The prospect of retiring brings a smile to the Sonographer who has worked for many years and is finally ready for some rest, relaxation and possibly travel to exotic destinations. Nothing is better than to be able to sleep in, enjoy weekday brunches with friends and snuggle under the covers during cold rainy days. However, when an aspiring retiree has not planned financially for the joys of retirement, the result can be disappointing.
Pinching pennies and sacrificing just to make ends meet is not the kind of life most people envision after years of hard work. Those working in sonography can have a comfortable lives after retirement by putting the following strategies to work before retirement.
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Pay Down Debt
It is always a good idea to pay off consumer debt with your ultrasound technician salary. Some people try to save money while they are in debt. Saving some money while carrying debt is good for emergencies, however, having a large bank account while making minimum payments on credit cards and other debts does not make much sense. Over the long run, the interest paid on the credit cards and the time it takes to pay them off will surpass the money saved. The best practice is to put some money back for emergencies, but use extra money to pay down debts. Once the debts are paid, serious saving can begin. Paying down debt will also mean less worry after retirement since paying extra bills can eat into a fixed income very quickly. Paying for food, shelter, transportation will be enough more for most retirees to handle on a month to month basis.
Put Some Money in a 401-k
Take advantage of employee sponsored savings plans. When an employer offers “free” money through a 401-K or similar program, it is wise to participate. Many employers will match contributions so it makes sense to enroll in a plan that is tax deferred, and in many cases can result in a pretty nice sum when retirement rolls around. It is best to speak with the plan’s administrator about choosing the best investments. For the Sonographer who has several years left before retirement, some risks can be taken that result in higher returns. However, for those who have just a few years prior to retirement, it may be best to take a conservative approach to investing.
Open an IRA
Consider IRAs for saving. Individual Retirement Accounts are tax deferred. When money is deposited in an IRA account, that amount can be deducted from the taxable income which means that taxes are not paid on funds until they are withdrawn. The funds from a traditional IRA cannot be withdrawn without penalty until the account owner is 59 1/2. However, a Roth IRA uses funds that are not tax deferred so funds can be withdrawn without a penalty. Both are worthwhile investments for persons who may not work for employers who provide 401-k or similar plans. There are some limits on amounts that can be placed in IRAs, so the financial institution where the account will be held will advise investors regarding those amounts.
Consider Investing in Stocks
Stocks may be good investments for those who have several years before retirement. However, it is wise to seek the help of a qualified financial professional to map out an investment strategy since stocks can be risky in a tough economy.
Pay for Home Repairs and Large Expenses Prior to Retiring
Investing funds in home repairs is another approach to retiring with less worry. For the person who is a few years away from retirement, getting major household repairs made such as replacing a roof, purchasing a new heating system, and updating old appliances makes good sense. These items can be paid off prior to retiring and may never need to be replaced again. It is a good idea to purchase additional warranty time so that items can be replaced without charge if they should go bad after retirement. Another consideration is to think about buying a newer automobile if the current one has problems. This will mean having reliable transportation with fewer repair bills since retirement will retire less driving resulting in less wear and tear on the car or truck.
Consider Working a Few Part-time Hours After Retirement
Those planning to retire from a sonography job have another option for extra money in retirement. That is to consider working part-time or as needed. For many medical professionals who provide clinical services, staying with an organization on a part-time or as-needed basis works well. They already are familiar with people, policies, and procedures. They can usually work a part-time schedule that will meet their needs. Staying on as a part-timer is a win-win situation for an employer and the retiree. A retiree can earn some extra money for vacations, or for unexpected expenses, and the employer retains a seasoned professional without the expense of training someone new and providing costly fringe benefits.