To rebuild your retirement funds, save more, work longer, and invest wisely.
If you are like most people, your nest egg for your golden years is looking a bit tarnished. In order to bring your savings up to their previous levels, focus on saving more to have more.
Save, Save, Save! In a downturn, it is easier to talk of saving more than actually following through. You probably have debts to repay and greater current financial demands, and your dollar is not going as far as it did three years ago. Tighten your belt a little more, if possible, and save as much as you can—up to the maximum amount allowable by law for your retirement, pension, and 401k accounts. To save more, you must spend less—a good maxim to follow now and in your future retirement years as well. As the economy rebounds, continue to save as much as possible, not only to make up ground, but to hedge against future downturns.
Work Longer. We may be well past the days of retiring in our early sixties (or fifties). The math is simple: the longer you work, the more you can save, and the more financial ground you will make up. You will save more, actively add to your bank account rather than draw from it, and may get increased benefits from government retirement and pension programs by working past the minimum retirement age. Your investments will have more time to recover from short-term losses, and you will reduce the length of time you need support from those funds.
Invest Carefully. It’s been said time and again: diversify your retirement portfolio. Have the appropriate mix of stocks, bonds, and cash for your circumstances and future requirements. Keep some funds in stocks to help increase your portfolio when times are good, but do not bet the farm by relying solely on stocks to bring back your savings or to pull ahead. Keep some funds in cash and bonds to minimize your losses when the market falters.