Boosting Your Retirement Savings: 7 Effective Strategies

The prospect of retirement can evoke a myriad of emotions – the anticipation of long-awaited rest, dreams of globetrotting, or the simple joys of spending time with loved ones without the constraints of a 9 to 5 job. However, intertwined with these dreams is the fundamental concern of financial security. Whether you’ve just embarked on your professional journey or find yourself mid-way, pondering over the adequacy of your retirement nest egg is common.

While the thought of saving up a significant amount can seem daunting, especially in an era marked by rising living costs and unforeseen financial challenges, the good news is that with the right strategies and consistent effort, you can pave the way to a comfortable retirement. It’s never too early or too late to start, and every little effort counts. From understanding the power of compounded interest to tapping into diverse income streams, this guide aims to demystify the process and arm you with practical steps to enhance your retirement savings.

Whether you’re a seasoned saver or just starting, read on to discover a wealth of insights and actionable tips designed to bring you closer to your retirement dreams.

1. Set Clear Financial Goals

Before diving into any financial journey, setting explicit, well-defined goals is paramount. Think of it as setting up a GPS for a trip – you need to know where you’re going to make the journey efficient and worthwhile.

Firstly, setting clear financial targets for retirement isn’t just about the final figure; it’s also about understanding the milestones along the way. Maybe it’s having $5,000 saved by year-end or being able to max out your 401(k) contributions for the year. Each of these smaller targets propels you closer to your overarching goal, creating a roadmap for your retirement journey.

Next, consider the lifestyle you envision in your retirement years. Do you see yourself traveling the world, pursuing hobbies, or maybe even starting a small business venture? Quantify these dreams. By attaching costs to your envisioned activities, you can make them tangible and real. It’s not just about having a comfortable retirement; it’s about living the retirement of your dreams.

Lastly, regular reviews are crucial. Financial landscapes, both personal and global, shift over time. Maybe you got a new job with a higher salary, or perhaps there was an unexpected expense that set you back a few months. By periodically assessing your financial goals, you can recalibrate and ensure that you remain on the right trajectory.

2. Smartly Allocate Your Income

A well-structured budget serves as the backbone of your financial health, especially when saving for retirement. However, crafting such a budget is more intricate than just allotting percentages to various expenses.

Begin by gaining a holistic understanding of your financial landscape. Document every income source, every fixed expense like rent or mortgage, and variable costs such as entertainment and dining. With a comprehensive view, you can identify potential savings pockets more readily.

Many people underestimate the magic of compound interest. Even if you can set aside a small portion of your salary, over time, the cumulative benefits can be significant. For instance, if you set aside $200 every month with an average interest rate of 5%, in 20 years, you’d have saved over $75,000 – and a significant portion of that comes from interest.

On the flip side, saving excessively can be counterproductive. While it might sound contradictory, over-saving can strain your present-day finances, leading to potential debts or missed opportunities. It’s essential to strike a balance that ensures both your present and future are secure.

Furthermore, consider automating your savings. Setting up an automatic monthly transfer to your retirement account not only ensures consistency but also reduces the temptation to spend. This “set it and forget it” approach guarantees that your retirement savings grow steadily without demanding constant attention.

Lastly, it’s vital to recognize that life is dynamic. Your earnings may increase, or unexpected expenses might arise. Therefore, it’s prudent to revisit and adjust your budget periodically, adapting to changes while staying aligned with your retirement goals.

3. Optimize Your Earnings with Incremental Retirement Savings

One of the simplest yet most effective strategies to boost your retirement savings is to capitalize on pay increases and unexpected financial windfalls. Rather than inflating your lifestyle with every increase in income, consider the long-term benefits of channeling those additional funds into your retirement accounts.

The Power of Incremental Savings:

  • Compound Interest: The magic of compound interest means that even small, consistent additions to your retirement funds can result in substantial growth over time. The earlier and more frequently you invest, the more you stand to gain.
  • Psychological Ease: Incrementally increasing your savings aligns with our natural propensity to adjust to gradual changes more easily than drastic ones. By upping your savings bit by bit, you’re less likely to feel the pinch in your day-to-day finances.

Strategies to Implement:

  • Pay Raise Allocations: Whenever you receive a raise, consider allocating a portion, if not all, of that increase to your retirement fund. For instance, if you get a 5% raise, you could channel 3% towards retirement and still enjoy a 2% boost in your take-home pay.
  • Bonus and Windfall Investing: It’s not uncommon to receive unexpected money – be it from bonuses, tax refunds, inheritances, or even lottery winnings. While the temptation to splurge might be high, consider saving a significant portion for your retirement. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself; you could adopt a 50/50 rule—save half and spend half.
  • Automate the Process: Make use of financial tools and account settings that automatically increase your retirement contribution percentages year by year or whenever there’s a pay increment. This way, your savings grow passively, without requiring active intervention.

