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In a perfect world, everyone would start saving for retirement in their 20s, never have a financial setback and retire early with a healthy nest egg. The reality is life doesn't always go as planned. If saving for retirement has taken a back seat to other priorities in your past, there are steps you can take to catch up.
Put the power of three to work for you. Time (how long you save), money (how much you save) and return (how much your investments earn) are the three key variables that influence whether you'll achieve your goals. Your financial advisor can run different scenarios to show you how small changes to each can make a big difference.
Time (and Money) – Can you save more or retire later?
Take a close look at where you're spending your money. You may have opportunities to save more. And if your retirement date is flexible, pushing it out a few years could dramatically improve your retirement lifestyle. You'll have more time to save and earn a return on your investments, and it could also increase your Social Security benefits, providing you with more income in retirement.
Money - Take advantage of catchup provisions
Once you reach age 50, you can contribute more to your retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
Return - Ensure your investments align with your goals
Avoid the temptation to invest too aggressively to try to make up for lost time – this could increase the risk that you don't meet your goals. However, it's important to make sure your investment strategy includes the proper amount of risk needed to achieve your desired return.
Are you actually behind? A comfortable retirement means different things to different people. Working with a financial advisor who knows you and your goals can help you define what retirement means for you, determine the amount needed to achieve it and weigh trade-offs to get you on track – wherever you are today.