Baby boomers, currently between 55-73 years old, are coming face to face with their worst financial nightmare when it comes to retirement savings. Half are already retired and beginning to suffer the consequences of saving too little too late. Where’s the real-life Doc with his Delorian when you need him?

While the average Social Security Income at this time is about $17,000 per year, most Americans 65-74 years old actually spend $55,000 per year. This is ever-frightening because that gap of $38,000 isn’t anywhere near the 4% withdrawal rate they’d pull from their average savings of $136,000. 

Maybe the fact that only 8% of boomers have purchased a longterm care policy and that 50% plan to rely on Medicare is a scarier thought. And if you’re a baby boomer nearing retirement thinking, “Ok, okay, I know it’s bad. But what do I do now?”, I’ve got good news! 

There are a few things you can tackle right away to improve your retirement outlook.

The Trilogy

The first tactical move you can make is a one-two-punch to postpone retirement and pay off debt. Retaining your full-time income for a few more years will allow cash flow you won’t have once retired. Use this “extra cash” to zero-out your creditors, reducing your monthly obligations. The fewer bills you have each month at your actual retirement date, the less you’ll need in monthly income. 

Implement a budget, only spend up to 70% of your income each month, and stuff your savings accounts as your life depends on it… because it does. While you join the ⅓ of baby boomers who have chosen to remain in the workforce longer, use your income wisely – boost savings, and reduce expenses.

Since your savings aren’t up to par, you’ll be largely reliant on Social Security income during retirement. To make the best use of those benefits, you’ll want to learn all the tips and tricks possible from a professional ASAP. Partner with a Social Security expert who can show you how long to delay filing for benefits to reap the highest monthly benefit.

Time Isn’t On Your Side

Although we thought time travel would be a thing by now since Marty McFly got to do it in the ‘80s, it hasn’t become a reality yet. Unfortunately, that means you can’t go back in time and make your younger self save more and spend less. Instead, you have to be as proactive as possible from this point forward and not just do one or two things, but start tackling this “trilogy” with a vengeance. 

You are your best advocate, and by reducing your debt and expenses as much as possible, plus cranking up the amount you’re saving out of each paycheck, in just a few short years you’ll have made a massive impact on both sides of the retirement equation. This week-to-week attention on your personal finances, coupled with a Social Security expert who can help you maximize your benefits is your best bet against eating canned beans for the next 30 years.