The third week of October is National Save for Retirement Week, and that means it's prime time to embrace new and creative ways to add some more money to our retirement cash reserves.
One piece of news that raises the importance of diligence about retirement comes from the U.S. government. The Social Security Administration recently announced there will be no annual raise in Social Security benefits for 2016, giving Americans a stronger, short-term impetus for upping their retirement savings game.
The good news is there are myriad ways to find those funds, if you're willing to step out of your comfort zone to create that extra income.
Andrew Meadows, vice president of brand culture at San Francisco-based Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, says one area you can get creative with is cash flow.
"A lot of people are concerned that they aren't going to have enough saved for retirement, but you can always find ways to create additional income," Meadow notes. One idea from Meadows: get more involved in your community.
"Use your expertise to help with various small projects instead of doing day-to-day work," Meadows adds. "Alternatively, try doing some consultant work that doesn't feel like an ongoing job, but gives you the opportunity to talk about things you enjoy."
On the savings side, automate your savings account contributions, so you have no excuse, Meadows says. Also, increase any of your retirement savings plans, especially if you've received a raise or bonus in the last several months.
Another creative strategy - if you operate a part-time business or earn income from a board of director position, you can fund a SEP IRA, says Rick Bender, a financial advisor with Savant Capital Management in Rockford, Ill. "This would allow for another IRA account for the individual to defer taxes and draw from in the future," he says, adding that it's only possible for those who receive 1099 income.
Think small, too, as that can lead to larger accumulated retirement savings. "Have several rummage sales throughout the year and make contributions to your Roth IRA," Bender advises. Roth IRAs are after-tax accounts, so the contributions are not subject to penalty upon withdrawal in retirement.
It all adds up, Bender says. "If you can trim less than $3.00 a day in your daily budget annually, that will add up to more than $1,000 for your retirement accounts [over the course of a year," he says. "So maybe it is worth it to bring your coffee to work from home."
You can also get a "two-fer" on your retirement savings by stashing money into your 401(k).