7 Things You Can Do to Reboot Your Retirement Plan Today

Fidelity AdvertisementIf you contribute to a retirement account through a simple deduction from your paycheck—like a 401(k) plan—you're already on the right track toward retirement. 

But have you ever really thought about what you want your retirement to ideally look like—and how much you need to sock away to get there?

If not, welcome to the club: A recent Employee Benefit Research Institute study revealed that 70% of workers determined the amount that they needed to save for retirement through ... guesswork.

But with careful planning—in other words, a smart road map for ramping up your retirement savings—you can ensure that you'll reach your dream retirement.

RELATED: Reboot Your Career: How to Do Your Dream Job in Retirement

Rachel Sanborn, a certified financial planner™ with LearnVest Planning Services, offers her top seven tips for giving your own retirement plan an overhaul—starting today!

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  • Zoe T.

    What do you do if you don’t have / aren’t able to start a retirement plan?

    • LearnVestJacqui

      Hi Zoe,

      Anyone can open a retirement account and start building a retirement plan. If you’re not sure where to begin, or need help freeing up money in your budget to start saving for retirement, check out our free Retiring in Style bootcamp: http://www.learnvest.com/how-lv-works/bootcamps/retiring-in-style/. It will get you on the right track!

  • NKSL

    I struggle with the balance between saving now for a retirement that I’m not sure if my husband will be around to enjoy with me, and spending money on travel experiences to make great memories while we are both relatively healthy. I am 42 and pretty healthy, he is 9 years older than me and has diabetes and high blood pressure. We don’t have kids. I have a decent amount of savings and set aside a good portion of salary for retirement, but hesitate to increase the percentage at the cost of enjoying life now with my husband.

    • SJLinda

      I think saving super aggressively depends on how much job/professional security you have and how on track you are with your savings (get an opinion from a fee based financial planner). If you are on track and your career is secure like that of a physical therapist who will always be in demand, I say live a little as you go.

      My ex-husbands’ parents dream of “enjoying retirement” and traveling didn’t happen as his mother died from a heart attack in her early 50′s. This influenced my ex so that we had a big trip every year or two during our marriage but we had an overall budget for every year and a budget for the trip and we saved by living below our means otherwise. If we went over budgert on our trip spending then we cut back other discretionary spending for that year.

      We divorced when I was in my late 30′s but I took a year off in my early 40′s (courtesy of a modest amount of stock options I sold and put into t-bills) to do some traveling – called it my “cancer insurance” – which became a couple years off when 9/11 hit. It was hard getting another full-time job but I have had one for the past 7 years where I done very little traveling and focused on saving. Now that I am back on track with my retirement savings for retiring at 65 I am starting to travel a bit more again. My plan is to do my remaining “bucket list” of international trips before I am 60 and then stay close to home when I am retired and may have the normal health from aging.

      Speaking of health, one other possibility: work on your husband’s diet to see if his health issues can be reduced. i have always eaten fairly healthy but have been reading about the Dr Oz diet and recently tried Tana Amen’s (the “brain doc’s” wife) 70% vegetables/30% protein during a one week staycation I took after a good friend passed away from cancer at 64. Many people give too little thought to what they eat . . .

      • NKSL

        Thanks for sharing your perspective. We do have a budget, very little debt, and low housing expenses, so we’re able to do some travel and still save about 8-10% for retirement. I have a friend who’s (seemingly healthy and fit) husband died last weekend on his birthday of a massive heart attack. You truly never know when you’re time is up.
        RE: Husband’s diet—if only I could get him to eat better! I’m currently on the whole30 diet (no grains, dairy, legumes, or sugar) and tried to get him on it with me. He said he would but then keeps cheating! Other than his diet and health, he’s an awesome human being and a great husband, so I want to enjoy our lives together as long as possible.