What Does Bigfoot Have to Do With Your Retirement?

Written by Catherine Harvey, Senior Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

If you’re worried about financial security in retirement, you’re not alone. A recent survey from AARP and the Ad Council found that nearly three in ten working adults (28%) believe they’re more likely to learn that Bigfoot is real than to live comfortably in retirement.

While it’s no myth that many Americans haven’t saved enough for retirement, there are steps you can take today to change that reality. For example:

  • If your employer offers matching funds for your retirement savings plan, talk to your HR rep to make sure you’re contributing at least enough to get the full employer match.
  • Aim to increase your contributions to your retirement savings plan every year, even if only by 1%. Research shows that setting a goal makes you more likely to follow through on your intentions.
  • If you’re self-employed, consider opening a SEP-IRAs, or Simplified Employee Pension-IRA account.
  • Think about your retirement timeline and consider waiting longer – up to age 70 if possible – to begin collecting Social Security. This increases your annual benefit.
  • Brainstorm ideas for earning money in retirement, such as turning a hobby into a source of income, or taking on seasonal part-time work

If you’ve taken any of these steps, great! You’re on your way. For many people, however, generic tips are not enough. In fact, research finds that existing planning tools, like online calculators, can actually make them feel more anxious and overwhelmed. In response, AARP and the Ad Council launched a Saving for Retirement campaign to empower people to save for retirement. At AceYourRetirement.org you can create a personalized retirement action plan in just three minutes with the help of a friendly digital retirement coach, Avo℠.

Broader efforts are underway to make it simpler and more rewarding for everyone in America to create the financial futures they want. Nearly 40 states are considering legislation to make it easier for small business employees to save for retirement through their regular paychecks. Employees are also calling on employers to help them set aside savings for a rainy day so that they’re less likely to dip into their long-term savings in an emergency. These broader efforts, together with tools for consumers, are empowering millions of people to turn financial security in retirement from a myth into a reality.

 

Catherine Harvey is a senior policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, where she works on public policies and market solutions to help people save for their goals.

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