Five easy ways to play catch-up on your retirement savings

Mass. — Between inflation and housing or maybe college costs, many of us feel like we’re falling way behind when it comes to saving for retirement. But there are easy ways to catchup that you may not have heard before to help you get back on track.

We sat down with consumer expert Trae Bodge of truetrae.com for her advice.

First: The earlier you start saving, the better.

“You should always be thinking of if you have a little bit of wiggle room in your budget socking that money away because it will snowball over time,” said Bodge

“So it’s those bills that you’re paying every single month. You might think that they’re not movable. There’s no wiggle room, but really there is.”

Bodge says she saved big by switching phone, internet and cable providers and finding better deals with smaller companies.

“It really adds up. I mean, $200 a month is something that I’m now socking away for my retirement that will build and build, and that’ll give me such a good cushion when I’m ready to retire,” said Bodge.

Next: Try saving at least enough to get a 401(K) match if your employer offers it

“It’s basically free money that a lot of people don’t take advantage of,” Bodge says.

Another common mistake many parents make is prioritizing college over retirement.

“You don’t want to sacrifice your retirement for college because your children have all of these years ahead of them that they can save. If I were to dip into my retirement now and start paying for her college with it, I’m way behind,” Bodge added.

How do you know if you’re behind?

You can find online calculators to help figure out what you need to support your target retirement lifestyle.

Set that as your goal, and revisit it each year to see if you’re on track.

Next tip: Don’t fall prey to “keeping up with the Joneses”.

“If you get a bonus or if you get a new job or a raise, you might feel tempted to say, bump up your car, get a bigger house. But do you really need those things?

The more you commit, the earlier you can retire and then live that life of leisure that you’re dreaming about,” said Bodge.

The IRS does allow you to make catch-up contributions to your 401(K) if you’re over the age of 50.

If you work for yourself or a small company that doesn’t offer a program, you can get a SEP or self-employed retirement plan, that helps you save and still get a tax break.

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