GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - When it comes to retirement, a recent survey finds many people plan to just "wing it."
Problem is, they probably don't know what to invest in or, more importantly, how much they need to be saving.
Financial advisor, Dan Ament with Morgan Stanley, is offering up some savings tips to get you on-track for retirement.
Average 401(k) balance at $80,600: At the end of the second quarter, the average 401(k) balance remained relatively steady over the previous quarter3, ending at $80,600, and up nearly 11 percent from $72,800 during the second quarter 2012. For employees who were continuously employed and in a 401(k) plan for the last 10 years, the average balance rose to $211,800.
6-7% average 401(k) deferral: The good news is that people are saving for retirement. The unfortunate fact is that most are not saving enough or starting too late. "The rule of thumb is that you should save anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of your income towards retirement," said Beth McHugh, vice president of market insights at Fidelity. Yet, most workers are only putting away 6 to 7 percent of the annual income into a 401(k) or workplace retirement plan, the firm has found. Some who have delayed retirement savings may have to put away 20 to 25 percent of their income to reach their goals.
How much should you save? Fidelity took a look at how much 401(k) investors at various ages would need to save for every $1,000 they'll need to generate in retirement income to make their money last, assuming a 5.5 percent annual return and not taking taxes into account. Here's what Fidelity's analysis showed: A 25-year-old just starting to save would need put away about $160 each month to generate $1,000 in monthly retirement income. Start saving at age 35 and you'll need to contribute almost $270 a month to generate the same income. For every $1,000 in monthly income, a 45-year-old just beginning to save for retirement would have to put away nearly $500 every month. A 55-year-old just starting to build a nest egg would have to make monthly contributions of $1,154 for every $1,000 in monthly retirement income-that's double the amount of a 45-year-old and more than seven times the sum that a 25-year-old would need to stash away.
The 1 percent difference: If a 25 year old earning $40,000 increased their contribution to their 401(k) by just 1%, the estimated impact to their paycheck after tax would be about $33/mo. That said, at a 7% return assumption, their potential additional monthly income at retirement would be $330/mo. At a more modest 5.5% return, their monthly retirement income increased by $200/mo. Source: Fidelity 401(k) Second Quarter Analysis
Bottom line? Do what you can now to increase your retirement savings contributions. While a daunting topic at first, the reward will be greater peace of mind and an improved likelihood that you will maintain a more comfortable retirement financially.