13 Easy Things You Can Do to Start Preparing for Retirement Now

Wondering how you can rest easy at night? Read on.

by: Bob Haegele | January 12, 2022
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It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement. While Social Security is an excellent benefit to have, it may not be enough on its own. We can get an idea of how much Social Security will pay by using the Social Security quick calculator on the SSA’s website.

For example, someone who was born in 1960, plans to retire in 2027 and made $55,000 this year would receive $1,561 in monthly benefits. That works out to $18,732 per year — less than half of our retiree’s current salary.

But most of us would like to maintain something close to our current standard of living in retirement. Fidelity says most people should have 55% to 80% of their pre-retirement income after they retire. In this article, we cover a handful of things you can do to ensure you have enough during your golden years.

Make Better Investing Decisions

While there are never any guarantees, one tried and true way to potentially grow your nest egg is by putting your money to work in the stock market. If you’re a DIY investor, it can be overwhelming to find and analyze all the data that’s available.

That’s where Seeking Alpha comes in. It’s a one-stop shop for all your investing needs and boasts itself as the largest investing community in the world. There are multiple subscription options, but the most popular is the Premium Plan. It provides access to a million investing ideas and earnings call transcripts and audio on thousands of stocks not covered elsewhere.

It also provides stock ratings, analysis and performance and you can even compare your stocks side-by-side with your peers. You can sync your existing portfolio with Seeking Alpha as well as build and manage a new portfolio. It’s a great place to interact with and learn from other investors. The Premium Plan is $19.99/month and comes with a free trial.

Get Investment Ideas from Experts

Start Trading Commission-Free Online

Once armed with your investment knowledge, it’s time to start putting that knowledge to good use. It’s important to find a brokerage that has a long-standing reputation and fair fees.One of the pioneers of the discount brokerage industry, TD Ameritrade not only offers commission-free online trades but also offers powerful tools to make the most of those trades. Tools include intuitive platforms built to work with every kind of investor, from those actively trading to looking to invest for the long term. There’s also a massive depth of data and insights, plus an AI-powered experience to help investors reach their own goals. Not only are online trades commission-free, but there’s no minimum opening deposit to start an account, so it’s incredibly easy to jump in and get going.

Sign Up and Start Investing Online Commission-Free Today

Generate Passive Income

One of the most common ways to generate passive income is to own rental property, but it also usually requires a large upfront investment. Enter – Arrived. Innovative and distinctive, Arrived is a one of a kind investing opportunity. The service gives individuals access not to the stock market, but to the rental home market — a whole other, booming ballgame. For an initial investment of as little as $100, you can participate in Arrived‘s unique platform and purchase shares of pre-vetted rental properties, enabling you to become a bonafide real estate investor. All the work is done for you so that you can just sit back, relax and collect passive income. And who knows? Maybe you’ll make enough in the rental housing market to be able to pad your retirement income

Click Here to Become a Real Estate Investor for As Little As $100

Check Your Retirement Readiness Score™

One of the best ways to supplement your Social Security benefits is with your retirement account, be it an IRA or an employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k). But how do you know just how much you have or need in your retirement accounts? It can be complicated, especially if you have 401(k) plans from several employers. And what if you also have an IRA?

Knowing where you stand is key to a financially secure retirement, and using a tool like Personal Capital makes it a breeze. It lets you link all of your investment accounts, including retirement plans, brokerage accounts, and cash into an automated dashboard. You can also manually add your home and other personal property. Plus, you can sign up to get personal attention from registered financial advisors who can offer advice on your full financial picture.

Get your Retirement Readiness Score™ in minutes.

Be Prepared for Expensive Home Repairs

If you own a home and plan to live on a strict fixed income during retirement, unexpected home repairs can really blow your budget. Having a home warranty can help offset some of the costs associated with expensive home repairs and maintenance – things that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover.

American Home Shield has plans that cover parts of up to 23 appliances and systems, including heating & cooling, electrical & plumbing systems, appliances, and more. If they can’t repair your covered item, they will replace it. There’s a reason they are considered America’s #1 home warranty company and have more than 2 million members.

Get Your Free Home Warranty Quote

Get Your Affairs in Order

While you’re preparing for retirement, you may as well go ahead and plan for the protection and transfer of your assets too. Do you really want to leave something so important up to the courts, especially when it can now all be done so easily online? Gone are the days of needing to find an expensive attorney to set up a trust or will for you.

With Trust & Will, most people are able to complete everything in about 15 minutes. They have an expert team available to walk you through everything you need one question at a time. If you’re not sure where to start, they even have a quiz to guide you to the best plan that is right for your unique life situation. Wills start at $159 and trusts start at $599. All documents are designed by attorneys and state-specific. Each plan includes 1 year of unlimited updates, complimentary shipping and bank-level encryption. It’s fast, secure and easy to use which is why Trust & Will is rated 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

Don’t Leave Things Up to the Courts. Create Your Plan with Trust & Will Now.

