It’s National Retirement Security Week: Are you ready?

It can be intimidating if you’re unsure which options to pick for retirement savings. A recent study revealed that 80% of Americans know retirement savings is important. But only 56% are actually saving.

This National Retirement Security Week, we’ll break it down into doable steps.

This awareness week began in 2006 with a bipartisan resolution. It’s Oct. 16-23 this year (it’s always the third full week in October). The week is an opportunity to talk to a consultant or expert about your retirement plans. Ask your human resources rep if your company sponsors a plan.

Fast facts about retirement savings

With some work, you can write a solid story for retirement. Here are interesting facts among Americans about saving for retirement.

  • 28% partake in their employers’ retirement plan. 21% are in their employees’ retirement plan — but feel they should be doing more. 20% wish their company offered retirement plans. They’d definitely contribute to it.
  • 66% fear they won’t have enough money in retirement. (That’s 33% each of Generation X and Millennials, and 28% of Baby Boomers.) 
  • 42% began squirreling away funds before their 30th birthday. 32% started in their 30s, and 13% were 40-plus before they got going.

What to do for National Retirement Security Week

It takes commitment, a little at a time. Make these moves during this week, then keep it going.

1. Start saving

It’s the same as when you filled a piggy bank as a kid to buy something desirable. Only now, you have better tools to do it. If your employer offers a retirement plan, does your company also match your 401(k) contributions? It’s free money. Often, your company will match up to a certain percentage that goes up as you gain years of service. If possible, contribute to the max.

RECOMMENDED: Did you start saving early? No? That’s OK. Start today. The earlier you begin, the more time you give your investments to increase in value. The market will rise and fall, but remember, you’re in for the long haul.

Did you know …

that 26% of Tennessee residents save at least 10% of their pay for retirement? Colorado (25%) and Florida (21%) round out the top 3.

2. Start planning

Adopt a game plan for where you want to be. Often, the first step is the hardest! Good retirement savings habits extend to other sound fiscal practices. These include budgeting each month. Saving for vacations and cars, college expenses, and more creates the discipline necessary. Southern Bank offers an array of savings options. Come see us.

RECOMMENDED: Ask if your employer has a pension plan. Request an individual benefit statement to determine its value. You also might have pensions from previous employers.

Did you know …

that Americans age 50 and older can save an extra $6,000 per year tax deferred? Now, that’s incentive.

3. Clear some debt

Many people in debt as they plan for retirement didn’t have great instruction on handling credit. There are many strategies for paying off credit cards. Anything in which you pay more than the minimum payment is a start. It also helps to stop using credit to pay it off! Paying off accounts means more money for you to save.

RECOMMENDED: Check bills and statements for charges and interest rates. Call your lender right away if something is amiss. Try to pay off the card with the lowest balance first, then apply the payment for that to the next lowest.

Did you know …

that for retirement accounts, time is more valuable than timing? Missing the “best days” in the market isn’t as crucial when your investment is long-term.

4. Write your retirement plan

Jump in with both feet. Just as writing a plan for a vacation can inspire you, so too can mapping out what you want retirement to look like. Did you know only three of 10 Americans have committed a plan to paper? Experts say the $1 million needed to retire has increased to $2 million because of inflation. It all depends on what you want your retirement to look like.

RECOMMENDED: There’s a lot to it, and it’ll develop over time. Sketch out retirement goals — where you’d like to live, what you’d like to do. Travel? Golf? Write that novel? This outline can help you determine your next steps.

Did you know …

A Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is tax advantaged? This mean some savings grows, tax-free.

Southern Bank can help

Ready to save up for retirement? With Southern Bank, you have many savings options. Look into personal savings and money market accounts. They can help you achieve your financial goals. Talk to your HR department. Then contact Southern Bank to determine your best course of action.

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