To avoid retiring with nothing to live on, you need to start saving now — and start planning how you are going to stretch those funds to last you through your golden years. Read on for five ways to make your retirement savings last.


Ease your way into retirement

Instead of cutting off your career completely — especially if you are taking early retirement — keep working on a part-time basis even if you have reached retirement age; this way, you can take retirement for a test drive. By continuing to earn at least a portion of what you are used to making, you can reduce or eliminate the chances you will need to tap into your retirement fund early and you can postpone claiming your Social Security.

Delay claiming your Social Security benefits

If you decide to keep working, consider not collecting your Social Security benefits until you turn 70. Delaying them until this age can mean up to an 8 percent higher annual payout in your benefits.

That said, the Social Security Administration won’t give you any extra credit for delaying your benefits once you are over 70.

Incorporate Roth accounts into your retirement plan

Contributing money to a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) allows your money to grow tax-free and your distributions to come out tax-free in retirement. With traditional accounts, you receive a tax deduction for contributions, but you pay income taxes on your distributions. Also, Roth IRAs don’t force you to take minimum distributions, which allows your money to keep growing tax-free until you need it.

Budget using the bucket approach

For shorter-term needs, put the money in very conservative vehicles, such as cash and money market accounts. The second bucket is midterm money in more conservative investments such as bonds and CDs. The third bucket is your long-term planning money. The goal is to grow the assets and use them in the future to generate income or replenish the “other two buckets.”

Relocate to a more affordable area

Moving to a cheaper area or smaller space can cut costs significantly. For example, Birmingham, Ala., is the cheapest place to retire with an annual cost of $33,219, according to a GoBankingRates study. Compared to Spokane, Wash., which came in at No. 50 on the list with an annual cost of $43,102, you can save almost $10,000 per year by living in Birmingham.