Budgeting

3 Simple Ways to Generate More Retirement Savings If You’re a Late Saver

Jeff Cuellar

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For many of us, retirement is a dream. When we’re young, we talk about retirement like it’s some other planet we’ll never see.

We put off saving for it because things like watches, designer clothes, and expensive cars are a higher priority.

Plus, your Central Provident Fund (CPF) account is there anyway, so why save?

Fast forwards 20+ years – you’re now 40-50 years of age and you’re facing the prospect of not having enough savings to retire because CPF is not enough and you have very little savings.

What do you do?

I’m not going to lie to you – it’s going to take a lot of work. But if you can do these 3 simple things, you stand a chance of creating some more income to retire on:

 

1. You’ll Need to Put In Some Extra Work to Build Additional Revenue Streams

I know. You already work damn hard for your money right now. Well, as much as it pains me to say it – you’ll need to work a bit harder to generate some additional income to inflate your retirement savings.

Now, taking a part-time job or working on the weekend is one option, but that’ll burn you out very quickly.

But there are other revenue streams you can tap on that’ll help you generate more income for retirement:

  • Freelance Work: If you have skills that can be “sold” to other businesses, such as design, translation, writing, programming, photography, etc., market yourself on freelance websites or classifieds to earn extra income.
  • Being a Tutor: If you’re particularly good at playing an instrument, using a complex software program, speaking a foreign language, or certain tough academic subjects (maths, sciences), tutoring could yield some good income.
  • Sell Your Old Crap: If your storeroom looks like the attic from the movie The Goonies because you’ve hoarded tons of antique junk and trinkets, you should try selling anything without too much sentimental value. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a treasure map in there somewhere!
  • Renting Out a Spare Room: If you’ve got enough room in your flat to take on a new tenant, it’s worth exploring this option. You can easily earn another $700-$1,000+ per month this way. Just make sure you’re screening your tenants before you rent out (read this to find out more).

 

2. You’ll Need to Downgrade Your Lifestyle a Bit

It’s a coin toss between #1 and #2 when it comes to the most painful change you’ll need to make in order to “save” your retirement savings. It really depends on which one you want to put more effort into.

If you already have a budget, that’ll make it easier cut unnecessary expenses as efficiently as an ultra-conservative politician going through welfare spending.

If you don’t, you’ll want to read this article on The Only Budgeting Plan That Will Ever Work for Singaporeans to get you up to speed on the process.

So what “lifestyle” expenses should you cut from your daily budget? You can start with the following:

  • Groceries: Instead of shopping at specialty grocery stores or Cold Storage, get your groceries at NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong, or ABC store. Also, switching from “brand name” products to store brand products will usually save you extra.
  • Have Fewer Outings: Having regular gathering with your buddies to drink a few pints or taking the family out on weekly excursions to your favorite restaurant will need to decrease in frequency to once every month or two.
  • Change Your Purchasing Habits: Drinking office coffee instead of Starbucks every morning, not spending more than $5-$10 on lunch, and not buying branded clothing unless it’s on sale are good examples of purchasing habit changes you should start making.

 

3. You’ll Need to Consider Downgrading Your Home

You may have purchased a private property (condo, landed property, etc.) because you wanted the absolute best property your money could buy. And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that.

However, your monthly mortgage repayments might be eating more into your savings because children (and all the expenses they entail) and a new car now occupy a sizeable spot on your budget.

The way I see it, you have two options if you want to take this approach towards building up more retirement savings:

  • Downgrade Your Current Home: Selling your private property to an HDB flat is not that uncommon. In fact, many Singaporeans choose to downgrade because they can earn from the sale of their existing property and save more on their monthly loan repayments for a more affordable resale HDB flat.
  • Refinance Your Current Home Loan: If you haven’t refinanced your home loan in the last few years, you’re missing out a good opportunity to free up some more monthly cash by refinancing to a lower interest rate or extending your loan tenure. Want to learn more? Read this.

 

Final Note: If you’re looking to downgrade to a resale HDB flat or are interested in refinancing your current home loan, you can receive expert advice on the best home loan/refinance rates out there by using our Home Loan Wizard.

  

What are some other ways you can play “catch up” on building your retirement savings? Tell us what you think here.

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.