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10 Tips on How to Reach Your Retirement Savings Goal

Are you on track to reach your retirement savings goals?  If your answer is no than you are not alone.  According to a 2019 study conducted by TD Ameritrade, 62% of Americans say they are not saving enough for retirement.  But what exactly is “enough” retirement savings.  That answer depends on a number of factors like what your retirement lifestyle will be, where you live, and your general health.  However, a general rule of thumb is to strive for a savings balance of at least $1 to 1.5 million by the time you reach retirement age.  Another rule of thumb is to accumulate a savings balance equivalent to 10 to 12 times your current income.

That sounds like a lot of money to save and can seem like an even more daunting task given the high cost of living especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.  According to the same 2019 TD Ameritrade Study, housing costs were the number one reason why Millennials are behind in saving for retirement. For Gen Xer’s, inadequate income was the number one reason why they were behind.  Next to the high cost of living, needing to pay down debt was a big reason why people have not saved enough for retirement.

Given these hurdles, how will you be able to save the $1 to $1.5 million estimated amount necessary to retire comfortably?  Below are my 10 Tips that will help you save for your retirement nest egg:

1.  Make saving for retirement a priority

Commit to investing the necessary financial resources to your retirement.

2.  Understand your “why” of retirement

Visualize what your retirement will look like and focus on that picture.  For some that is a positive image – a nice house, annual vacation, giving back, etc.  For other that is a negative image – not wanting to struggle to make ends meet, not being able to live comfortably, not being able to do the things you want.   Whatever that picture is, use it to remind you why saving for retirement is important.

3.  Make saving for retirement a family affair

 Talk about your thoughts, concerns, and dreams for retirement with your life partner.  If you have been unsuccessful with saving for the future, talk about why that is and figure out way on how you both can improve your savings habit.  Agree to commit to saving for retirement and discover your shared vision for retirement.  Saving for retirement is easier when it is done together.

4.  Start saving as early as possible

 The earlier you start, the easier it will be to reach your retirement goal. Make saving for retirement a lifestyle choice.  Assuming an 8% annual rate of return, If you start saving for retirement at age 25, you will need to save $286 per month in order to have $1 million by the time you are 65.  If you wait until you are 35, you will need to save $671 per month.  If you wait until you are 45, that monthly savings amount grows to $1,698 per month!

5.  Have a “saver’s” mentality

 Pay yourself first before anything else. Paying yourself first can be done by making automatic payroll contributions into your 401K plan.  You can also make automatic deposits from your bank account into an IRA.

6.  Take Advantage of Retirement Savings Opportunities

  If you participate in your company’s 401K Plan and they have a matching program, save up to that company match.  For example if your company matches 100% of the first 5% of 401K contribution, then contribute 5% of your annual salary.  You will effectively be saving 10% into your 401K annually. If you can save more into your 401K plan, strive to save up to the maximum allowable annual contribution.  For 2020, that amount is $19,500.  If you are at least 50 years old, take advantage of the additional catch-up provision.  For 2020, that amount is $6,500.  If your company does not have a 401K plan, or you are a non-working spouse, you can invest money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  For 2020, You can invest a maximum annual amount of $6,000 or $7,000 if you are 50 years old or older.

7.  Maintain your current standard of living

 This can be achieved by investing your annual pay increases and bonuses.   This will help you live within your means and helps prevent the feeling of “making more but feeling poor”.  This strategy will also help you to eventually save the maximum allowable amount into your 401K plan.  Again, that is $19,500 in 2020 plus an additional $6,500 if you are 50 or older.

8.  Have a budget and stick to it

Focusing on “paying yourself” first and maximizing your retirement savings means knowing that you will have to cut back on certain expenses to make that strategy work.

9.  Don’t cash out your 401K

 If you leave a company don't cash out your 401K savings.  If you do, you will have to start saving from scratch.  Instead move that money into a Rollover IRA or Re-invest it into your new company’s 401k plan.  

10.  Reward yourself

 When you have met a milestone goal be sure to reward yourself.  For example, tell yourself that you will save 10% of your salary in 2020 and if you meet that goal you will take a nice weekend trip.   This will give you incentive to reach your goal and will keep you motivated throughout the year.


Saving for retirement can be difficult especially if you live in an area where the cost of living is high, you have inadequate income, or have debts to pay off.  However, if you follow these tips and make retirement savings a priority, you will have a higher probability of successfully reaching your retirement savings goal.


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This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Attune Financial Planning.  Please consult your financial, legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information only.