Protect Yourself Against Sudden Loss of Income

Nothing thwarts saving for retirement faster than suddenly losing your job. The most carefully thought out plans can’t prepare you for everything. Life happens, and sometimes you find yourself involuntarily unemployed. Even before the pandemic, 1 in 7 workers were laid off yearly. For many, being unemployed for even a month could cause financial ruin. That’s why Quin exists. They offer lifestyle protection payments of up to $1,000 per month for 3 months if you face involuntary unemployment, and these Lifestyle Protection payments can be received once per year. This is in addition to any state unemployment benefits, and you can access these rainy-day funds in just a few minutes.

To qualify, you must have been a full-time W2 employee for at least 90 consecutive days and a member of Quin for a minimum of 90 days. It costs $20/month to become a member and access the $3,000 in payments. At $20/month, it would take you 12.5 years to save $3,000, so think of it as a savings account that you access upon unemployment. Since you receive the funds on a digital credit card instead of a check and these funds are applied as a credit towards spending on the card, it is not considered income and therefore not taxed. As an added bonus, you get a tax-free reward annually if the payments are not used.

Get an Emergency Fund of Up to $1,000/Month

Easily Save & Invest in the Background of Life

It’s never too late (or early!) to dip your toe in the stock market. A lot of people believe they need big money to start a brokerage investment portfolio. Acorns is here to prove you can start no matter what your budget is. In fact, they encourage you to get start by investing your spare change. While that may not seem like it would make an impact, the average Acorns customer invests $166 within 4 months of doing just that. They also offer smart portfolios designed by experts that you can access based on your individual goals and adjust automatically as you and your money grow. The earlier you start, the more your money can potentially grow so why wait?

Get a $5 Bonus Investment By Signing Up Today

Get Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance for As Little As $1/Day

Few things are more important than family, but we don’t often like to think about what would happen if we weren’t around to pay the mortgage, do the back-to-school shopping and fulfill all the other financial obligations that caring for a family entails. But since death is inevitable, it makes sense to plan for it.

Fabric offers affordable term life insurance that can be customized based on your unique family needs. They offer 10, 15, 20, and even 25 and 30-year terms, with customizable coverage amounts at prices starting just under $14 a month. Their questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to fill out, but taking a few minutes to secure your family’s future could be the most important time you spend today.

Safeguard Your Family’s Future with Fabric Life Insurance

Rollover Your ‘Forgotten’ 401(k)s

If you’ve changed jobs in your lifetime and contributed to a 401(k) but didn’t roll it over when you left, it could be costing you more than you think. Recent analysis done by Capitalize reveals an estimated 24.3 million 401(k) accounts and $1.35 trillion in assets have been left behind by job changers, with another 2.8 million left behind annually. Their analysis also shows that leaving behind a forgotten 401(k) account has the potential to cost an individual almost $700,000 in foregone retirement savings over a lifetime.

Don’t let that be you. If you know you contributed to an old 401(k) prior to leaving a job, Capitalize can help you find and roll it over into a new or existing IRA account. If you don’t already have an open IRA account, they can help you select and open one for your rollover. The best part? It’s all handled seamlessly and hassle-free within your Capitalize account, and the service is completely free. If you know you have an old 401(k) account sitting around with money in it, don’t leave it to gather dust (and fees).

Start Your Rollover with Capitalize For Free

Lower Your Mortgage Payment

If you plan to have a mortgage in your retirement, it makes sense to get the monthly payment as low as possible. While mortgage rates have slowly started to rise since the all-time low in January 2021, they are still historically below average. One way to see if refinancing can save you money is to use a service like LendGo.

LendGo is an easy-to-use platform that offers you access to a robust network of lenders with nationwide coverage. You can get a quote in as little as two minutes from multiple lenders. They even claim refinancing saves an average of $7,824 a year in payments. That’s a lot of dough you can put back in your wallet to enjoy during retirement!

If you haven’t already, you may want to consider moving sooner than later to refinance your mortgage as mortgage experts do expect rates to continue rising in 2022.

Don’t Wait – Refinance & Save Before Rates Rise

Save More for Your Future by Lowering Debt Now

Having high interest debt can prevent you from saving more for retirement. If you’ve incurred credit card debt and are struggling to pay down the balance, an app called Bright can help. It can help you get out of debt up to two times faster by using their patented system called MoneyScience™. It creates an AI-driven financial plan that pays off your credit cards and improves your credit score automatically. The average user saves $744 each year in credit card interest charges.

To get started: Download the app, then scan and link your accounts, set your goals and Bright starts working towards them. Bright currently offers a 10-day free trial so you can check it out risk-free.

Download the App and Delete Debt Faster

Shop Your Insurance Annually to Save Hundreds

Every penny counts when it comes to retirement. One of the best ways to save money on various insurance policies is to shop them annually.

With The Zebra, you can save time by getting 10 or more quotes at once from top-ranked and regional insurers that are competing for your business, offering a chance to save money on your policy. Since bundling multiple policies typically saves even more, be sure to get your auto insurance quoted simultaneously to maximize your savings. On average, The Zebra saves shoppers $922/year on home and auto combined. Head over to The Zebra now for fast, free quotes in as little as five minutes.

Find the best coverage at the lowest rate


Do you have savings tips for fellow retirees, or were you able to save money with these services? Email us at Money@GOBankingRates.com and share your story. We may even choose to highlight it in a future article. Nicole Spector and Adam McFadden contributed to the reporting for this article.


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