Retirement Planning At The Last Minute — 5 Counterintuitive Tips

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Have you put off retirement planning until later in life? If so, you face a challenge to catch up with this important financial step when you don't have the luxury of time.

While some important retirement savings moves — like trying to use the IRS catch-up provisions to add more to retirement accounts — are easy to understand, others can seem counterintuitive. But these counterintuitive measures can be as important to your wallet. Here are five to consider and why.

1. Don't Aggressively Try To Catch Up

When their retirement accounts are low, many savers want to boost them as fast as possible and as much as possible in the time period left. But this puts your retirement even more at risk. Why? Simply, aggressive investments increase your risk of losses. Remember, the bigger the potential return, the bigger the potential to lose money. The days of using more aggressive investments to increase values should probably be over. 

2. Consider Accessing Your Equity

Many people hold on to their homes with the goal of paying off the mortgage before retiring and having one less bill each month. But is this realistic in your situation? If you aren't going to be mortgage-free any time soon, consider selling the home and accessing its equity instead. A house with significant equity can free up the cash needed to save your retirement plan or reduce monthly expenses to tolerable levels. 

3. Cut Expenses Now

Don't wait to start aggressively cutting expenses. Downsizing your lifestyle now accomplishes two things. First, it frees up money that you can divert toward retirement planning. Second, it makes expense reduction more successful. You have more time to whittle down expenses and rethink your new normal lifestyle. 

4. Plan to Keep Earning

Retirement doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing earning situation. If savings aren't likely to be enough, form a plan to keep earning an income during retirement. Figure out how to produce a little income from a hobby or side gig. Create a consulting gig from your current skill set. Rent out part of your home as a vacation rental. Or learn to do something online you can get paid for. 

5. Hire a Planner

Spending money on outside help now may seem foolish, but it may be an investment in the future. A fee-only financial planner can assess where you stand, project more accurately what you'll have in retirement, adjust your expectations, and make a new plan. Their experienced help and independent assessment may assist you in ways you hadn't even considered. 

Where to Start

Not sure how to implement any of these counterintuitive retirement planning measures? Start by meeting with a financial planner who specializes in retirement planning today. Together, you will formulate a plan that could save your retirement no matter how late it is.