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Make Saving for Retirement Easy

Updated on January 28, 2013

Retirement Planning Tools: Great Retirement Planning Techniques

Retirement Planning can be imtimidating for many people. Most of us realize that having a retirement savings plan is critical, but many of us aren't financial experts and getting by from week to week is hard enough without putting aside a large chunk of every week's paycheck towards retirement. The age of 65 can seem so far away for young or even middle aged workers, but the last thing you want is to hit your mid-fifties and realize you have the average savings for retirement, which is a mere $50,000. Nowhere remotely close to being enough retirement savings for you to live comfortably in retirement, or to even retire. Saving for retirement is difficult, and with hundreds of retirement plans out there, many of which seem too stressful on everyday finances to be reasonable, saving up a large enough nest egg for the Golden Years can be difficult, but it is necessary. Hopefully this hub will give you the information and retirement planning tools you need to start putting away a nest egg to make those retirement years a reality instead of an ever vanishing dream.

Tips to Increase Retirement Savings

The question is a good one: how can I painlessly (or less painfully) increase my retirement savings? From retirement calculators to specialized retirement savings plans, there are many ways to go about increasing that nest egg so you don't find yourself painfully short when that time comes. The following are several bits of advice to help start saving for retirement and to make the transition less painful:

First of all: Diversify! Not all your money has to, nor should it, come from one place. You should have your money spread out between stocks, bonds, a savings account, checking account with interest, 401-k, IRA, and CDs. This allows security for your retirement portfolio, and also offers several places where you can invest your income.

If you feel overwhelmed remember the following:


Retirement Education & Investment Education:

Jim Kramer, "Mad Money" CNBC

Suzie Orman, "The Suzie Orman Show" CNBC

Finance Books

Financial Magazines

All four of these are great sources for learning about saving, investing, and smart spending. There are a wide array of financial books out there and a good subscription to a finanace magazine is cheaper than ever. You don't need to be an expert, but you want to be at least basically knowledgable.


Little Things Make a Big Difference in Retirement:

Checking Accounts with interest - instead of just having a normal checking account, see if your bank offers one with interest, and donate the monthly interest into an actual savings account, IRA, or CD every month to make sure it doesn't get lost with "spending money," the way that loose change tends to.

Savings Account - Make it "untouchable" so you get into the habit of not raiding your retirement savings and get used to budgeting. Build up to short term CDs that often pay better, and keep re-investing or holding the new returns in savings. A little bit at a time is better than nothing.

Then there's always the obvious: learn how to make cash online to increase your overall income.

Retirement Savings Strategies Pay Off

Trying to make it all compute.
Trying to make it all compute.

Suzie Orman on Taxes

Video on Retirement Planning

More Retirement Planning Tips

Habits:

Take $10-20 out of every paycheck first thing and put it into some type of account, even if it's only an interest bearing savings account. This should be in addition to any 401-k donations, which should be second nature in your retirement savings at this point.

If you tend to have two sodas a day, or two hotdogs, or two coffees, go ahead and have two every other day, and just one every other day. On those days take the difference from the one soda or coffee saved and immediately go to save that. This doesn't require you to give up the little things completely (for most of us that's completely unreasonable), but still gets you some savings.

Keep a change jar. Change gets spent often just to get rid of it. Have a change jar and cash in when it's full and if you're not going to put the full amount in a retirement account, then at least donate 1/2 of it to a retirement savings account.

Absolute Musts:

Never carry credit card debt. This is one of the most critical factors to solid retirement plans. If you are, pay off that debt before savings. Even a healthy 10% per year return on your retirement money doesn't come close to matching the 12-33% most credit cards charge. Pay off that debt first before putting a lot of money into savings, and don't use those credit cards again!

Don't raid the retirement accounts with self "IOUs." These never get paid back, and they rob you of the compounding interest your retirement savings need to grow into a comfortable nest egg.

Unexpected money is NEVER spending money. Always apply at least 1/2 of unexpected payments, bonuses, freelance work, or side work into one of your retirement accounts. If you weren't expecting that $50 anyway, then it should be painless to put $25 into a savings bond, CD, or IRA.

Take advantage of work 401-ks. Most companies will match a certain percentage (usually 5-10%) of what you put in. Make sure to take advantage by getting the maximum matching funds from your company. That's free money, and you won't notice the drop in pay as much because that 401-k income is non taxable. Since you usually pay 25-30% taxes on every dollar, anyway, the drop in income isn't as extreme as most think.

The other is to remember the small things.  There are many ways to make money online, and learning how to make more money through online income makes it a lot easier to save up for retirement.

Retirement Savings Statistics:

 

Average Savings for Retirement...

Avg. Retirement Savings 25 - 34: 70% saved less than $25k, 12% were between $25k-$50k, 9% were between $50k-$100k, 5% were between $100k-$250k, and 4% were above $250k.

Avg. Retirement Savings 35 - 44: 50% saved less than $25k, 15% were between $25k-$50k, 14% were between $50k-$100k, 10% were between $100k-$250k, and 10% were above $250k.

Avg. Retirement Savings 45 - 54: 41% saved less than $25k, 14% were between $25k-$50k, 13% were between $50k-$100k, 17% were between $100k-$250k, and 16% were above $250k.

Avg. Retirement Savings 55+: 39% saved less than $25k, 12% were between $25k-$50k, 7% were between $50k-$100k, 23% were between $100k-$250k, and 19% were above $250k.

