When Nationwide surveyed workers last year to get their thoughts on how they're doing with regard to retirement readiness, a good 74% felt they were on a good path. This August, Nationwide posed that question again. Not surprisingly, only 58% of respondents said they felt they're on the right track.

Given the events of the stock market over the past nine months, it's easy to see why retirement savers have a less positive outlook. Many savers are seeing lower balances in their IRAs and 401(k) plans due to plunging stock values. And since we don't know when this bout of volatility will end, it's easy to see why so many people may be uneasy about their financial futures.

If you're worried your nest egg will end up falling short down the line, there are some steps you can take to make up for that. And the sooner you map out a personal plan, the better.

A person at a laptop looking unhappy.

Image source: Getty Images.

Getting back on track

First, let's get one thing clear: It may be that your nest egg has lost a lot of value this year due to the state of the stock market, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're doomed to enter retirement with inadequate savings. If that milestone is many years away, there's a strong chance your portfolio will recover before your career comes to an end.

However, it may be the case that you haven't been funding your IRA or 401(k) as diligently as you would've liked. Or maybe you haven't been investing your savings efficiently. Once you recognize that, you can take corrective steps to increase your chances of avoiding financial stress later in life.

First, rework your budget so you're able to carve out more money for your savings. That could mean unloading some of your larger expenses to free up funds for your IRA or 401(k).

As a general rule, you should be aiming to set aside 20% of your income, at a minimum, for retirement. If you can't do that right now, get as close as you can. (And also, give yourself a break, since these days, many people are struggling to boost their retirement savings, due to inflation.)

At the same time, make sure your long-term savings are invested in an aggressive-enough manner to allow for steady growth. If you're decades away from retirement, now's not the time to be shy about taking on some risk.

If you're pretty decently invested in stocks and have seen your portfolio lose value, don't dump your stocks. Instead, sit tight and ride things out. Or better yet, add stocks to your portfolio while they're discounted.

However, it's important to be realistic about your target retirement age. If you're in your 50s and aren't happy with the state of your nest egg, you may need to get on board with working until your late 60s or early 70s instead of retiring at 62 or 65. Working longer could make it possible to boost your savings nicely. And it might allow you to delay your Social Security claim, which could lead to a higher monthly benefit for life.

All told, it's not shocking to see workers' feelings about their retirement readiness take a turn for the negative. But if that's how you feel, don't just resign yourself to the worst of all worlds. Instead, do your best to take control of the situation and make changes to your savings and investing habits accordingly.