This week is National Save for Retirement Week. If you’re like many people, thinking about retirement makes you a little anxious; like you’ve fallen way behind in class homework and the test is tomorrow. Worse, some of you reading this may be out of work with no income to carve up into “spend now” and “save for later” pots.
I tweeted a few times in the past few days about National Save for Retirement Week and I asked people to send me their retirement savings tips. Silence. When I posted an article about Americans worried about retirement to see if it rang true, the replies I got included:
“I’m 36 and I’ve all but given up hope of retiring comfortably in America. Looking at Argentina, Ecuador, Thailand, etc.”
The article I posted from the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/10/22/more-americans-worry-about-financing-retirement/) reflects scientifically what my unscientific twitter poll shows. About four in 10 adults are “not too” or “not at all” confident they have enough savings for retirement. Among adults in their late 30s, the number increases to 53% being “not at all” or “not too confident.” This statistic has increased over years – understandable given the recession and national dialogue about what’s happening to the Social Security system and other traditional methods of retirement.
I can’t predict the life span of Social Security, but I can predict we’ll all prefer a retirement funded by more than that single monthly check. Planning can’t hurt. A good first step is to get a handle on where you are now in saving and then take a few basic steps to prepare better for retirement. Here are a few links to help you take some of the first steps in evaluating your retirement plan and then figuring out next steps that work for your present and future needs.
Figure Out Your Financial Situation
Social Security Estimator: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/
Type in your basic information and this estimator pops out what you can expect to receive in social security depending on the age you retire. Something I found interesting — there is a big difference between retiring at 62 and retiring at 70.
AARP Retirement Calculator: http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/retirement_calculator/?intcmp=DSO-SEARCH-AARPSUGG
A reliable calculator that takes into account assets you might be lucky enough to have at retirement.
Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/10_ways_to_prepare.html
A nice resource list on how to work towards retirement. If you’ve estimated your financial situation and found out about your Social Security benefits, then you’ve already done two things on the list. Well done! Next step, contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan. Even if it’s just a small amount, getting into the habit will pay dividends later. Literally.
If you’re one of those 6 in 10 people that do have retirement figured out, I’d like to hear from you. How did you start? What makes you feel confident? Comment away.