Have Less Than 10K in Retirement Savings? These Tips Can Help You Avoid a Crisis

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Many of us struggle to save for retirement. GOBankingRates surveyed almost 1000 Americans aged 18 and older about their retirement plans, and over a third of them said that they have less than $10,000 saved for their future retirement. As difficult as it can be to put away money, especially when it can be used on other essentials, it’s still vitally important to develop a nest egg that’ll let you enjoy your golden years. Here’s some advice from financial experts to help you prioritize retirement savings and avoid falling behind.

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1. Get On a Budget

When payday comes around, it’s tempting to pay for immediate expenses, such as rent and groceries, and use the rest of that money for spending and splurging. Instead, you should consider budgeting.

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“You need to have a plan for your money before you ever get it,” said Jay Zigmont, CFP and founder at Childfree Wealth. “If you are spending it all now, you won’t have money for the future.” In place of spending any extra money each month, by setting aside a little money every month toward retirement, you will be able to enjoy that money in the future. By budgeting and setting aside a little bit every month, you can avoid waiting until later and having to put aside much larger sums of money. While it might seem unfulfilling now, it will be very rewarding in the long run.

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2. Get Out of Debt

Debt is a frustrating thing to have, but the sooner you are able to eliminate it, the more money you will have for saving for retirement, investing and spending. There is some strategy when it comes to dealing with debt. First, you want to make sure you are paying the minimum repayment requirements. Secondly, it is important to pay off high-interest debt first, such as credit card debt, and slowly pay off debts with a higher interest rate before moving toward any debt with a low interest rate, such as student loans. This will prevent your loans from getting too much larger at an unsustainable rate, according to Forbes.

3. Set Goals

In order to make sure you are on the right track and have an effective retirement plan, you should set retirement goals. “Make sure you know why you are saving,” Zigmont said. “What do you want your retirement to look like? What are you willing to give up to get there? What is the dollar number you need to hit to retire? When do you want to do it by?”

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Answering these questions and having goals in mind will help you to have a clear picture of what your retirement could look like if you start saving and what it could look like if you don’t. Often, the hardest part of accomplishing a big goal is figuring out how to get started. By creating a plan, you will have a clear outline of what you need to do to save for retirement and how to set aside money each month.

4. Invest

Investing is a great step toward building wealth for retirement. By investing smartly, you are able to put money aside and watch it grow over time. When it comes to investing for retirement, there are a few helpful tips to consider. “Follow the general rule of only investing in things you understand,” Zigmont said. “Take the time to learn what your options are and be sure to understand both what you are investing in (i.e. stocks, bonds and the like) and where the investment is held (401ks, IRAs,s and the like).”

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5. Take Ownership

While it’s important to take in financial advice and be as educated as possible on the retirement options available, the key to retirement is making it your own. Retirement looks different for everybody and some enjoy working part time or working a different kind of job. “Many people don’t actually want to completely cut out of work but may want to cut back,” Zigmont said. “You need to figure out the balance that works for you and then set a plan to get there.”

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
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