Balancing Today and Tomorrow:

  • Enjoying the Present: Remember, it’s essential to strike a balance. While saving for the future is crucial, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of all pleasures today. Find a middle ground where you can enjoy the present while still securing your future.
  • Reassess Regularly: As your life circumstances change, it’s essential to revisit and potentially adjust your savings strategy. Annual financial check-ins can help ensure that you’re on track with your retirement goals while still meeting your current needs.

Incorporating incremental retirement savings is akin to planting a tree. Small, consistent contributions can grow into a robust financial safety net for your golden years. As with any financial strategy, the key is consistency, patience, and regular reassessment.

4. Maximize Opportunities with Catch-Up Contributions After 50

As we age, our financial perspectives and priorities often evolve. Recognizing this, tax regulations provide individuals aged 50 and over with the opportunity to boost their retirement savings through catch-up contributions. These provisions are designed to support those who might have started their retirement savings journey a bit later or faced financial hiccups along the way.

Catch-up contributions permit individuals over 50 to exceed the standard annual contribution limits for retirement accounts, allowing a rapid accumulation of funds in these pivotal years leading up to retirement. For instance, in 2019, while the standard contribution limit for 401(k) accounts was $19,000, those over 50 could contribute an additional $6,000, bringing the total to $25,000.

But why is this option so valuable? Beyond the obvious benefit of saving more, these extra contributions can significantly amplify the growth of your savings, especially when considering the potential return on investments over time. Additionally, given that these contributions are typically pre-tax, they can effectively reduce your taxable income for the year, providing both immediate tax relief and long-term savings benefits.

However, to make the most of catch-up contributions, it’s crucial to be strategic. If feasible, aim to maximize the additional amount you’re allowed to contribute each year. Doing so not only supercharges your savings but also ensures you’re capitalizing on every available advantage as you approach retirement.

Also, it’s essential to stay informed. Contribution limits and rules can change over time due to inflation adjustments or policy changes. Regularly reviewing the latest regulations ensures you’re always harnessing the full potential of catch-up contributions.

5. Harness the Power of Employer Match Programs

A significant benefit offered by many employers is the 401(k) match program, an often-underutilized tool that can substantially augment your retirement savings. Essentially, it’s free money that your employer contributes on top of your own savings, based on predetermined match criteria.

Understanding the specifics of your employer’s match program is pivotal. There are various structures that companies might employ. Some might offer a dollar-for-dollar match up to a certain percentage of your salary, meaning for every dollar you contribute, they’ll add an identical amount. Others might have a tiered system or a partial match, such as 50 cents for every dollar you save, up to a certain cap.

But why do companies offer such programs? Beyond being a perk to attract talent, these matching programs promote financial responsibility and long-term planning among employees. An employer’s investment in your retirement indicates their vested interest in your future, aligning both immediate job satisfaction and long-term well-being.

To make the most of this benefit:

  • Start Early: The sooner you begin contributing, the longer your matched funds have to grow through compound interest.
  • Aim for the Max: If possible, contribute enough to capitalize on the maximum match offered. Not doing so essentially leaves free money on the table.
  • Stay Informed: Be aware of any vesting schedules. Some companies require you to be employed for a certain number of years before their matched contributions become wholly yours. Understand these terms to ensure you don’t lose out on any matched funds.
  • Regular Reviews: Just as your financial situation changes, companies might adjust their match programs based on business needs or economic climates. Regularly review the terms and adjust your contributions as needed.

Remember, while a 401(k) match is a stellar benefit, it’s also part of your total compensation package. Failing to take full advantage of it means you’re not realizing the full value of your employment contract.

6. Embrace the Benefits of a Roth IRA

The Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) stands as one of the most flexible retirement savings vehicles available, especially for those without access to employer-sponsored plans or for individuals looking to diversify their retirement portfolio.

