Consider these five options to help boost your retirement savings


Dealing with the thought of retirement especially in an economy that is not great, can be a major source of stress. Aside from not knowing where the next check will come from, there may have been debts racked up during the working years that are making retirement look like something that you'll never enjoy.

There are some strategies that can help put you on track to get closer to your goal of retirement especially if you are far behind on the savings part:

1. Start putting away as much as you can right now. If you can save $1,000-$2,000 per month right now, you could have around half a million in 20 years assuming that you were able to get an average annual return of 5%. This deal gets sweeter if your company matches has some form of 401k matching. At a minimum you will want to consider socking away at least the matching amount that your employer gives (that's free money).

2. Look for ways to reduce your current spending habits. Look at no contract cell phone services that are cheaper than contract counterparts, basic cable or satellite instead of the full package (look at possibly just having Netflix instead to save even more since they have television seasons online or on DVD), ditch the landline for your cell phone, learn to cook (Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine is great for learning how to cook great meals on the cheap and also Eating For Life book has excellent simple to make meals), or take up a hobby that doesn't cost much (like tennis). 

3. Set achievable goals for short, medium and long term. What kind of life do you want to live in retirement or even before that? Do you want to travel the world, buy a Austin Martin, own a home? By setting goals you are identifying and creating a means to achieve what you want and live the life that you deserve.

4. Look for other ways to supplement your income now and in retirement. Online business is great for creating an opportunity to make some extra income while pursuing a passion. If you have a passion for what you pursue, the income will also follow.

5. Don't chase the get rich quick schemes. Sure, the lottery would be great to win, but your chances are so small that you would be better off investing than spending it on lotto tickets. Choose wisely your mix of stocks and bonds. I have seen this a million times. Someone has their whole 401k in international stocks even though they are getting ready to retire next year. That gamble is dangerous, and it is better to find a more suitable investment for your time horizon.  

By taking some of these simple steps now, you can create a retirement worth having.