Budgets / Fixed income

How to Boost Retirement Income

Learning to boost retirement income starts way before we retire.  It’s hard.  Personal gratification and entitlement often get in the way of putting that little bit of extra money aside.  

boost retirement income

For example, it’s easy to reason like this:  “Why should I do without that 72-inch television now just so I’ll have a little more pocket change after I retire?” That kind of emotional pull in our consumer driven atmosphere certainly makes some of our everyday choices more complicated.  Add to that the conventional wisdom that says we need to have $1-million in our retirement account when we retire, the whole thing makes us want to throw up our hands, doesn’t it?  To a vast majority of us, the whole thing seems impossible.

Well, it’s not impossible to boost retirement income 

Maybe we’ve been looking at the problem from a wrong perspective.  Since it is probably already too late to hope for a million-dollar nest egg when we retire, let’s change our point of view, and start thinking about how we can generate a $40.000 per year income after we retire.  That more or less comes to $3,400 per month.  Already that sounds more doable than putting aside a cool million.  So, exhale, and begin looking from a post-retirement standpoint.  Okay.  Just to take averages, let’s say we’ll draw $1,200 a month from Social Security.  That’s about the national average.  That leaves a $2,200 shortfall, if we hope to keep up our pre-retirement lifestyle.  If we can line up a part-time job that pays $10 per hour, at 20 hours per week times 50 weeks, we’re looking at $10,000 per year.  So, if our annual Social Security comes to $14,400 a year, that’s an income of $24,400 we can count on.  If we’re able to work full time after retirement, we can actually reach that $40,000 goal.  It’s not ideal, but we now have to deal with some harsh reality.

At 50 to 55 years of age, we’re not really thinking of early retirement.  

Realizing just how far behind we are in building up our Social Security benefits, we might start increasing our contributions to the system.  Substantial increases improve the figure we can expect at retirement since that figure is based on the amount of our greatest earning years.  Making those extra contributions may also become a factor in planning our retirement, keeping us on the job a few years longer.  

Facing facts, however, we are going to need some additional income.  

Maybe you can start right away with an investing strategy that over a longer period of time will return a reasonably good income.  We’re looking at dividend income from S&P stocks.  If you have as little as $500, you can get started.  Of course, this is viable for those who have time to wait for these investments to increase and funds we can afford to fluctuate in value over the long haul.

Think about working from home.  

There are positions available if you have special skills like computer proficiency.  One caveat, however, you should be warned of “get rich quick schemes” that try to lure you in with statements like, “In my first week I made $1,100 dollars while I was sleeping.”  Then they want to sell you books and kits.  At some point you begin to realize someone is getting rich, all right.  It’s the person trying to reel you in.  At the same time, you don’t want to toss the baby out with the bath if the offer truly is legitimate.  If you start early enough before your actual retirement date, you’ll have plenty of time to check out online offers.

Think about starting your own business.  

You have talents and abilities which is obvious from having worked at your job long enough to retire.  You undoubtedly learned many things all those years on the job.  Hobbies may also provide you with additional income like these suggestions:

    • Services you can render for a small return like taking people to and from doctor appointments.  This would not be a service you charge for, but you can accept reasonable tips.  To earn money by using your vehicle, you would need to apply to programs like Uber or Lyft and work under their guidelines.
    • Tutoring private students can bring in good income during the school year.  You must be proficient in some subject such as math or language in order to be successful.  
    • Some people turn to writing as a means of income.  If you have the skills to write articles or blogs for large companies to use on their websites, you may find some steady work.  Others have become successful by starting their own blogs and turning them into money making propositions.  This is usually the result of advertisers spotting your work and desiring to link in with it.  Don’t expect to make much on each article.  Six hundred to 1,200 word articles generally pay about $20 per article.  If you’re really good, you might expect a raise after some time.
    • Know a store owner or manager?  Good part-time or, in some cases, full-time jobs may be available to a mature 50-plus person looking for retail work.
    • Seasonal work might be your thing.  Tax preparation jobs come open for a few months before April 15 each year.  The advantage to that is it still leaves you with a lot of free time to do some of your “retirement” things.

Even when you were young, good jobs usually didn’t just fall into your lap.  Even more so as a 50-something or older, you have to be proactive looking for work.  Use your imagination.  Think about what you’d like to do as well as what you’re capable of doing.  (Astronaut is probably out of the picture.)  As one person said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a beneficiary.”  Why not make that beneficiary you?

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