Why a Roth IRA? Unlike traditional IRAs, contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars. This means you won’t get a tax deduction for your contributions today, but the trade-off is that your withdrawals during retirement are typically tax-free. This can be a significant advantage, especially if you anticipate being in a higher tax bracket in the future.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • No Age Limitations: While traditional IRAs compel you to start taking required minimum distributions at a certain age, Roth IRAs have no such stipulations. This provides more control over your retirement funds, allowing them to grow tax-free for as long as you wish.
  • Flexibility with Withdrawals: After the account has been open for five years and once you’ve reached the age of 59½, you can make tax- and penalty-free withdrawals. Additionally, Roth IRAs let you withdraw your contributions (but not your earnings) at any time, without penalties. This feature can be especially useful in emergencies.
  • Income Restrictions: While Roth IRAs offer incredible benefits, they come with income eligibility restrictions. It’s essential to be aware of these limits, as they can change annually. For instance, in 2019, single filers with a modified adjusted gross income exceeding $137,000 (or $203,000 for married couples filing jointly) were not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA directly.
  • Contribution Limits: Like other retirement accounts, Roth IRAs have annual contribution limits. Staying updated on these limits ensures you make the most of this savings vehicle each year.

Strategies to Consider:

  • Backdoor Roth IRA: If your income surpasses the eligibility threshold, you might consider a ‘Backdoor Roth IRA.’ This strategy involves contributing to a traditional IRA and then converting those funds to a Roth IRA. While there are tax implications during the conversion, it’s a viable way for high-earners to take advantage of the Roth’s benefits.
  • Diversify with Multiple Accounts: If you already have an employer-sponsored plan, integrating a Roth IRA can provide tax diversification in retirement. Since withdrawals from employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s are typically taxable, having a Roth IRA can give you a tax-free withdrawal option.

By understanding the nuances and benefits of a Roth IRA, individuals can strategically optimize their retirement savings, catering to both immediate needs and long-term growth.

7. Unlock Your Earning Potential with Additional Income Streams

In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, the opportunities to generate additional income beyond your primary job are more accessible than ever. Diversifying your income sources not only adds financial security but can also expedite your journey toward a comfortable retirement.

Why Consider Additional Income Streams?

  • Risk Mitigation: Relying on a single source of income can be precarious. By diversifying, you create a safety net, ensuring financial stability even if one income stream experiences a downturn.
  • Accelerated Savings: Extra earnings can be directly channeled into retirement accounts, allowing you to hit your retirement goals faster and potentially enjoy a more luxurious retirement lifestyle.
  • Skill Development: Pursuing additional income often involves learning new skills or honing existing ones, which can be both personally fulfilling and professionally advantageous.

Exploring Opportunities:

  • Freelancing & Consulting: Leverage your professional expertise to offer freelance or consultancy services. Platforms like Upwork or LinkedIn can connect you to potential clients.
  • Online Ventures: The digital age offers immense potential. Start a blog, create a YouTube channel, or sell products on platforms like Etsy. With dedication, these can become significant revenue sources.
  • Real Estate: While it requires capital, investing in real estate, whether through buying properties to rent or real estate investment trusts (REITs), can be a stable income source and a hedge against inflation.
  • Teaching & Tutoring: If you possess expertise in a particular field, consider teaching or tutoring, either in-person or via platforms like Coursera or Udemy.
  • Passive Income Streams: Consider investments that require minimal ongoing effort, like dividend stocks, writing a book, or creating an online course.

Keys to Success:

  • Passion & Enjoyment: While the aim is to generate income, selecting ventures you’re passionate about ensures sustainability and reduces burnout.
  • Financial Management: With multiple income streams, it’s crucial to effectively manage and track your earnings. Consider using budgeting tools or hiring a financial advisor to optimize your income allocation.
  • Continuous Learning: The world of side hustles and additional income streams is ever-evolving. Stay updated with trends, tools, and opportunities to ensure continued success.

Expanding your horizons by creating additional income streams not only provides financial security but also opens doors to personal growth and new experiences. In the context of retirement, these additional funds can make the difference between a basic retirement and one filled with adventures and comfort.

Building a Comfortable Future: It’s Within Reach

Navigating the waters of personal finance, particularly when considering the long horizon of retirement, can often feel like steering through uncharted territory. Yet, the journey towards a secure and comfortable retirement is less about grand gestures and more about consistent, informed choices. Each step we’ve discussed in this guide, from optimizing pay increases to diversifying income streams, is a testament to the power of steady, incremental actions over time.

But remember, while financial preparation is undeniably crucial, retirement isn’t solely about the monetary aspect. It’s also about visualizing and crafting a life phase filled with purpose, passion, and peace. As you make decisions about your finances, always align them with your vision of what a fulfilling retirement looks like for you.

In the vast landscape of financial advice, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But, by breaking down the journey into tangible steps and regularly reassessing your strategies, you make the daunting achievable. You’ve armed yourself with knowledge; now, the journey to a worry-free retirement is in your hands. Stay informed, stay consistent, and most importantly, stay optimistic. Your golden years can indeed be golden, both in memories and financial comfort.

