No longer Uncle Sam’s retirement

Published 2:18 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You can’t watch television or read a newspaper without being reminded of the uncertain times we’re in. It’s rough out there.

This has made retirement planning more complicated than ever. From October 2007 to last December, the market lost nearly $3 trillion in retirement savings. Many who were counting on their 401(k)s don’t even read their account statements anymore.

Other factors have muddied the waters for mapping a course toward retirement as well. People are living longer. This is good news, but we need to prepare for more years of retirement.

And, if you thought Social Security would take care of you, think again. Last year, the maximum monthly benefit was $2,185 — not enough for many of you to live well.

Try implementing the following strategies to save more for retirement and help supplement your social security.

-Start saving money today. Even if it’s a small amount of savings, it is a habit you must start and stick with for the long haul. To improve your chance of savings success, automate the process. Have money withdrawn automatically from your paycheck or from your checking account each month.

-Try to save at least 3 percent of your earnings each payroll period. When you get a salary increase, add an extra percent to your savings rate.

-When I meet with people in their 50s and 60s, the one regret they have is that they had wished they’d started earlier in life. It’s never too early or too late to start saving for retirement.

-The government will not take care of you. Learn about personal finance and find a trustworthy financial adviser. In the end, your financial well-being is your personal responsibility.