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1 in 3 Americans Is Worried About Not Having Enough Retirement Savings. Do This if You Feel Similarly

Motley Fool - Sun Apr 7, 5:00PM CDT

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People who don't make an effort to save for retirement risk struggling financially later in life. Chances are, you don't want to be one of those people.

That said, many people wonder whether they'll really have enough money to retire comfortably when their careers wrap up. In a Fidelity 2024 financial resolutions survey, 34% of those feeling more stressed about their finances now than in recent years cite not having enough retirement savings as a major worry.

If you're not feeling great about the state of your retirement savings, or you're worried about building savings over time, here's some good news. If you commit to saving for retirement consistently starting now and your senior years are still pretty far away, you have the potential to build up a lot of savings -- without really breaking a sweat.

Small, consistent contributions can go a long way

You might assume that to retire comfortably, you'll need to start socking away 20% of your paycheck or more in an IRA or 401(k). Of course, if you are able to save at that level, great. But rest assured that you can accumulate a lot of savings without giving up one-fifth of your income or more.

Let's say you earn $60,000 a year. If you save 5% of your income for retirement, that's $3,000 a year, or $250 a month.

Invest that sum at an average annual 10% return over the next 30 years, which is consistent with the stock market's long-term average, and you'll end up with a savings balance of over $439,000. If you can save and invest that $250 a month over 35 years, you'll be looking at a balance of $813,000.

But don't just trust yourself to write a check to your retirement savings at the end of each month. Instead, put the process on autopilot.

Make saving for retirement automatic

The nice thing about 401(k) plans is that they get funded automatically via payroll deductions. So once you sign up, you'll have money going into your account without you having to do anything.

It pays to arrange something similar if you'll be saving for retirement in an IRA. Have a portion of your paycheck go into your IRA at the start of each month via an automatic transfer from your checking account. That way, you're more likely to stay on track.

In other words, let's say you have $250 heading into your IRA off the bat at the start of each month. If you do that, and you're tempted to spend $250 on concert tickets at the midpoint of the month, well, maybe you won't, because that money will have been accounted for already. But that's a good thing, because you need those consistent retirement plan contributions to end up with ample cash reserves for your senior self.

Take action rather than worry

It's natural to worry about not having enough retirement savings. But rather than spend time fretting about that, do something about it. Set up that automatic transfer or sign up for your workplace 401(k). The sooner you do, the better.

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