If your 40s and your retirement have snuck up on you, it’s time to shake off the effects of the surprise and get to work. This is a “what 40-year olds with no retirement savings should do” guide. When you’re in the state of financial overwhelm some steps to begin can make all the difference.
Stay Calm and Keep Chugging Along
Yes, you could have started earlier but there’s no need to fret yet, you still have time. Don’t spend all your days worrying about the past—it will distract you from working on your future. For whatever reasons, you’re where you at and that’s that. Leave it there and move to the future. Don’t repeat the past—prepare to make life changes to avoid your former approach to saving money. Spending your time in negative head space will not help you create and implement a plan to have the retirement funds you need.
Make a Plan
You’ve figured out you need to start saving for retirement ASAP. How are you going to make it happen? Create a budget and plan of action to guide you to your goal. Start with all the income you have and then list every which way your spending that income. Then do a new and improved budget by making saving for retirement number one. Yes, you may find that you don’t have enough money to pay all your bills. If that’s the case, it’s time to adjust your lifestyle to make sure you’re able to eat when you’re in retirement.
Take a Hard Look at What You Need
It’s time to get your costs low by deciding what’s important in your life. You need a car to get to work but do you need a BMW? Not if you haven’t saved money for your 80-year-old future self to have heat and a roof over your head. A fully functioning Honda Fit will do just fine to get you to point A and B while keeping you out of the cold and rain at a fraction of the cost. Do you need to have a $1,000 food budget for your family of three to eat out three nights a week? No, yah don’t. Spending time to make meal plans and grocery shopping will be family time and money better spent. By reexamining how you spend money, you’ll find ways to reduce your spending and therefore have more money to save for retirement.
When you can’t cut cost any lower, or you want to have more money in retirement—you’ll need to find more income. The drive and hustle you have now will have a significant impact on the type of life you’re able to live in your retirement. Get a part-time job and use all the money you make there to put into retirement savings. I’m often hit with resistance when I recommend a second J-O-B to clients. They’re usually the same excuses, “I don’t have the time”, “Who will hire someone who can only work on weekends”, “How will I find a job.” If you need money to increase the amount you can save for retirement, a second or third source of income is the way to go. You can work from home, at night stocking shelves, or on weekends cleaning offices. It may not be your dream job, but it will be money to help reach your goal of retirement savings.