By your 60th birthday, retirement is just on the horizon. But you should have started saving up for this big milestone decades ago.
In fact, experts at Fidelity Investments say that by age 60 you should have eight times your income set aside to help you be financially ready when it comes time for retirement.
If this benchmark seems unrealistic, the main point of this suggestion is that you start saving early and continue to do so consistently as you grow older. "We came up with these as guidelines or goal posts for people to aim for," Eliza Badeau, VP of workplace thought leadership at Fidelity and a retirement expert, tells CNBC Select.
While there are certain financial habits you can put into place over the years to help you achieve these big goals — including automating your savings and maxing out your retirement accounts — nearing 60 means kicking it into high gear. Here are three money moves experts advise you make as you near retirement age to ensure that you're on the right track.
Get this high-interest debt taken care of before you turn 60, suggests certified financial planner Diahann Lassus, co-founder, president and chief investment officer of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank.
Lassus notes that consumers should be even more wary of this advice in today's pandemic world when most of our buying is done online. "This movement to the internet is positive in many ways, but it can also be a negative," she says, pointing out that the ease of shopping for things online means you can buy without much thinking.
"This can increase impulse spending and that can drive up that credit card bill very quickly," Lassus says.
As you get older and closer to retirement, a high credit card bill can put a dent in any type of savings you have built to use in your non-working years. To accelerate paying off your credit card without worrying about accruing interest while you do so, transfer your debt to a balance transfer card. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long balance transfer deal: no interest for the first 20 billing cycles (after, 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR). As a plus, there's no annual fee for this card and the 0% intro period also applies to new purchases.
When shopping for non-essentials online, wait at least a day before making your purchase to give yourself extra time to think about it. This "24-hour pause rule" is one psychological way that financial therapist Amanda Clayman suggests to slow down the buying process and, ultimately, spend less.
"Remember that the best way to increase your savings is to decrease your spending," Lassus says.
Upon approaching retirement, the last thing you want to consider is finding work again. However, this could be the time to explore a passion and perhaps bring in some money while doing so.
Certified financial planner Ivory Johnson, founder of Delancey Wealth Management, says that your 60s is a time when you could increase income with a second job or a part-time side business doing something you're passionate about.
"I have a client who is retiring next year as a scientist to become a gardener because she enjoys it," Johnson tells CNBC Select.
You may also want to plan for life after your full-time job by obtaining a new client base or certifications for a new endeavor, Johnson adds.
"So, while they retire officially at 60, they may generate revenue from 60 to 65 without the stress of a career," he says. "For instance, I advised another client to go to culinary school because she likes to cook and needed to expand her social circle after the death of her husband."
From a planning perspective, not having a mortgage is important, Johnson notes.
At what age you pay off your mortgage is highly personal and depends on various factors. "Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary says that the ideal age to be debt-free is 45, but each person has their own unique scenario depending on what type of other debt they are facing. Whatever your financial situation may be, it's worth considering how your mortgage factors into it.
"The mortgage is a big deal," Johnson says. "It's usually 30% to 40% of a person's spending, and, since the biggest fear of any retiree is running out of money, not having a mortgage means they'll always have a roof over their head. That's the emotional benefit to what's largely considered a math problem."
As you near age 60 and your retirement years, you may already have your mortgage paid off, or you could still be making payments. Lassus recommends doing a complete financial review every year so you know exactly where you are in relation to your objectives. And if you need an excuse to start, a new year is the optimal time.
"This is a great time to do just that as you begin to collect your tax information," she says.
Information about the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.