Worried that you won’t have enough money for retirement? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent study from Gallup, retirement is a major worry for many Americans. The study found that 54 percent of respondents were worried that they won’t have enough money to fund their retirement.1
There could be good reason for concern. A study from the Economic Policy Institute found that the average American adult has less than $100,000 saved for retirement.2 While that’s a sizable sum, it’s far short of the amount many retirees need to live comfortably.
The good news is that it’s never too late to correct course and boost your savings. By making a few changes to your savings strategy, you could significantly improve your odds of funding your ideal retirement. Below are three tips to help you increase and protect your retirement savings:
Contribute as much as possible to tax-advantaged, qualified accounts.
Do you own an IRA? Or do you participate in an employer 401(k)? These accounts are popular retirement savings vehicles because of their unique tax treatment. Taxes on growth inside these accounts are deferred until you take a distribution. In some cases, your contributions to your qualified account may be tax-deductible. That tax treatment could help you save more money than you would in a taxable account.
The best way to take advantage of this unique tax treatment is to maximize your contributions to your qualified accounts. In 2018 you can contribute as much as $5,500 to an IRA, plus an additional $1,000 if you are over age 50. The contribution limit for a 401(k) is $18,000, with an additional $6,000 allowed for those age 50 and older.3
Of course, it may not be feasible to increase your contributions to the maximum level all at once. Instead, consider a gradual increase over a longer period of time. For instance, you could increase your 401(k) contribution rate by 1 percent every year or every six months. That kind of slow increase could boost your savings without busting your budget.
Stick to a diversified strategy.
Diversification should be a core principle in any investment strategy. Simply put, diversification is the idea that you should strategically allocate your assets across many different asset classes. That reduces the risk that you will lose a significant amount based on volatility in any one asset class.
Your allocation should be specific to your needs and goals. There’s no right or wrong way to diversify. The important thing is that you are diversified and that your strategy aligns with your personal risk tolerance. A financial professional can help you determine what allocation is right for you.
By not diversifying, you run the risk that volatility in one specific sector or asset class could sink your savings. Too many people focus on the most recent news, so they may overweight their allocations toward assets that performed best in recent years. That approach often results in excessive risk exposure over the long term.
Focus on long-term objectives, not short-term news.
Finally, it’s important to remember that your retirement investment strategy is meant to fund long-term objectives. It’s not easy to watch your assets decline in value during a market downturn. However, market downturns are often temporary. If you make a rash decision and abandon your long-term strategy, you could suffer more damage than you would by simply sticking to your plan.
If you have many years until retirement, try not to focus on the short-term ups and downs of the market. If you’re approaching retirement, short-term volatility may be more important to consider. Either way, a financial professional can help you focus on what’s most important and make sound long-term decisions.
Ready to implement your retirement savings plan? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at DSM Financial. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
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