If youʼre worried you havenʼt put enough aside, these strategies may help get you on track.

When I first sit down with clients, I try to gauge their level of retirement readiness by asking them the uncomfortable question: Are you pleased with the amount you have managed to put aside at this stage of life? Unfortunately, the answer is usually a variation of the word “no” (sometimes accompanied by a guilty or evasive look).

 

So how do your savings stack up?
If youʼre wondering whether, or not, youʼre on track, you can access an array of online tools such as TIAAʼs Retirement Advisor*  to help you determine if that nest egg youʼre building is enough to maintain your standard of living in retirement.

 

When using robo advisors like Retirement Advisor, youʼll want to know your after-tax retirement income goal, or what percentage of your final yearʼs salary youʼll want to replace. Determining that goal may seem daunting, but here's a tip: If you expect to be mortgage and rent free in retirement, then you can aim for a 70% income replacement ratio. If not, then your ratio is closer to 100%.

 

* IMPORTANT: The projections or other information generated by the Retirement Advisor tool regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.

 

If you discover a shortfall, you may want to consider these simple strategies to help you catch up:

 

percent.jpgChanging your 403(b) contribution rate is only a click away. Increasing your contributions around the same time you get a bonus or raise can be a helpful way to shore up your retirement savings. If your employer offers the annual increase option, you can elect to have the percentage increased automatically each year, so you donʼt have   to give it any further thought.
Money in hand.jpgYou might be turning down free money. Some employers are more generous than others, but itʼs not uncommon for employees to be offered a 5% match when they save at least 5% of their salary (or some other matching formula).
Key.jpgWhen you reach a certain age, you can start saving more. If you're 50 or older, your 403(b) annual contribution limit shoots up to $24,000 (from $18,000) for 2017.
Money growth.jpgRoth IRAs are becoming more popular. If you are within the income limits, you can contribute as much as $5,500 into an IRA in 2017, in addition to the $18,000 you are allowed to defer into your employer plan. Roths tend to give you more flexibility than traditional IRAs, with the option to withdraw your contributions penalty free at any time.1
Home.pngDownsizing your home may prove advantageous. Apart from finding a bottle labeled “drink me,” like Alice in Wonderland, there are many reasons why a person might suddenly find herself in an oversized house (divorcée, empty-nester). Moving is a stressful life event, after all, and we tend to get emotionally attached to our homes. But many homeowners choose to find something more economical and use the difference to fund their long-term investments.
moneybag.jpgIt really is possible to do more with less. Just as downsizing your home doesnʼt equate to downsizing your quality of life, cutting the fat from your budget can actually make you happier, if youʼre clever about it. Fellow expert Manisha Thakor has a really effective joy-based spending strategy to help you cut out any wasteful experiences and purchases—and free up money for savings.

 

 

So if youʼre among the millions of Americans who fear they havenʼt been putting enough aside for retirement—donʼt panic. These six practical strategies have helped my clients feel more confident about maintaining their lifestyle in retirement—I hope you find them useful, too.

 

1.Withdrawals of earnings prior to age 59½ are subject to ordinary income tax and a 10% penalty may apply. Earnings can be distributed tax free if distribution is no earlier than five years after contributions were first made and you meet at least one of the following conditions: Age 59½ or older or permanently disabled. Beneficiaries may receive a distribution in the event of your death.

 

 

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