|Written by Catherine Woods|
Millions of workers today are facing the harsh reality that they are closing in on retirement and do not have one dollar in their retirement savings account. Some feel that this means that they will have to continue working full time until the day they die. This does not have to be so. Though you will likely still have to work part-time, you can still enjoy retirement even with no money. Here are some steps you can take to do just that.
Pay off your debt. If you have time before you retire, get your debt paid off. When you are facing retirement with no money, you do not want to be carrying a debt load as well. If you still have a car payment, sell your car and purchase an inexpensive one with cash. If you owe money on your home, sell it and purchase or rent something small that you can easily afford. Debt will only make what little money you have fly out the window faster, so get rid of it.
Start a budget. The next thing you need to do is create a budget. Start listing how much all your basic needs will cost every month and how much money you expect to bring in from things like pensions and social security. If your expenses are more than the amount you expect to bring in, then you need to start finding cheaper ways to do things and a way to make money during retirement.
Have an emergency fund. From now until the time you retire, save every penny you can as an emergency fund. Just because you have no money right now does not mean you have to retire like that. Even if you only have a few months until you retire, you can likely save enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses, if not more. So do not tell yourself that because you have no money saved right now that it doesn't matter whether you save or not. Every dollar counts when you retire, so save as much money as you can.
Sell you stuff. In order to help you retirement fund along, start selling items you don't need. Quite likely you have already sold a car or a house, but do not stop there. Start selling furniture, TVs, old books and anything else you do not need. Not only will this money give you a safety net when you retire but it will help you get ready to do the next step.
Downsize your home. As painful as it may be to downsize from a large house to a small apartment, it is necessary when you are retiring with no money. Move into the smallest home or apartment that you can for you and your spouse if you have one. This will help you significantly cut down on living expenses and might even allow you to put several thousands of dollars into your emergency fund if you are selling your home at a profit.
Live as frugally as possible. Start learning how to live frugally now. You are going to have to do it anyway once you retire, so you might as well get used to it and save some money in the process. Start clipping coupons, cook cheap meals, shop around on insurance, stop eating out, down grade your cell phone plan and cut out anything else you can. Think of it as getting back to the basics in life.
Make some money during retirement. Even doing all of these things, it is probably still going to be necessary for you to find a way to make money during retirement. Just because you have to do this, however, does not mean that you cannot enjoy your retirement. Find something that you enjoy doing and then find a way to earn income off of it. Start writing online if you enjoy writing. Sell your produce if you enjoy gardening. Become part time if you enjoy children. If you can find a way to make money doing something you love, you will not mind working a little during retirement.
Though it can be difficult, it is still possible to retire when you have no money saved for this change. Remember, the sooner you start doing these things, the better shape you will be in when it comes time to retire. So get started working through these steps so you can retire even with no money in your 401k.