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Welcome back to our next installment of our Senior Series. This month, we talk about how to ensure your retirement funds last as long as you need. If you are like most American workers, you will likely be responsible for saving most of the money you will need for retirement. That's because many companies have replaced defined-benefit (or pension) plans with defined-contribution (or 401k) plans. Furthermore, Social Security will only cover a fraction of the income you will likely need after retirement. Below are our favorite tips on how to avoid outliving your money during retirement.

Find a Good Financial Advisor

Given the significant challenges that come with being responsible for your retirement income, you should consult a professional financial advisor to help guide you along the way. A financial planner will advise you on the best investment funds to invest your money in throughout your career. For example, when you are younger, you may want to invest more heavily in stocks. As you get older, you may want to invest more in conservative options like bonds and other fixed-income products. A financial advisor can help you select the best type of retirement savings accounts given your income level and tax bracket. A financial planner can keep you from panicking and knee-jerk reactions based on short-term stock market moves. If you are worried about the cost, some communities have free or reduced-cost financial planners for seniors. You may also be able to take advantage of free financial planning at your financial institution. Do some research, and you’ll find someone to fit your needs.

Estimate How Much Money You Will Need During Retirement

If you want to avoid outliving your money after you stop working, then you must estimate how much money you need to save for retirement long before you retire. That way, you have a better shot at meeting your savings goal of providing you with an adequate retirement income. One of the most significant expenses that most retirees face is healthcare. Medicare will only cover a fraction of your healthcare costs. Therefore, you will probably need to buy a supplemental health insurance plan.

Furthermore, you will need to have money saved to pay for prescriptions, insurance copays, and deductibles. Of course, you will need to have enough money saved to meet all of your other living expenses as well. If you aren't sure how much you will need or how to calculate it, there are free calculators online. However, a human touch will always be more effective. Your financial planner can help you with that as well.

Save As Much Money As You Can

Most future retirees will not be lucky enough to have the financial security of a pension. Therefore, you are going to need to save as much money for retirement as you can. Start by taking advantage of your employer-sponsored retirement plans, like a 401k or 403b. Many companies offer a matching contribution. For example, some employers will offer a 100% match up to 5% of your income. Ensure that you are saving enough to get your company's full matching contribution, if they offer it However, it would be best if you aimed to save between 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement. If you don't have access to an employer-sponsored plan, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to save money for retirement. Try to save the maximum amount that you are eligible to contribute to an IRA each year.

Work a Little Longer

Lastly, just because you might be eligible to start receiving Social Security benefits in your early-to-mid 60s, it doesn't mean that you should retire so soon. By working a few extra years and putting off collecting Social Security, as well as waiting to withdraw money from your retirement account(s), you can significantly boost the amount of money you have when you retire. For instance, for each year that you wait to collect Social Security after age 62, your benefit amount increases until you reach age 70. Plus, leaving your money in your retirement account(s) longer will give your savings more time to grow.

Think About Gig Work After Retirement

It's never too soon to think about small jobs or part-time work you could do in retirement to supplement any retirement funds. Do you have a hobby you'd like to turn into income? Maybe greeting people at a local store or teaching classes to share your experiences with the younger generation would be a good fit. You won't always be able to do gig work, but if you can, it is a great way to have extra cash on hand for expenses. Be creative. It's your time to do the things you love most!

In short, you don't have to worry about outliving your money during retirement if you properly plan before you retire. A financial advisor can help you carefully plan for retirement. Try to estimate how much money you will need to live on after you stop working. Make sure that you take every opportunity to save as much money as you can while you are working. If you are close to retiring and don't think that you have enough money saved, consider working longer. Doing so can boost your Social Security benefits, as well as your retirement savings.

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