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The Best Ways to Maximize Your Savings for Retirement

Recent studies show that the majority of Americans do not have enough money saved for retirement. The vast majority of people over age 55 have only 12% of what they need for retirement. You can maximize your retirement savings and investing right away by keeping in a few things in mind.

According to one recent study, the vast majority of Americans who are between the ages of 55 and 64 say that they have only saved, on average, about 12% of what they’ll need to live out their retirement years in comfort. Those aged 65 to 74 aren’t doing much better: They have a median of $126,000 saved in retirement accounts. Things have gotten so severe that experts believe that  about 64% of working aged people in the United States say "not having enough saved to retire" is their number one concern, regardless of how far off that date happens to be.

But as disconcerting as those statistics are, there is also a silver lining to the situation. Maximizing your savings for retirement is something that you can start doing immediately, regardless of how old you are. It just requires you to keep a few essential things in mind while you do it.

If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have much of anything at all

Maybe the most important thing for you to understand about maximizing your savings for retirement is that there is truly no “one size fits all” approach to what you’re trying to do. That can be terrifying, yes... but it can also be incredibly liberating if you go about things the right way.

In a larger sense,  what this means is that you need a plan for saving for retirement, and you need it TODAY. Don’t just say to yourself “I’m going to save 5% of my income every year” and hope that’s enough to get you through. You need to carefully consider all of your own specific variables and come up with a plan that mitigates risk and puts your best foot forward in the most logical way that you can.

In a smaller sense, this means that you need to think about:

  • Paying off debt. List all of the current debt responsibilities you have, including bills, credit cards, large purchases like a mortgage, and more. Be sure to include the current interest rates, too. Once you know exactly how much you owe and to whom, you can come up with a realistic plan to pay off that debt (or reduce it) as soon as you can.
  • Figure out how much money you’re going to need to maintain your current lifestyle during retirement. Again, everyone has a different definition of the term “comfortable,” so don’t let someone else tell you how much you should save. Only YOU can do that.
  • Expect the unexpected. Certain problems ‒ like health issues ‒ can crop up unexpectedly and at the worst possible moment. On top of everything else, come up with a strategic approach that will allow you to have the cash reserves necessary to mitigate risk from these problems wherever you can.

Once you’ve accounted for all of these variables, you can start creating a budget that is actually built on cold, calculated, logical information as opposed to a goal that just “feels right” but that in reality is woefully inadequate.

Maximize those employee benefits

The chances are high that your job offers one or more employee benefits like a 401(k) plan, a flexible spending account and more. At the bare minimum, you need to make sure that you: a) understand the full extent of these benefits; and b) are doing whatever you need to do to maximize them before the big retirement day finally arrives.

If your employer offers 401(k) matching, for example, you need to contribute enough to guarantee they’re giving you the largest match they offer or you’re literally leaving money on the table. If they offer high-quality medical or even dental insurance, take full advantage of it ‒ take care of those small health issues today before they become much bigger and more severe ones in 10 years when you’ll be responsible for the entire bill.

Calculate, rinse, repeat

Finally, the most important thing you can do to maximize your savings for retirement is to go through the above process at least once a year ‒ no exceptions. A review of your retirement savings, investment performance and allocations, as well as assessing your budget and setting new goals, should be part of this review.

An annual review with a professional advisor may be beneficial to make sure your plan is efficiently helping you to achieve your goals. If you have a major life event such as marriage, having a baby or a job change, an advisor can help you to revise your financial plan. As life changes, you may need to modify your finances in ways you never considered to accomplish the best outcome. Curran Wealth Management is here to help, we would be happy to review your goals with you. Call our office for a complimentary meeting.

People change on a regular basis and their priorities change with them. A year ago, you may have come up with a perfect plan to help you financially accomplish everything that was important to you at the time.

But are those still your priorities today?

Likewise, have you been following everything as you should be? Has your income or debt changed? Taking the time to re-assess all of these things at least once a year will not only help you maintain a realistic view of your financial plan, but it can also help you pivot with that plan to make sure you’re still on the “right path” that works for you and you alone, regardless of how that path may change in the meantime. 

At Curran Wealth Management we believe in comprehensive financial planning that embodies all aspects of your life. We work closely with your professional advisors and help quarterback for you to create a cohesive plan that encompasses retirement, education, estate, long term care and tax planning to give you a panoramic view of your future. Please call our office for a complimentary review of your goals with one of our professionals.

Please check with your Curran Wealth relationship manager,
or contact Curran Wealth Management if you have any questions.
 518.391.4200 •
info@curranllc.com


The material contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.  The information herein is considered to be obtained from reference sources deemed reliable, but no representation or warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.  The contents of this article are based on the tax laws existing at the time of publication.  Tax laws are subject to continual change.  In addition, tax laws vary by state.  This article is not, and should not be regarded as tax advice.  The information contained in this article may not apply to your personal circumstances.  Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional advisor who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation.  If you would like a detailed analysis of your tax situation, with specific tax recommendations, you can discuss the possibility of pursuing a formal relationship with Hippo Tax Services.