retirement

7 Ways to Boost Your Retirement

How to earn more money after you've retired

Ready to retire but worried that you won't have enough money? Don't play the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" game. Even now it's not too late to increase your income and your financial security.

1. Consider working a little longer. For the average worker, staying on the job for just two more years lowers the amount of savings you need to finance your retirement by about 25%, estimates the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Not only do you get the benefit of the additional income, but you also get a few more years to sock away money and accrue pension and Social Security benefits.

2. Build tax-free retirement income. Contribute to a Roth IRA while you're working. If you're 50 or older next year, you and your spouse can each contribute up to $6,000 to Roth accounts--$5,000 in basic contributions plus a $1,000 catch-up-as long as you meet income requirements (in 2008, your income can't exceed $169,000 if you're married filing jointly or $116,000 if you're single). [link to Roth stories]

3. Downsize. Financial advisers generally recommend that you assume you'll need about 85% of your pre-retirement income after you leave your job. But it pays to do a budget dry run. By paying off your mortgage, or moving to smaller digs or a less expensive area, you may be able to increase your cash flow and get by on much less.

4. Keep 50% of your retirement savings invested in the stock market. That will protect your assets from being eaten away by inflation.

5. Delay taking Social Security. Wait till your normal retirement age to receive Social Security in order to maximize benefits. Once you reach normal retirement age, you can even receive full benefits while you continue working. If your husband's benefits are larger than yours, waiting till full retirement age to claim them will also result in bigger payouts for you as a surviving spouse.

6. Tap your home equity with a reverse mortgage. This relatively new real estate product lets you borrow against your equity and forgo repayment for as long as you stay in the house (for more information, go to www.reversemortgage.org or search "reverse mortgages" at www.hud.gov).

7. Buy an annuity. If you don't have a pension, you can guarantee a stream of income that you can't outlive by using some of your nest egg to buy an immediate-payout annuity. To see how much income you can buy, go to www.annuityshopper.com.

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