Your financial life is like the world series: It can be a slow game at times with a lot of at-bats, strikeouts, and missed catches as part of the game. Some income periods are more profitable than others with periods of unemployment, illnesses, leaving you behind in the score financially. Just as baseball teams face challenges such as rain and injuries, you face challenges which may include fluctuating market conditions, debt accumulation, and financial emergencies that drain your savings.
As you reach the approach middle age and stare down high debt levels, l you might be terrified at your meager retirement accounts and overwhelming debt balances. You are in the 5th game of your personal World Series, and you are down 3-1. You need a victory to take you to the finish line. What you need is a grand slam, but the bases are not yet loaded. Here are three ways to load your financial bases:
1) Capitalize on Extra Income. Put money from bonuses, tax refunds, or commissions directly into retirement accounts and debt reduction. Once you hit 50, you can contribute an extra $1,000 per year into an IRA and another $6,000 into a 401K or other employer-sponsored retirement account. For most workers, you can have both a 401K and an IRA to increase your tax-preferred status for retirement money. Tax-free growth significantly impacts growth in an account and will leave you with more money at retirement.
These are your peak earning years: Children are finishing college and leaving home, reducing your monthly financial outlay; you own your home, furniture, cars, allowing you to put off large purchases for a time. This is the time to bump up savings: Setting aside 15% of your income for a decade can leave you with a savings of approximately ten times your ending salary, giving you substantial balances to live off in retirement.
2) Don’t Touch Your Money. Resist the temptation to take out a loan, even though it is a low-interest rate, and you “really pay yourself back.” Taking out loans to pay off the house, pay down debt, or fund your child’s college will leave you with thousands less in retirement when it is harder to make up financial shortfalls. Just because you can, does not mean you should. While you may pay yourself the small percentage of interest for the privilege of borrowing your own money, you lose compound growth.
As you get closer to retirement you will have access to your 401K and IRA, without penalty, and can begin receiving pension payments from a job. You also become eligible for Social Security at 62, although doing so will greatly reduce your available monthly income when you get older and no longer work. Hold off cashing in on any retirement benefits while you are earning enough to cover monthly expenses, and find a way to work within your existing income to get your finances in order. Now is the time to up contributions, not begin taking withdrawals.
3) See Victory. Pete Rose famously said, “See the ball: hit the ball.” There is so much power in visualizing success that books and courses abound on the practice.. Set specific and actionable goals. Goals will help you stay focused and build daily habits into your routine to reach success in retirement.
It is possible to win a World Series, even though you have lost three of four games. It is possible to retire with a healthy financial balance sheet, but it will take focus and dedication. Let the Chicago Cubs victory, inspire you to reach further and dream bigger, for your own retirement.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis. Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high interest credit card debt any longer. Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website.