(StatePoint) Most Americans understand the importance of saving for retirement but unfortunately, not everyone’s concerns translate to action. While 93 percent of working Americans know they should be contributing to their retirement, only 72 percent are actually doing so, according to the results of Capital One ShareBuilder’s Financial Freedom Survey (accessible at http://tinyurl.com/n9zvksh). The same study found that while nearly three-fifths of respondents plan to retire by age 65, almost the same amount of people fear they’ll never save enough for retirement.
“Unfortunately, saving for the future is often put on the back-burner for what may seem like more pressing financial priorities, such as paying for children’s college education,” says Dan Greenshields, president of Capital One ShareBuilder, Inc. “Today more than ever before, individuals are responsible for ensuring their own financial security during retirement.”
The earlier you begin to plan and save for your post-working years, the better, Greenshields stresses. Here are some top things to consider:
• How much will you need to finance your retirement? Do you plan to move, travel or take up new hobbies? Also take in to account potential unexpected and rising costs, like healthcare.
• You can estimate your retirement needs by identifying potential expenses, as well as by calculating the amount you might receive from each potential source of retirement income, such as Social Security, pensions, personal investments and employment earnings.
• Don't be surprised if what you need to retire is a large sum — since this money may need to support you for 20 or 30 years (or more). Fortunately, there are ways to help maximize your retirement savings over time.
• Investing early for retirement and contributing as much as possible to tax-advantaged employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs are two ways to help build your retirement dollars.
• Automatically transfer a regular contribution from your paycheck to your retirement account.
• In some cases, it may be appropriate to consider rolling over or transferring funds to an account without minimums. However, there may be some cases where leaving the funds may be the right decision. If you opt to rollover funds, Capital One ShareBuilder, an online investing platform, offers flexibility by allowing customers to trade stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, and options. More information about whether or not you should rollover funds can be found at www.ShareBuilder.com.
• Understand your time horizon, risk tolerance and goals. Generally speaking, your risk tolerances will change over time.
• Make planning a family affair by scheduling times to discuss your financial future with your partner or family members over dinner, on a picnic or as part of a weekend getaway.
• Consider working with a qualified financial professional to help ensure your retirement plan is on target.
It is never too early or too late to get started — and while it may seem daunting, there are quality tools and resources that might help you along the way. Sometimes it can be rewarding, perhaps even enjoyable. •