Skip to main content


It's Not Too Late to Make These 4 Retirement Moves

7 Minute Read

A fast-approaching retirement may be one of life's most stressful experiences. You wonder if you've done enough to save. You worry you'll outlive your wealth. You might even decide that retirement simply isn't an option for you.

Fortunately, whether your targeted retirement date is next week or next year, you still have time to strengthen your finances. Small changes late in the game may not add zeros to your savings balance. But they could ease your stress level and improve the longevity of your savings.

Here are four last-minute retirement moves that are well worth the effort.

1. Consider a 401(k) rollover

Some 401(k)s are better than others. If your 401(k) has high administrative fees, subpar investment options, or unworkable withdrawal limitations, you might benefit from rolling those funds into an IRA once you retire. To make this determination, complete these three steps: 

  1. Do some quick research into low-fee IRAs and compare those costs to your 401(k) administrative fees. Even a small percentage difference can siphon away thousands from your savings over the course of your retirement.
  2. Review the investment options in your 401(k), including the fund expense ratios. Decide if the options are suitable to support your investing needs for the rest of your life. The best practice is to adjust your investments to be more conservative as you age. You need a good mix of low-expense options to make that happen.
  3. Ask your 401(k) plan administrator about retirement withdrawals. Can you pull money whenever you need to, or do you have to set up a regular withdrawal schedule? Can you request which funds are liquidated for your withdrawals? Make sure the terms are agreeable to you. 

2. Downsize to save

Lowering your living expenses benefits your retirement in two ways. One, you free up cash for higher last-minute retirement contributions. And two, you reduce the income you'll need from your savings going forward. That reduction could add months or even years to the lifespan of your savings.

3. Add to your emergency fund

A healthy cash savings balance can also extend the life of your retirement portfolio. When something bad happens, like a car accident or illness, your cash account is your first line of defense.

If you can withdraw the money you need from your emergency fund, you don't have to liquidate from your retirement portfolio. Liquidations reduce your earnings power. You probably can't avoid liquidating in retirement, but a nice cash balance helps you minimize that activity.

Target a cash balance that's at least enough to cover six months of living expenses, plus your major insurance deductibles.

4. Increase your passive income

Passive income is your best financial friend in retirement. Investments that throw off cash can fund your living expenses and reduce your reliance on liquidations. If you can live entirely off your passive income sources, including Social Security, you can keep your savings balance mostly intact -- at least until you start taking RMDs at age 72.

Review your retirement portfolio with an eye for increasing your income-producing assets. Bond funds, reliable dividend-paying stocks, and REITs are options. You might use a mix of all three to suit your income needs and risk tolerance.

Last-minute retirement moves

Winning at retirement takes decades of planning, but it's never too late to improve your position. Even small tweaks could be worth tens of thousands of dollars over time. Reducing your account fees and living expenses are two examples.

You can also extend the longevity of your savings by adding to your cash balance and increasing your holdings of income-producing assets. Because, let's face it, enjoying retirement will be far easier when you're less worried about outliving your savings.


This article was written by Catherine Brock from The Motley Fool and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


Related Articles

Nearing Retirement? Make Your New Venture More Secure By Getting Financial Advice Now

4 Important Tax Items Every Retiree Should Know About

How Tax Code Changes Can Affect Retirees

Subscribe to Investments Insights

Meet with a Financial Advisor

Ready to invest? We're ready too. Let us introduce you to your UnionBanc Investment Services Financial Advisor.

Get started

UnionBanc Investment Services is making this article available for general informational purposes only and does not purport it to be a complete analysis of the subject discussed. Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. The general information contained in this article should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.

Brokerage and investment advisory services are available through UnionBanc Investment Services LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer, investment adviser, member FINRA/SIPC, and subsidiary of MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Insurance services are available through UnionBanc Insurance Services, a division of MUFG Union Bank, N.A. with a California domicile and principal place of business at 1201 Camino Del Mar, Suite 208, Del Mar, CA 92014. California State Insurance License No. 0817733. Non-deposit investment and insurance products: • Are NOT deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, the Bank or any Bank affiliate • Are NOT insured by the FDIC or by any other federal government agency • Are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested • Insurance and annuities are products of the insurance carriers.