Consumer Report: Saving Money for Retirement

If you're worried that you haven't saved enough to retire comfortably, you're not alone. A Consumer Reports' survey finds that only 21 percent of those older than 55 and near retirement are very satisfied with their plans.

Retirees who said they were highly satisfied in retirement listed living modestly as one of their best steps toward retirement. And, of course, saving a lot was also on their list.

Increasingly, workers can't count on employer-funded pensions the way current retirees do. But you can start to fund your own retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or other similar retirement account at work, your employer will often match your contributions. That's like getting free money. Another option for many people is to contribute to an Individual Retirement Account.

Even if you're over 55, the best retirement strategies still make a difference:
-Maximize your 401(k) or IRA contributions.
-Pay down debt, such as your mortgage.
-And delay getting Social Security as long as possible for higher payouts.

Also, if you enjoy working, don't rule out continuing to work past age 65 even if just part time. You'll probably enjoy staying active and connected.

Once you do retire, Consumer Reports advises following the 4 percent rule: Withdrawing about 4 percent of your savings annually has been shown to preserve your capital for at least 30 years even in tough economic times.

You can get details on that and more advice on preparing for retirement at: www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/february/money/financial-planning/overview/index.htm.


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