If you’re like most Americans, you grew up believing that with each decade you’d be better off financially than you were before. But in the age of high unemployment, rising costs of living, and stagnating pay, many of us close to retirement have to rethink our plans and stay in the workforce a little bit longer.
However, not all hope is lost. There are still ways you can make retirement happen as quickly as possible. Here are a few tips for getting back on track.
Get rid of your debt now
Whatever outstanding debt you’ve acquired needs to be paid off before you consider getting out of the workforce. This includes your credit cards, loans, and mortgages or car leases. If you decide to retire while still in debt and can’t find a way to pay it off, you might find it difficult to re-enter the workforce or have to take lower wages or a different role. Instead, spend time researching the best ways to pay off debt so that your upcoming retirement never becomes affected by this burden.
Rethink where you’ll live
Staying in a high cost of living area will drastically reduce the spending power of your savings. Consider switching your retirement location to somewhere with a lower cost of living, such as a smaller town or more rural area. You can also expatriate to a country that welcomes retirees where the U.S. dollar goes further, such as Costa Rica or parts of Mexico.
Reconsider what retirement looks like
If your plans to spend your later years in the garden are becoming less of a reality, you may need to compromise how you’ll spend your time. Consider rethinking what “retirement” means for you. It doesn’t need to mean completely removing yourself from the workforce. Instead, “retirement” could mean “part-time consulting” or retiring from one career to start a small business in an industry you enjoy. If you choose to go this route, start building this side job or small business now so that your transition will be easier. Plus, you’ll start to earn a trickle of income that might even speed up your time until retirement.
Don’t give up hope
Above all, don’t feel as though you’re moving further away from retiring. The economy and COVID-19 may have extended the timeline for how long you’ll stay at your current job, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never retire. Give yourself a little grace and create a plan to get back on track.
The bottom line
If you want to retire soon, you need a plan that allows you to grow your nest egg and maintain a decent income stream. If you don’t have a plan, you could get stuck in debt, which is why many people never reach their retirement goals. Use this guide as a way to help get back on the path toward retirement so you can spend the next few decades living life on your own terms.