Similarly, although the CARES Act gives you six years instead of five to repay a 401(k) loan, the sooner you repay it, the sooner you’ll be in a position to take advantage of market gains on a bigger balance.
Even if you avoided taking a hardship withdrawal or loan, you may have stopped contributing to your retirement plan, or you may have reduced the amount you sock away.
As the economy recovers, look for ways to improve your cash flow so you can step up your savings game. While record-low interest rates are causing savers angst, you may be able to generate extra cash by refinancing your mortgage.
If your savings still fall short of your retirement goal, use the time you’re spending at home to track your discretionary and nondiscretionary expenses.
You may discover that some of your must-haves are no longer as critical as you once thought. That can offer a good trial run for retirement.
A popular and time-tested guideline for retirees is the 4% rule, which says that you should withdraw 4% from your retirement savings the first year of retirement, and thereafter increase the amount annually by the previous year’s inflation rate.
But depending on what happens in the markets — and the makeup of your portfolio — you may have to pare back withdrawals during down years. That’s easier to manage if you have a good handle on your spending.