About the Author

Client Credit Report Authorization

You hereby authorize and instruct Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS, dba Money Fit by DRS) and/or its assigned agents to:
  • Obtain and review your credit report, and
  • Request verifications of your income and rental history, and any other information deemed necessary for improving your housing situation (for example, verifying your annual property tax obligations and homeowner’s insurance fees)
Your credit report will be obtained from a credit reporting agency chosen by DRS. You understand and agree that DRS intends to use the credit report evaluate your financial readiness to purchase or rent a home and/or to engage in post-purchase counseling activities and not to grant credit. You understand you may ask any questions pertaining to your credit report. However, while DRS will review the information with you, the company is not able to furnish you with a copy of your credit profile. You hereby authorize DRS to share your information from your credit report and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the entities listed below to help DRS determine your viable financial options.
  • Banks
  • Counseling Agencies
  • Debt Collectors
  • Landlords
  • Lenders
  • Mortgage Servicers
  • Property Management Companies
  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Social Service Agencies
Entities such as mortgage lenders and/or counseling agencies may contact your DRS counselor to evaluate the options for which you may be eligible. In connection with such evaluation, you authorize the credit reporting and/or financial agencies to release information and cooperate with your DRS counselor. No information will be discussed about you with entities not directly involved in your efforts to improve your housing situation. You hereby authorize the release of your information to program monitoring organizations of DRS, including but not limited to, Federal, State, and nonprofit partners for program review, monitoring, auditing, research, and/or oversight purposes. In addition, you authorize DRS to have your credit report pulled two additional times to conduct program evaluations. You also agree to keep DRS informed of any changes in address, telephone number, job status, marital status, or other conditions which may affect your eligibility for a program you have applied for or a counseling service that you are seeking. Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Client Privacy, Data Security, and Client Rights Policy

NOTE: This sheet is to inform new or returning clients about our services, records, fees, and limitations that may affect you as a consumer of our services. This form also discloses how we might release your information to other agencies and/or regulators. If you do not understand a statement, please ask a Debt Reduction Services (DRS) counselor for assistance.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS) has put into place policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of your nonpublic personal information. This notice explains our online information practices and how we use and maintain your information to conduct our financial education and credit counseling sessions and to fulfill information and question requests. This privacy policy complies with federal laws and regulations.

To provide our financial education and credit counseling services, we collect nonpublic personal information about you as follows: 1) Information we receive from you, 2) Information about your transactions with us or others, and 3) Information we receive from your creditors or a consumer reporting agency. We do not share this information with outside parties.

We use non-identifying and aggregate information to better design our website and services, but we do not disclose anything that could be used to identify you as an individual.

You hereby authorize DRS, when necessary, to share your nonpublic personal, financial, credit, and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the following entities in order to help DRS provide you with appropriate counseling or guide you to appropriate services: third parties such as government agencies, your lender(s), your creditor(s), and nonprofit housing-related and other financial agencies as permitted by law, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online. We limit access to your nonpublic personal information to our employees, contractors and agents who need such access to provide products or services to you or for other legitimate business purposes.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. complies with the privacy requirements set forth in the HUD housing counseling agency handbook 7610.1 (05/2010), including the sections 2-2 Mc, 3-1 H(2), 3-3, 5-3 F, and Attachment A.5. At all times, we will comply with all additional laws and regulations to which we are subject regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of individually identifiable information.

  1. Services: DRS provides the following housing-related services: counseling that includes Homeless Assistance, Rental Topics, Pre-purchase/Homebuying, and Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase); Education courses that include Financial literacy (including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding use of credit), Predatory lending, loan scam or other fraud prevention, Fair housing, Rental topics, Pre-purchase homebuyer education, Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop (including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners), and other workshops not listed above.

Please refer to DebtReductionServices.org for details of our services.

  1. Limits: Our services are limited to our normal weekday business hours. We do not provide individual counseling or education services after hours or on weekends, although our education courses are available 24/7.
  2. Fees: We do not charge fees for our financial management counseling and education. However, if you use them, you may have to pay for our Debt Management Program, Student Loan Counseling, Bankruptcy Certificate Services or certain financial education courses (homebuyer education, rental topics, fair housing, predatory lending, and post-purchase-non-delinquency including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners).
  3. Records: We maintain records of the services you receive, including notes about your progress or other relevant information to your work with us. You have the right to access and view your records by making a request to your counselor.
  4. Confidentiality: We respect your privacy and offer our services in confidence with the understanding that we may share such information with auditors and government regulators. Certain laws or situations may also lead to disclosing confidential issues, such as those involving potential child abuse or neglect, threats to harm self or others, or court subpoenas.
  5. Refusal of Services: You have the right to refuse services without any penalty or loss.
  6. Disclosure of Policies and Practices: You will be provided our agency disclosure statement.
  7. Sharing of Information: Sometimes we will need to contact other agencies or we may need to share your information, including your records, with other agencies or with regulators. We will do this only if you sign this form that gives us permission except for limited reasons; please see # 5 above for examples of such situations.
  8. Other: You have the right to be treated with respect by our staff, and we expect the same from you in return. We encourage you to always ask questions if something is not clear. We also encouraged you to express your thoughts and advocate throughout our services.

