Saving for retirement is absolutely essential, especially considering the uncertainty of the Social Security program today. As long as you have a stable job, you probably have enough income to set aside at least some money for retirement — but finding that money and actually getting it into your retirement account can be tough. Here are four ways to help you find and save more money for retirement.
1. Calculate how much you will need.
Saving for retirement can seem like a vague idea, rather than a concrete goal if you have no idea how much you need to save. So find an online retirement softwar from someone like Pralana Consulting LLC that will tell you how much you should aim to save based on your age, income, and predicted age at retirement. The software should break your goal down and show you how much you need to save each month to eventually reach that goal. For example, if your goal is to have $500,000 at retirement, you may learn that you need to save $200 a month for the next 20 years to meet that goal.
2. Pay yourself first.
It's so easy to burn through all of your money each month buying things like coffee and extra clothing — things you want, but don't really need. Before you know it, the money you meant to add to your retirement account is gone. Thwart this habit by paying yourself first. As soon as you get paid, transfer the amount you wish to save into a separate account to save it for retirement. If it's not even in the account you spend from every day, you probably won't even miss it.
3. Earn money from a side gig.
See if you can find a side gig that brings in even $100 or so each week. You could work a part-time job one evening a week, tutor some students on the side, or write some freelance articles online. Put all of the money from your second gig into retirement, with no exceptions. Establishing the dichotomy between money from your "real job" and money from your second job helps keep you on track with saving.
4. Invest the money each month.
Some people try to save all of their retirement money in a savings account and then put it into an actual investment account once a year. Using this strategy makes it more likely that you'll spend the money in a moment of weakness. Instead, put the money directly into your investment account each month. That way, you won't be tempted to pull it out — and it will also have more time to grow.