We all have our own dream retirement. Some of us want to travel the world. Others want to live near the beach. There are those who just want to live their twilight years in prosperity and peace of mind.
Although our retirement varies in detail, there’s one thing that we all have in common. We don’t want to retire in debt. None of us want to be like the Americans who are beyond the age of 70 who still have a combined debt of $1.1 trillion to their names. We want to be able to enjoy our lives without worrying about where we will get the money to pay off our debts.
Because the truth is, we all deserve to have our dream retirement. After working so hard to provide for ourselves and our families, not to mention the contribution we gave to society – we deserve to retire without worries.
While having debt doesn’t necessarily mean your retirement will be destroyed, the fact remains that you’re so much better off without it.
How debt affects your dream retirement
How exactly can debt affect your retirement plans? If you know the full list of negative effects that debt can bring, you’ll make sure no maxed-out credit cards or high-interest loans will retire with you. Make sure you are aware of what your credit situation can really do to your financial future. It’ll knock you to your senses and make you feel motivated to get out of debt.
Here are the different ways that debt can compromise your dream retirement.
People who are in debt usually take so long before they can retire. Before, the retirement age was 60 years old. Then it became 65. If people can’t afford to pay off their debts before their retirement, there’s a high chance that this might adjust again. Who knows, maybe some people will retire when they reach the age of 70. Or worse, some of them won’t retire at all. They’ll keep working until they drop.
It’s not just about the fact that people delay retirement because they have to pay off their debts. It’s also because they failed to save enough for their retirement. They’ve been using up their extra money to pay off different types of debt throughout their lifetime. It kept them from maximizing their retirement contributions. That’s why they had to delay their dream retirement.
Another way that debt ruins your retirement is the way it restricts your lifestyle. Whether your debt payments compromised your ability to save a lot for your retirement fund or it’s eating away at the money you saved, it doesn’t matter. Debt will restrict the type of life that you can live. Instead of living comfortably, you have to deal with a lot of lifestyle changes to help you pay off your debts.
Imagine, you should have been able to travel or live in your dream home. But because of debt, you have to get used to living a more simple life. While a simple life or downsizing your lifestyle is not that bad, some people don’t want that for their retirement. Not to mention the fact that your limited retirement funds might make you skip necessary medical treatments – just because you can’t afford it.
Don’t let debt destroy your retirement that way.
Finally, debt can ruin your dream retirement by making you feel very stressed. No matter what age you struggle with debt, it will always bring you a lot of stress. It will cause you to feel anxious and worried about how you’ll pay it off. It’ll also make you feel frustrated because you can’t live your life the way you want to because you don’t have enough money to pay for it. Your debts are taking up a huge part of your money.
All this negativity can make your stress levels seem unbearable. And with the frailty that comes with aging, it might cause you to feel all sorts of ailments in your physical body. With the expensive health care costs in this country, you don’t want to be getting sick because of your debts. That’ll just make your credit situation and retirement worse.
Among all the other threats, this is the one that can really cause you to live a miserable life during your retirement.
How to reduce debt’s impact on your retirement
Now that you know how debt can affect your dream retirement, what can you do about it?
There are many ways to reduce the impact of debt in your life. Here are some of the things that you can do right now to improve your situation and to keep debt from ruining your future.
Stick to your budget
It’s always best to start with your budget. Why? Because it will give you an overview of your financial situation. You will have a better understanding of your financial capabilities and your ability to deal with your debts.
Once you have a clear understanding of your debts, you have to figure out how much money you can afford to set aside for all your credit obligations. Whatever amount you commit, try to stick to it. Don’t let temptations and unnecessary spending get you off track. The sacrifices you make right now will help you get your dream retirement.
Pay off debt faster
It’s also a good idea for you to pay off your debts as fast as you can. Try to curb your spending urges. If it’s not necessary for you to survive, don’t use your money. Save it for your debt payments.
The reason why you want to pay your debts faster is to save on the interest amount. You see, the longer it takes for you to finish paying off your debts, the more interest you end up paying for. This is especially true for debts with high-interest rates.
Aggressively save for retirement
While you are dealing with your debts, find a way to aggressively save for your retirement. If you see the statistics about retirement savings, you’ll be surprised at the amount of savings that Americans have set aside. 2 out of 3 40-something Americans have less than $100,000 saved for their retirement. If you don’t do anything to save more, you might end up falling short of your retirement targets.
Make sure that you try to save as much as you can. If your employer offers to match your retirement contributions, maximize it. The maximum contributions and the compound interest will help you reach your goals in saving enough for retirement.
Maximize your productive years
If you really want to keep debt from ruining your dream retirement, you have to maximize whatever years you have left. If you’re about to retire in less than a decade, work as hard as you can to give yourself the retirement that you deserve. While you are still strong, you have to use your energy so your future self can rest.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to work yourself to the bone. More than working hard, you have to find a way to work smarter. Invest your money and create multiple streams of income. If you can make one of those a passive income, that’s better. Have a backup plan for everything. Your goal is not just to retire without debt. It’s more to make your future secure.