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Fatten up retirement savings in 3 steps

Published On: Jan 09 2014 01:38:01 PM CST
Father and son using laptop

(NewsUSA) - For some aging adults, the retirement piggy bank is looking too slim, especially for those unable to max out 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (IRA) every year.

Remember when hard-working seniors were able to look forward to retirement as the chance to travel and savor relaxed family visits?

The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) discovered that expectations for the so-called "good life" deflated back in 2011. NIRS research found only 11 percent of consumers assume retirement will include activities like travel, dining out at restaurants, hobbies and overall leisure-time. Most just hope they'll be able to sustain their lifestyle without having to work or rely on others.

It's not surprising that research indicates pensioners are better financially prepared for retired life. But the traditional pension has declined over the past 30 years, making it even tougher for middle-income adults to save enough for a stable nest egg.

Consider the following advice when saving for retirement to make the most of your golden years.

1. When it comes to investing, keep it simple.

Unless you've got a step up on the market flux, be smart and cautious. For soon-to-be retirees, CNN Money suggests avoiding individual stocks, niche funds and most ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Try to boost returns without assuming added risk by aiming for lower costs and low-expense funds. Straightforward, diversified portfolios will get you farther in the long run.

2. Utilize investment help.

If you're managing your own portfolio and retirement accounts, investment guide tools can be incredibly useful. Services such as USelfDirect.com offer retirement education and investment help for any self-directed investor trying to maximize IRA or 401(k) growth. "My motto is 'athletes do not rest, they build.' But when it comes to preparing for retirement, sometimes you need help to know what to build," explains Marshall Faulk, USelfDirect.com board member and former NFL star, who also created the Marshall Faulk Foundation to help San Diego youth. "Do you know which tax advantaged accounts provide the easiest way to score the most benefits?"

3. Save more as income grows.

This seems obvious, but when adults receive a salary bump they should factor that into their allotted retirement savings. Resist the temptation to buy that new TV or king-sized bed -- even though you deserve it -- and put more toward the retirement plan or IRA. If you indulge in more luxurious living with every bit of income growth, it'll be harder to maintain that lifestyle during retirement.

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