A new study shows Young Americans are “frantic” about having enough cash to live on after 70. Surprised? I am shocked. The handful of 20-somethings I know well enough to know how much money they are saving are NOT saving hardly anything for their retirement, if at all. Many of them are scraping by each month, so putting aside even $50 is a hard sell for them.
14 ideas to boost your retirement savings
This tips come from the Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), which helps consumers become better spenders, regular savers and wise users of credit. I’ve added my own thoughts in italics below.
I love that this advice is so practical and easy to implement.
1. Create a plan of action to make the necessary changes.
- Creating a written plan, even if it is just a few simple sentences, and taping it onto a wall you walk by frequently is very effective. In sight, in mind!
2. Construct a cash-flow sheet showing income and outgo.
- Specific numbers help you grasp what you can afford and what you can’t. Unexpected expenses come up almost every month in my household, so I prefer a forward looking budget. But I also recommend grasping your steady income and outgo.
3. Set up and implement a monthly spending-plan.
- The way this works in my household is that we have a target number we want our credit card bill to be every month – $2,000. Nearly all of our expenses go on our credit card, so it’s a simple check in that works for us. It’s black or white whether we go over it or not, and very easy for my husband and I to check our progress. Your spending plan may be very different.
4. Discontinue use of all credit cards.
- I can’t do this! I hate carrying around cash because I find it goes quicker than credit. And our monthly statement is easier to track than inputting each purchase into a spreadsheet. I know a lot of BB readers prefer debit cards, and I think that’s awesome.
5. Collect cash purchase receipts.
- Yup, we do this!
6. Review insurance coverage for duplication.
- We did this a few months ago, and have centralized almost all our insurance coverage with one company to get bulk discount.
7. Begin saving one dollar-a-day and all pocket change, every day.
- We auto save many more dollars than this every month. The last time I checked, we were saving 26% of our income!
8. Seek lower cost alternatives to spending, such as rentals, reconditioned products.
- I’m totally into this, partly for the money-savings and partly because it’s more green. We borrow and lend tools with friends, buy used when we can (like my new-to-me Prius), and try to create homemade solutions whenever we can.
9. Utilizing cents-off coupons and mail in for rebates.
- I just got a rebate in the mail today from the DMV for my registration fees!
10. Wait for the sales. Comparison shopping can save more than 50 percent.
- I adore comparison shopping! Camelcamelcamel.com is great for monitoring Amazon prices.
11. Take advantage of seconds, rebuilt and used items where practical.
- This seems pretty similar to No. 8.
12. Start doing things for yourself that others were paid to do previously.
- I can’t imaging getting rid of our cleaning ladies, sorry. They are worth every penny!
13. Have meetings on improving spending with family members.
- My husband and I discuss finances and our credit card bill at least once a month.
14. Separate shopping trips (when comparing prices, value, reparability, etc.) from spending trips (when actually making the purchase). Avoid carrying credit cards, much cash or a checkbook on the shopping trips.
- Huge fan of this. I typically comparison shop and check prices for several months before purchases.
How many of the 14 are you doing?
I am doing 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 (just got a rebate in the mail today!), 10, 11, 13, and 14. That’s pretty darn good!
Of course there are a lot more things you can do to save for long-term goals, but these are a great start.