October 17 through 23 is National Save for Retirement Week, and Greg Moore, an Edward Jones financial adviser who lives in Verona, wants you to think about what you should be doing to save. Things like contributing to a 401(k) or other employee-sponsored retirement plan, opening an IRA or rebalancing your portfolio regularly.
“For many of us, the need to boost our retirement savings is critical,” Moore says.
According to a survey done earlier this year by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 54% of the survey respondents say that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any traditional pension plans is less than $25,000. That’s not going to go very far when you consider that it takes $1 million in savings to generate $40,000 in annual income for the average retiree. Further complicating the picture is that companies have shifted away from traditional pension plans–known as defined benefit plans–to defined contribution plans like a 401(k).
“That means much of the responsibility of funding retirement has shifted from employer to employee,” Moore says.
So here are some tips from Moore and his employer:
- Contribute as much as you can afford to a 401(k) or other tax-advantaged employer-sponsored plan such as a 403(b) or 457(b). Spread your 401(k) dollars among the available investments in a way that reflects your risk tolerance and time horizon.
- Open and contribute regularly to an IRA. A traditional IRA can grow on a tax-deferred basis, and a Roth IRA grows tax-free, provided you’ve had your account for at least five years and don’t begin taking withdrawals until you’re 59 1/2.
- Rebalance your investment portfolio regularly. During the recent recession, many new retirees faced difficulties when they were forced to tap into investment portfolios whose value had dropped
significantly. Periodically review and rebalance your investments.