Some people dream of retiring early. For others, an on-time retirement is more than OK.
But if there's one thing a lot of people don't want to do, it's retire late. That could mean not only having to work longer but also having less time to enjoy the things you've always wanted to do.
It's possible to take steps to avoid a later retirement. But if these three signs apply to you, you may be headed for one.
1. You don't have a lot of savings
If you don't manage to amass a decent amount of savings, you might be forced to plug away at a job longer to compensate. If you don't want to do that, try to increase your savings rate as soon as you can. That could mean going from putting $50 a month into your IRA or 401(k) plan to contributing $100 a month.
But don't just focus on actual retirement plan contributions. Also, think about how you're investing your money. If you're sticking to conservative assets like bonds, you may be stunting your nest egg's growth. Loading up on stocks, on the other hand, might help your savings grow nicely so you're able to retire when you want to.
2. You're not in line for a very large Social Security benefit
Many seniors become reliant on Social Security once their careers wrap up. But if you're not looking at such a sizable benefit, you may have to work longer so you're able to delay your filing for more money.
There's another option, though, and it's boosting your income.
See, the more you earn, the higher your Social Security benefit stands to be in retirement. And you don't necessarily have to snag a raise at your main job to grow your Social Security benefits. You could take on a side hustle instead. As long as you report that income (which you're required to do anyway), it'll count toward calculating your future Social Security benefits.
Plus, a side hustle could make it easier to ramp up on the savings front. So either way, that's a win.
3. You haven't set any funds aside for future healthcare spending
Many seniors find that healthcare is their greatest monthly expense. But if you don't make an effort to save for it, you might need to plug away longer at a job so you can sock extra funds away in your IRA or 401(k) later on.
A better bet? Consistently contribute to an HSA (health savings account) every year, provided your health insurance plan is compatible with one.
HSAs let you carry funds forward indefinitely, so if you're able to contribute to one regularly, invest your money, and leave it alone during your working years, you may not have to worry so much about healthcare in retirement. And that could, in turn, lead to an earlier retirement.
Retiring late for retirement isn't necessarily a terrible thing, especially since Americans are living longer these days. But if you'd rather avoid that fate, make sure to bump up your savings rate, sock money away for healthcare, and do what you can to set yourself up with a higher monthly Social Security benefit.
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