Thinking about your distant financial future can be difficult when you’re struggling just to make ends meet right now. With the global economy mired in a long-term recession, unemployment levels plateauing, and people everywhere trying to stay afloat in the stormy sea of government bailouts, corporate disillusionment, and a housing market that has tanked, now does not seem like an opportune moment to start planning for your retirement. And yet, the earlier you start, the more you stand to set aside for your twilight years. Not only will you be putting more funding into your future, but you will also be earning more by the time you draw your final paycheck and exit the working world. So even if you can only contribute a few bucks here and there, you can find ways to invest in yourself. Here are the top five methods of saving for retirement.
How to Save Money in a Recession
1. Set a budget, cut debt, start saving. The reason so many of us fall behind is that we’re spending more than we’re earning (making saving impossible). Take the time to balance out your finances so that you can start paying down your debt, and then you can begin to save in earnest. As a bonus, you’ll also be improving your credit score along the way, meaning you’ll have the ability to buy a house or start a business later on.
2. 401K. There is absolutely no better solution for your future financial needs than a 401K. Most businesses offer you the opportunity to contribute pre-taxable income to a retirement account, and whatever percentage you elect to donate will automatically be withdrawn from your check. You won’t even notice it’s gone! Plus, companies that offer matching programs will equal your contribution to the account, generally up to about 5% of your earnings (but you have to put the money in first).
3. Stocks and bonds. These can be a bit more risky than other types of investment, but they offer the best chance to grow your money. And as long as you hold a diverse portfolio, you won’t lose your shirt just because one area hits a wall.
4. Invest in a home. These days it may seem like investing in property is a useless endeavor. If you’re looking to buy and sell quickly, you’re probably right. But if you plan to hold onto a house for several years, you have time to make upgrades the smart way, increase the value of your property, and wait for the right time to sell for a sizeable profit.
5. Keep working. Who says there is a time limit on viability in the job market? Frankly, if you’re looking for a paying position at the age of 65, you’re bound to have a pretty hard time finding it. But there’s no law that says you have to give up employment just because you hit a certain age. By continuing to work (with all the opportunities available on the internet and no way for employers to know your age, you level the playing field) you can continue to add to your accounts, or start new ones, instead of simply siphoning off your retirement funds.