Larriva-webA recent Vanguard Investments report, How America Saves, cited the average 401(k) account balances for different age groups. Those between 25 and 34 years of age had saved about $5, 260. Those 35 to 44 years had $65,200. People between 45 and 54 had $122,570. Those 55 to 64 had balances of about $180,800. And those 65 and over had about $202,800.

How does your retirement savings compare? If you’re concerned about your progress, take a few moments to reflect on your current habits and make a positive change.

Put your savings on autopilot. For many people it is easier to save money if it never reaches their checking account. Enroll in your company retirement plan and have contributions automatically deducted from each paycheck. A reasonable retirement savings figure is 10 percent to 15 percent.  If your employer does not offer a plan, be proactive. Open an IRA account and supplement it with a taxable savings account (2015 defined contribution limit $18,000; IRA limit $5,500).

Part of your financial success is reflected in your habits.  Make them positive habits, and they can help you feel more comfortable about saving for retirement.  I share these with all potential clients I meet as well

  • Spend less than you make.  If you are spending less, then your wealth can grow.
  • List your goals and make a plan.  Sit down and write out your goals.  If you have goals in place, update them and measure your progress toward accomplishing them.
  • Establish an emergency fund.  Having three to six months’ expenses in an emergency account is an intelligent way to weather unexpected expenses (car repairs, replacement of home air conditioner or water heater, etc.).  It also provides a safety net if you switch jobs or when you retire.
  • Use a budget.  Track the money you actually spent for the last two to three months.  List these monthly expenses and categorize them as fixed (mortgage, car payment, groceries) or variable (eating out, etc.).  Then prioritize them as wants versus needs.  You manage what you measure.
  • Be thankful.  When facing problems I often stop and remind myself that there are thousands of people who would “love to have my problems.”  My wife and I have good jobs, a healthy family, good education and a roof over our heads. What are you thankful for?
  • One of the points I make over and over with my clients is to focus on what you can control, and focus on what matters in life.