NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Although the best way to save for retirement comes down to spending less, saving more and doing that sooner rather than later, if you're behind on contributions, there are ways to catch up. Here's what you can do to help make up for lost time when you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.
If you're in your 30s …
When you're in your 30s, you should keep trying to live below your means, says Kimberly Foss, Certified Financial Planner and founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. You likely have more money coming in than you did when you were in your 20s, but that's not a good reason to spend it.
"The wealthiest clients I have live well below their means, and they have for their entire lives. If you can learn to live below your means, you will be so far ahead when you're ready to retire," she says.
When you get bonuses and raises, don't be tempted to spend them. Take at least half of your newfound cash and put it into your 401(k), Foss says.
"People have a habit of spending what they make, and it's a dangerous one. The truth is, you've been living on what you've been making, and you're still surviving. Sure, enjoy yourself, take a vacation, but save as much as you possibly can. You aren't going to die or be destitute because you didn't spend that other $1,000."
When you're in your 30s, you may have student loan debt left and credit card debt you're paying down. To get the most out of your money, try to eliminate all debts as soon as possible, Foss says.