Avg. Retirement Savings for All: 52% saved less than $25k, 13% were between $25k-$50k, 11% were between $50k-$100k, 12% were between $100k-$250k, and 11% were above $250k.

It's been reported that many workers in their early to mid fifties only have an average savings for retirement of $50,000. That is way too little way too late. While every little bit helps for every single year saved, the earlier the better and the more the better.

Make Retirement Savings Last

Saving for Retirement

Common Obstacles to Saving for Retirement:

Starting to save too late (35%)

The cost of health care or insurance (32%)

Low-paying work (29%)

Credit card debt (28%)

The cost of housing (27%)

These are the main obstacles that prevent people from saving money for retirement. You have to find a way to save for retirement, and this is true whether you're 55 and realizing you're now in trouble, or 21 and young with plenty of time. There's no excuse to not start saving for retirement, and this is a must. You don't want to be in desperate poverty in old age, at a time where you should be able to enjoy life after a long life time of working.  There are many ways to even make a few extra hundred a month, like writing for HubPages, or collecting old books and selling them for a profit.  All these small things can be done to build up a solid nest egg over time.

Retirement Hopes and Dreams

Compare Retirement Savings Plans

So how do you feel about your retirement savings?

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Retirement Savings - Thoughts & Comments on Easy Retirement Savings

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    • profile image

      Judi 

      9 years ago

      Nice to see another comment added here. This is the same Judi who wrote in 12-08. I am still interested in anyone who has some retirement savings tips to add. I have increased retirement savings $10,000 in 12-08 to $11,500 by working on Saturdays and cutting back on my heating bill. I hate working Saturdays so I designate that day to be my extra job to help save for retirement. Also getting some back money owed me from clients ($120.00) going in to savings. Putting more into IRA to save on taxes which will also go into savings. Once we get our tax reduction in payroll I will also put that in.

    • morrisonspeaks profile image

      morrisonspeaks 

      9 years ago

      Jerry,I like your thoughts and your approach! It is so wonderful to meet knowledgeable people here whom I can share thoughts and ideas with and learn from them at the same time.Cheers,Debra

    • profile image

      JUDI 

      9 years ago

      I started retirement savings at age 48 in 9-06 (just turned 50). ING sent me an offer of $25.00 to open a savings account. I also sent in $10.00 so I literally started with $35.00. I had started saving change in a cup (for emergency money) also and decided to use that to open an IRA account 6 months after I opened the ING account. I opened an IRA with $700.00. Two hundred from the change and $500.00 from saving some money over 6 months (a portion from saving on my income taxes by opening the IRA account). So far in the past two years I have saved close to $700.00 just in change. Also I use the idea of any extra money goes into retirement savings. This has happened. I have received back money from property taxes and past money some of my clients ( I am self-employed) have paid when I expected to not get any. The ecomonic stimulus check of $600.00 went into savings. Also this year by changing my auto and homeowners insurance I was able to put close to another $400.00 away. I have some work I do that I don't really want to do so I do it anyway and I put that money into savings. Its not much maybe an extra $50.00 a month. I then decided I could put a dollar away everyday and in 20 years this would be $7,300. Now I actually do $5.00 everday I work and forgo the coffee (well most the time anyway!). I also do the round up on change in my checking accounts resulting in accumlating change. I estimate some monthly expenses (such as ulitities) usually slightly over and whatever is extra goes to savings even if just a few dollars. This year I budgeted a $100.00 a month like any payment that goes to savings. So here it is 12-08 and I have in just a little over 2 years saved $10,000 which should be an additional $5,000 minimum with interest in 20 years. I have started way late and know this is nothing in some ways and alot in other ways. It is alot because by doing some things even small you can save some. It has helped inspire me with time so more goes in savings as time goes on and I believe I can continue to speed this up. I am usually trying to think of more creative ways to save. I would be interested in hearing others creative ways of saving. Even a little can help! A start however small is still a start.

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      10 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Hi Misha. I'm not arguing things are on the verge of absolute disaster - they are. And I wouldn't touch new real estate, most tech stocks, or any finanacials with a ten foot poll, but there are some companies that are most likely going to survive no matter how bad things get, and those are decent investments. So is gold, which will always be valuable.

      That being said, I don't think the right response is: don't plan to retire because you're all screwed anyway. Most of the tips here are for safer investments, which make sense now, and I find it hard to believe in forty years the system collapses so there's no money left. And if that's the case, then why obey any law? Why assume stores will have food tommorow?

      I'm not saying diving into the stock markets are good right now, but if you're not going to save anything for retirement even in a checking account, then I'm not sure how that makes you smarter than someone who is keeping some cash on hand. If things are that bad, we're all screwed anyway.

      I do appreciate the honest comment, though, and while things might be on the verge of going Depression again, it's hard to see that as a permanant state.

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 

      10 years ago from DC Area

      ROFLMAO! What retirment planning you are talking about? The financial system is collapsing, nobody knows how it will look in a couple of years...

    • Jerry G2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry G2 

      10 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Hi Dottie, thanks for commentng! The unexpected money is the one that amazes me. I know we can all save X number of dollars by giving up small things...but I like my glass of wine or cherry coke, and why be miserable in this time of life? That said, if you have unexpected money, it should be no problem at all to at least put half of it away! Then you still get to have fun. I'm not perfect by any means, but that bit of advice I think could save a lot of people a lot of heartache later in life. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 

      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks for the advice, tips and tools for a healthy retirement plan.  Love the idea that unexpected money is NEVER spending money. Thumbs up.

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