A Mother’s Day gift for baby boomer moms

Mother’s Day is a good day to celebrate the moms in your life—and prepare for retirement. Anne explains.

This Mother’s Day, as I’ve done for many years, I’ve been reflecting on my own mom and how she was a key motivator behind why I’m passionate about tackling the retirement challenge. My mother was a high school math teacher, and she and my father worked hard to build a stable life for our family—which was no easy feat with five kids to raise and care for. Putting a portion of their paychecks away for retirement definitely felt like an extra squeeze on top of an already tight budget, especially when living and family-related expenses were always top priority.

So when I began working at BlackRock, my mother started a new tradition. Like clockwork, every year my mom would send me her pension statement with the same note: “Anne, take good care of us teachers!” This note served as my annual reminder and motivation for why I come to work every day—to help hardworking people retire the way they want to, with dignity and with confidence.

Today, I have a new appreciation for my mom’s notes. As a baby boomer, my retirement is closer on the horizon than it once was, and my generation faces some tough questions: Am I saving enough? Am I investing appropriately? How can I be sure that I’ll make the most of what I’m able to put away? So in the spirit of taking good care of baby boomers—and especially baby boomer moms—here are some retirement saving tips:

Empower yourself with knowledge

Our 2017 DC Pulse survey found that 23% of people aren’t sure if they’re on-track to retire the way they would like to. Sound like you? To reduce that uncertainty, use an income calculator to see how your current lump sum in savings will translate into income streams during your retirement years. The sooner you do so, the better—knowing whether or not you’re on-track today empowers you with the knowledge you need to make decisions on how you should adjust your saving or investment habits to reach your goals. And the good news is, if you’re not where you want to be yet, there’s still time to catch up.

Act your age

People at different life stages have different investing needs. Baby boomers, for example, are likely to benefit from investment vehicles that seek returns while protecting a retirement saver’s balance. Target date funds are designed to do just that—provide age-appropriate diversification and dial down risk as you near retirement. And, you can stay invested in a target date fund up until, and even through, your retirement years as a way to support stable spending in retirement.

Pick up the pace

While saving for retirement is a marathon not a sprint, there is a way to kick it up a notch if need be. Individuals aged 50 and over can make annual catch-up contributions of up to $6,000 into their 401(k) on top of the $18,000 annual maximum. If it’s within your means, taking advantage of this extra opportunity to save can be key to significantly moving the needle on your own retirement readiness.

As a mother of two myself, I’m readily aware that moms often spend much of our time worrying about everyone else before ourselves. But this Mother’s Day, join me in putting yourself first and giving yourself a valuable Mother’s Day gift: Take action today to set yourself up for a more secure retirement tomorrow.

Anne Ackerley is the Head of BlackRock’s U.S. & Canada Defined Contribution (USDC) Group and a regular contributor to The Blog.

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