5 Ways to Make the Final 10-20 Years Before Retirement Really Count


Louisville, KY – October 11, 2016 – Congress established National Save for Retirement Week in 2006 with the goal of raising public awareness about the importance of retirement savings and to encourage participation in employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. “Now, a full ten years later, the need to address retirement security has never been more urgent,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180. SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed to be simple and affordable.

Recent data highlights this need:

  • In a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, respondents reported that “not saving for retirement early enough” was their greatest financial regret.
  • According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 52% of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings (such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA).
  • A report from Boston College says empty nesters are increasing their 401(k) savings after the kids leave home, but only by extremely small amounts: 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points.

“Individuals entering their final 10-20 years before retirement may find the limited time frame sobering, but the truth is, it is never too late to save for retirement. Rather than be discouraged, they should embrace this window of opportunity,” Carla continued

Following is Carla’s advice for individuals entering their last 10-20 years before retirement:

  1. Have a comprehensive, up-to-date financial plan. This plan will tell you exactly how much you still need to sock away. A clearly defined goal is often what we need to galvanize us into action. If you do not yet have a comprehensive financial plan, now is the time to get one. Your financial plan will tell you, for example, exactly how much you should contribute to your 401(k) this year. If you’re curious what that amount might be, here’s a quick way to get an idea. Consider that your retirement portfolio (not just your stock portfolio but assets that include real estate and rental income as well) should be 10-15 times your expenses in retirement. Compare that ideal retirement portfolio number to what you currently have saved, and you’ll get a general idea of how much you’ll need to crank up your retirement savings.
  1. Make saving for retirement your #1 financial priority—then really lean in to your savings goals. It’s never too late to save and, chances are, you are now at the peak of your earning power. Plus, with the kids finished with college and out of the house, you have more funds to direct into your retirement savings. This is the perfect time to fatten your nest egg and set yourself up for long-term financial security, so make it your top priority. Max out all retirement vehicles available to you and take advantage of “Catch Up” contributions available through your employer and for your IRA.
  1. Pay off any lingering debts. If you have outstanding balances on credit cards, car loans or other installment loans, plan on paying them off before you retire. If possible, you should arrive at retirement debt-free. That way, the retirement savings you’ve worked so hard to accumulate will be yours to spend in full, rather than being reduced every month by debt payments.
  1. Reduce your living expenses. The flip side of boosting your retirement savings is gradually streamlining your lifestyle now, in preparation for retirement. Take a close look at your monthly expenses and identify items you can do without. Start eliminating a few expenses every year until you retire. This gradual approach will let you significantly cut your monthly expenses without feeling the shock of adjustment. Often, not knowing how much you really need to live on is the biggest challenge to your retirement dreams.
  1. Consider creative sources of retirement income. Keep in mind that there are many ways to generate the income you need in retirement—it does not all have to come from your investment portfolio. With 10 or more years to plan creatively, you can set yourself up to receive solid rental income by converting part of your home into a rental or investing in a multifamily residence. You can participate in the sharing economy (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and DogVacay are some services to consider). Or, you can plan to sell specific assets to boost your income in any given year. Typically, asset sales aren’t recurring sources of income, but don’t discount creativity. I learned of an insurance agent who shops at Walmart on Black Friday and then sells the items he bought at a deep discount for 4x their original price on eBay!


About SUM180

SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed to make planning and dealing with your money simple and affordable.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

  • SUM180 meets people where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help people wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
  • SUM180 plans are simple. They start with only the three (3) most important next steps, making them easier to accomplish, and gives clients a clear picture of where they are.
  • SUM180 doesn’t assume clients want to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with “education” and details they don’t need.
  • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered, which allows them to explore and share.
  • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes commissions from any of its recommendations, ever.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.

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Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.504.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile