5 Steps to the Perfect Retirement

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The movies always show retirees on a pristine beach, sipping cocktails, eating fresh seafood, and living their best lives. Whether that’s your dream retirement or you have something else in mind, there is a way to have the perfect retirement without using up all of your savings in the first few years.

At Dime, it’s our job to help you make the most of your money, which is why we’ve pulled together these important tips to help your retirement funds stretch as far as they can go when you’re ready to live your perfect retirement.

Step 1: Make a retirement budget, and start living by it before you retire

If you already have a budget, you’re off to a good start, but your retirement budget will be a little different. For starters, you won’t have your regular income coming in every month. If you do have funds coming in, it likely won’t be as much as you currently have while working full time, so you’ll need to take that into consideration.

Also take into account what you want to do, where you want to live, and any expenses you’ll have that you might not have to pay for now.

Create your retirement budget at least a year or two before you actually retire, and see if you can live on that budget for a few months. It might help you get a better sense for what you have planned. And hey, if you can make it work, think of all the extra money you’ll save now!

Step 2: Make your wish list or bucket list.

Even if you’ve never really thought about the things you want to do in your retirement, start making a list now. Add to it over time as more ideas pop into your head.

  • Is there a new career you want to start when you retire?
  • Do you want to go back to school and earn a degree?
  • Does buying a boat and sailing around the world set your mind racing?
  • Build a pottery studio in your backyard?
  • Open a B&B?

Whatever sounds interesting to you, write it down.

As you get closer to retirement, start doing the research. Is there a priority or hierarchy to the items on your list? If so, put them in order and start pricing them out. This will give you a clearer sense of how much you’ll need when you retire and will give you some realistic expectations for your ideal retirement life. Add these ideas to your budget and see how things change.

Step 3. Save as much as you can now

While you’re still working full time, put as much as you can into retirement accounts to get as much as you can in interest before you take the money out. If your employer offers a match on your 401k contributions, max that match out — it’s free money from your employer! Look into different ways to grow your savings.

At Dime, we offer amazing rates on our Money Market accounts, CDs, IRAs, and more to get you on the fast track to earning the money you need to lead your best retired life.

Step 4. Pay off your debt

Mortgages, student loans, credit cards — it all adds up. And if you’re still paying off debt when you retire, you’ll have to continue to do so until the debt is gone. If you can, pay off your debt as soon as you can so that money can go into your retirement. The less debt you have to pay off when you retire, the more fun you can have instead.

If you’re considering downsizing your home, moving, or buying a vacation property when you retire (or maybe that boat), you might want to consider doing it before you retire. It’ll give you a chance to pay down the debt while you still have a regular paycheck, making it easier to afford when you do retire.

Plus, you’ll probably get a better rate while you’re still working than when you retire.

Can’t pay off your debt right now? Consider refinancing for a better rate and save a little money that way.

Step 5. Get a financial planner

Even financial planners see financial planners sometimes, so it’s not a bad idea to make an appointment with someone you trust to make sure you’re on target for your retirement plans. Financial planners will help you better manage your finances, evaluate your portfolio, and find new ways to help you grow your savings.

At Dime Community Bank, we want to help you live your best retirement life, without blowing through your savings. Call 1-800-321-DIME (3463) and let us help you get on track for the perfect retirement.

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