If you’re not interested in saving for retirement because it’s still decades away or you assume that saving intermittently is good enough, you’re in for a rude awakening. Here are five signs that your current retirement savings strategy isn’t going to cut it.
You haven’t started saving
The earlier you begin contributing to a retirement account, the more money you’ll have to last you through your golden years.
Fidelity Investments estimates that your total retirement savings should be 800 percent of your final salary. To achieve this, work toward saving 100 percent of your salary by age 35, 300 percent by age 45 and 500 percent by age 55.
You have credit card debt
Whether you’re maxing out your credit cards or trying to get out of debt, there’s a good chance you’re not focused on retirement saving. Create a budget to start living within your means. Then, devise a plan to start paying off debt and saving for retirement. But if your employer offers a match to your 401(k), maximize that before paying down debt.
You’re spending too much of your income
As a general rule, you should be saving 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement, according to financial services company TIAA-CREF. Divide the rest of your take-home pay between an emergency fund and other expenses you’re planning to incur in the future.
You’re relying only on Social Security
Even if the program defies predictions of insolvency, Social Security benefits represent about 38 percent of the income of the elderly, with the average monthly benefit for retired workers at $1,294, according to 2014 data. So, consider Social Security a benefit that’s nice to have in retirement — not something you can count on.
You can’t live off your current savings for a few months
If you don’t currently have enough money saved to last you a few months in case of an emergency or if you lose your job, how do you think you’ll be able to survive 20 or so years in retirement? Rather than becoming discouraged, use this as a wake-up call to get your financial priorities in order.
Laura Woods, Tribune News service