5 Ways to Retrain Your Brain to Save More for Retirement

Posted

Be honest: How often do you really think about your retirement savings? Or maybe the better question is: How often do you actually do something to grow that nest egg?

If recent research is any indication, the answer is probably “not too often.” In fact, it seems like every other month a new study makes headlines that reveals how much Americans aren’t saving for retirement—and how stressed we are about it.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence survey, 52% of workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement—and 36% have less than $1,000. Meanwhile, only 18% of those polled are “very confident” that they’ll have enough saved for their golden years.

So why do we have such a hard time stashing away even modest amounts?

Part of the obstacle may be psychological: It’s hard to keep something that’s still decades off top of mind. “One of the biggest barriers to saving for retirement is just the idea of getting started, because it seems too big and overwhelming—or just too far away,” asserts clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior.

It’s easy to understand why the $25,000 car you’re saving up to buy by year’s end can feel more tangible than the fuzzy picture you’ve painted for your sixtysomething self. But saving for retirement is one of the cornerstones of basic financial security—and, priority-wise, should trump that new set of wheels.

So what if you could retrain your brain when it comes to how you think about retirement? From ditching the “R” word to treating yourself to retirement “gifts,” here are clever ways to rewire your noggin to start building up that nest egg better—and maybe even have a little fun in the process. Yes, we said fun.

RELATED: The 7 Biggest Retirement Mistakes Financial Planners See