You acknowledge that this authorization will remain in effect for the duration of time that DRS serves as your housing counselor or financial education provider. You also acknowledge that should you wish to terminate this authorization, you will notify DRS in writing.

Disclosure  Statement

NOTE: If you have an impairment, disability, language barrier, or otherwise require an alternative means of completing this form or accessing information about our counseling services, please communicate with your DRS representative about arranging alternative accommodations.

Program Disclosure Form

Disclosure to Client for HUD Housing Counseling Services

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. and its financial education arm, Money Fit by DRS, offer the following housing counseling and educational services related to housing, personal finance, and bankruptcy certificates to consumers:
  • Housing Education Courses: DRS offers many online self-guided education programs classified as Financial, Budgeting, and Credit Workshops (FBC), Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops (FHW), Homelessness Prevention Workshops (HMW), Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops (NDW), Predatory Lending Education Workshops (PLW), Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops (PPW), and Rental Housing Workshops (RHW). These courses help participants increase their knowledge of and skills in personal finance, including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding the use of credit, as well as predatory lending, loan scams, and other fraud prevention topics, fair housing, rental topics, pre-purchase homebuyer education, non-delinquency post-purchase topics including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners, homeless prevention workshop, and other workshops not listed above relating to personal finance and housing. Course details are found below under “Housing Workshops.”
  • Home Equity Conversation Mortgage (HECM) Counseling (RMC): Via telephone and virtual platforms, we offer the required HECM counseling nationwide in addition to in-person counseling in Boise, Idaho. We also offer in-home counseling options in thirty counties across southern Idaho for an additional fee to cover our travel and additional staff time costs.
  • Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase) (FBC): Clients receive counseling and materials on the proper maintenance of their home and mortgage refinancing. Clients can find help and resources by phone, in our Boise office, or virtually on all topics related to stabilizing their long-term homeownership.
  • Services for Homeless Counseling (HMC): Clients receive phone, virtual, or in-person (Boise) counseling to evaluate their current housing needs, identify barriers to and goals for housing stability, establish a path to self-sufficiency, and connect with emergency shelters, income-appropriate housing, and/or other community resources (e.g. mental healthcare, job training, transportation, etc.).
  • Pre-Purchase Counseling (PPC): Clients receive counseling through the entire homebuying process. Assistance may involve creating a sustainable household budget, understanding mortgage options, building their credit rating, and putting together a realistic action plan to set and achieve homeownership goals.  Additionally, clients will receive materials and resources about home inspections and other homeownership topics relevant to successfully maintaining a home.
  • Rental Housing Counseling (RHC): Via phone, in-person appointments (Boise, ID), or virtual platforms, clients receive housing counseling relevant to renting, including rent subsidies from HUD or other government and assistance programs. Topics can also address issues and concerns having to do with fair housing, landlord and tenant laws, lease terms, rent delinquency, household budgeting, and finding alternate housing.
DRS also offers the following services:
  • A Debt Management Program (DMP) for consumers struggling to pay their credit cards, collections, medical debts, personal loans, old utility bills, and past-due cell phone accounts;
  • The Budget Briefing and Debtor Education Certificates that are required during the Bankruptcy filing process;
  • A Student Loan Repayment Plan Counseling and application service.

Relationships with Industry Partners

Through such services, DRS has established financial relationships with hundreds of banks, credit unions, and creditors such as American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Credit One, Discover, Synchrony, US Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, and others.

No Client Obligation

The client is not obligated to receive, purchase or utilize any other services offered by DRS or its exclusive partners to receive financial education or housing counseling services. Alternatives: As a condition of our counseling services, in alignment with meeting our client services goals, and in compliance with HUD’s Housing Counseling Program requirements, we may provide information on alternative services, programs, and products available to you, if applicable and known by our staff. Alternative DMP services include negotiating better repayment terms directly with your individual creditors, paying your debts as agreed, or, in extreme cases, filing for personal bankruptcy. Alternative credit and education services can be found through MyMoney.gov or the Jump$tart Clearinghouse of online financial education resources. Housing counseling alternatives can be found through HUD at www.hud.gov/findacounselor.
Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).