A Written Retirement Plan Can Double Your Savings

Middle-class Americans with a written financial retirement plan are saving more than twice as much as people without one, according to a new Wells Fargo Retirement survey.

“People who have a written plan for retirement are helping themselves create a future on their own terms, with a foundation built on saving, and hopefully investing,” Joe Ready, Wells Fargo’s director of Institutional Retirement, said in a statement.

The study found that middle-class investors with a written plan are saving a median of $250 per month for retirement, versus just $100 for those without one. The study polled Americans with less than $100,000 in household income and investible assets of less than $100,000.

A third of the people surveyed aren’t currently contributing anything to retirement savings (though they may have some savings already), while 19 percent said they have no retirement savings at all.

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said that saving for retirement is harder than they anticipated. More than half the people plan on saving “later” for retirement in order to make up for not saving now.

Broken down by age, the median amount saved by middle-class savers in their 40s is $40,000 – but those in their 50s who answered this survey said they had only $20,000 in savings.

A majority of respondents said they’re not sacrificing a lot to save for retirement, but 72 percent said they should have started saving for retirement earlier.

Among those with access to a workplace retirement plan, two-thirds contribute enough toward the plan to get an employer match, with a median contribution rate of 7 percent.

Here are some wise retirement savings tips:

Make it automatic: The beauty of a 401(k) plan is that once it’s set up, it automatically deducts the cash from your paycheck so you can’t forget to save. Even if you don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan, you can set up auto-deposits into an IRA account.

Ramp it up: The number-one factor in saving for retirement is your contribution rate and regular contribution rate increases. See if your employer offers an option in which you can automatically increase your contribution on a regular basis, or set a reminder to do so on your own.

Leave your savings alone: It can be tempting to pull cash out of your retirement accounts for unexpected expenses, but doing so can jeopardize your financial future.

Article contributed by: Beth Braverman

Image contributed by: Images Money