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4 easy ways to fund your retirement

May 20, 2011

| Money Rates Columnist

There's no question the landscape of retirement has changed. The hills we have to climb are a little steeper than they were even 10 years ago.

It used to be we could sock away a lot of money into savings accounts or money market accounts and then live off the combination of Social Security and interest from our investments. But with even the best savings accounts paying just over 1 percent and the best CD rates topping out at less than 3 percent, many of us will need different strategies in order to make sure we have enough money in our checking account to last.

Here are some strategies you might be able to use to boost your retirement funds:

  1. Start a small side business

    By starting a small business now, you can get it established and make a good return just as you are about to retire. Look for something that takes only 20 hours or less a week of your time; if it returns $20,000 a year during your retirement, that's the equivalent of having an extra $1 million in savings.

  2. Extend your career

    Some of us who had to find new careers during the Great Recession learned a thing or two about putting all our eggs into one basket. So as you approach retirement, look for opportunities with your current employer for continuing on in some part-time capacity that keeps you engaged but also gives you freedom. The extra income will be welcomed in retirement, and your employer will be grateful to have an experienced hand around.

  3. Learn now to track your spending

    When you retire, you'll need to have a good handle on just how much money you'll need to enjoy life. Create a spreadsheet and look at your expenses and consider which ones you will be able to do without when retirement comes.

  4. Remain diversified

    Although you have put much of your money in safer investments as you approach retirement, keep some in growth investments. This will help you stay ahead of inflation, which certificates of deposit and savings accounts won't do.

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