Nearly half of baby boomers have no savings at all, according to a 2019 report from the Insured Retirement Institute.
It's easy to fall behind on your savings, especially when you likely have an extensive list of other financial responsibilities. But the less time you have before retirement, the harder you'll need to work to catch up on saving.
If you're in your 50s with $100,000 or less in savings, there are three things you should do right now for a better chance of retiring comfortably.
1. Determine at what age you can realistically expect to retire
When you're behind on your savings, it's wise to consider delaying retirement by a few years so you have more time to save. But it's important to think about how long you can realistically work.
Approximately 52% of workers say they intend to continue working past 65, and in some cases never retire at all, according to a report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. But that same report also found that around one-quarter of workers had not taken any steps to ensure they could continue working, such as staying healthy, performing well at their job, or networking.
As you're determining what age to retire, be sure to look at the big picture. Take into account factors like your health and job security, and think about whether you'll realistically be able to work as long as you'd like. If not, it's crucial to get a jump-start on saving now.
2. Think about how much you'll be able to depend on Social Security
You likely won't have to rely on your savings for all of your retirement income, because most retirees are entitled to Social Security benefits. But your monthly checks are only designed to replace around 40% of your income, so you may not be able to depend on them as much as you think.
The average retiree will receive approximately $1,543 per month from Social Security in 2021, according to the Social Security Administration. To see your estimated benefit amount, you can check your statements online by creating a mySocialSecurity account.
When you have an idea of how much you'll receive from Social Security, you can determine how much of your income will come from your benefits versus your savings.
3. Reduce your retirement expenses
Even if you supercharge your savings, it can be difficult to save a substantial amount of money in a relatively short period. But that doesn't mean you won't be able to afford retirement.
Besides saving as much as you can, the other way to make retirement more affordable is to reduce your living expenses. The less you spend each year during retirement, the further your savings will go.
Reducing expenses could mean simply cutting back on nonessential costs like takeout or travel. Or, you could make more significant changes like downsizing to a smaller home or relocating to a more affordable neighborhood. If you can make these changes now, you may be able to boost your savings significantly. But even if you wait until you retire to make budget cuts, reducing your expenses can still help your savings last longer.
It's not easy saving for retirement, and it can be especially challenging if you're nearing retirement age and your savings aren't as strong as you'd like them to be. But that doesn't mean you should give up on reaching your goal. With these steps, you can get your retirement back on track.