to earn an annual retirement salary of $42,857, with 35% ($14,844) of that coming from Social Security.
If retirees want to live on more than Social Security, they will need to find creative ways to increase their investments.
Is downsizing the way to go? One popular way retirees look to increase their wealth is through property income and assets (renting out, equity release, “downsizing,” and selling). In fact, 26% of those already in retirement are more likely to downsize in an effort to free up capital.
Furthermore, pre-retirees (ages of 55–64), expect 14% of their retirement fund to come from downsizing, meaning retirees can make money on the sale of their homes, saving on maintenance and upkeep in a smaller living space.
Typically, homeowners spend as much as three percent of their home’s value on annual maintenance. For a $500,000 home, the total comes to about $15,000 annually; move to a $250,000 home, and those costs drop to $7,500.
Not spending can certainly help your retirement money last longer, but it’s not the only thing you can do.
If you’re already saving for retirement, not thinking about downsizing, but wanting to add more cushioning to your nest egg, you could consider investing in high-yield dividend paying stocks.
For example, if you add $125.00 to your retirement account each month, you are saving $375.00 a quarter. Let’s say that in addition to this monthly savings plan, you also purchase 200 shares of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE/PBI), costing around $3,000. After collecting your quarterly dividend of $75.00, your total monthly savings averages out to $150.00.
Instead of saving $1,500 a year, your annual retirement savings will amount to $1,800—20% more savings. Investing your dividend yield back into your retirement savings can, thanks to the snowball effect, make a significant impact over the long run.
This article Too Much Time and Not Enough Money: Wealth Management for Your Later Retirement Years was originally published at Daily Gains Letter and has been republished with permission.