The numbers are staggering. An astounding $14 trillion retirement crisis is looming for millions of Americans. Nearly a third of the workforce does not own a single retirement account – not a 401(k), not an individual retirement account (IRA). Of those who do own a retirement account, the median account balance is a mere $3,000. Rising costs, longer lives and the very human tendency to not worry about it because it’ll all turn out OK in the end is driving the numbers. There are ways to fix the retirement savings crisis before it’s too late. Here’s how.
No Retirement Plan? Get One
If you think your Social Security check will be enough to live on during retirement, think again. The Social Security board of trustees anticipates that by the year 2035, all excess cash reserves will be gone. Benefits could be cut as well. Even if neither of these events occur, Social Security benefits will barely touch your living expenses. You need more.
If you don’t participate in an employer-sponsored IRA or 401(k)plan, sign up if your company offers one. You have to start somewhere and automatic contributions are a great way to do just that.
Consult a Professional Retirement Planner – Now
One 401(k) or IRA is not enough to live a comfortable retirement. Investment portfolio management, retirement savings management and strategy development are all services a professional provides to help you achieve your financial goals. A professional looks at where you are now, what you have to do to live a comfortable retirement and develops a plan to get you there. Professionals recommend the investments that work best for you, no matter what your age or financial picture. A retirement manager creates a customized solution that may include mutual funds, ETFs, annuities and other types of investments. If you’re older and starting to save late in the game, you may be reluctant to seek the help of a professional. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed, but there’s no need. Retirement planners are there to help and many have successfully helped clients in your situation – or, at least the financial planner you work with should be experienced in helping others in your situation. In fact, if you’re starting late, you need the expert advice a professional retirement planner brings to the table.
Living Longer Means Working Longer
One of the biggest reasons for the retirement savings crisis is the longer and overall healthier lives of today’s population. The amount of savings needed now far outpaces what used to be the norm. What’s a great way to improve your own retirement outlook? By working longer. There are potential problems with working harder, however. Economist David Neumark’s research indicates that employers tend to discriminate against older workers. And, there’s the problem of health issues as people age. Still, if at all possible, working longer ensures a more comfortable retirement when the time comes.
It’s much easier to do nothing and hope it all comes together in the end. But, the longer you put off, the less you’ll have later on. If you take steps now to increase your savings and reduce spending, you can avoid becoming part of the retirement savings crisis.
Gabby Revel, Founder, writer, editor & administrator at Fertile Content, is a freelance writer who specializes in lifestyle topics, as well as science and technology, investing, and personal finance. She also has a passion for adorable dogs of all kinds. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.