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Making those golden years shine

You've worked hard. And you're still working hard. But is it enough to fund the retirement you're dreaming of? There are a few things you can do to make those golden years a little more, well, golden.

It's a no-brainer to contribute the full amount allowable to an IRA or 401(k). Not only will it maximize your tax savings but it will increase your interest earning potential. However, getting those extra pennies in the bank might be proving to be tougher than you thought. Here are a few new thoughts on how to increase your nest egg:

  • Put any windfalls into your retirement. It might be more fun to buy a toy or take a vacation, but if you put a raise or bonus into your retirement, you're ensuring it will be a whole lot more fun. Your current lifestyle won't change and you may be able to get more bang for your buck if your employer offers a plan that matches your contributions.

  • Trim back and cut your spending. It all starts with knowing where you're spending and what you're spending. Then you move on to creating a budget you can live with. You don't have to go bare bones, just make a plan to pack lunches, only get coffee once a week, cook at home more often, and visit less expensive stores. Take any money you save and put it into your retirement account.

  • Side hustles are a great way to invest in your future self. A side job, or even starting your own business, could get a lot more cash flowing your way. Remember, the idea is to put that cash into your retirement account, not into adding to your shoe collection.

  • If you never see the money you contribute, you won't miss it, so make it automatic and have the funds taken out of your check before you see it. You may even be able to find a plan that offers an auto-escalation feature.

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