How to be a super saver

Anne talks about good habits that help investors stay on track when it comes to saving for retirement.

How are you feeling about retirement these days?

If you’re like most, probably relatively confident. Our latest DC Pulse survey shows that confidence is on the rise: The number of 401(k) savers who feel comfortable with their retirement nearly doubled since 2017. When they think about saving for retirement, people report feeling “hopeful” and “optimistic.”

It’s a different story than what we saw two years ago.

Our 2016 survey found that, while companies mostly thought their employees were on track for retirement, investors were far less sure of themselves. And then, last year, something changed. Suddenly investors had a burst of confidence—and still do.

So what happened? Our theory: market performance.

49% of 401(k) savers who feel on track for retirement say it’s because their investments are performing “up to expectations.” That’s not surprising, given how well the market has performed.

We aren’t just reading the tea leaves. We tracked it—and you can actually see the correlation between investor confidence and market performance over time.


It’s good news. We want people to feel financially secure in retirement—that’s at the heart of our mission at BlackRock.

But it’s also good motivation to do more. Think about it: If you’ve been trying to lose weight, how do you feel when those first few pounds drop off? Does it make you want to call it quits? Or do you feel empowered to lose even more?

icon-pointer.svg Read more from the DC Pulse survey.

Now’s the perfect time to double down on retirement saving, by building better habits that will help you be a super saver for the long haul.

In this year’s DC Pulse Survey, we pressed those who claimed to be on track for retirement. We wanted to know what specific habits they formed to help them stay on track—in good times and bad.

As you look them over, spend some time thinking about your own savings habits. They’re within your control—you should be empowered to make the most of them.

Super-saver habits:

1. They plan for the long term.

Super savers are significantly more likely to determine when they want to retire and work backwards from there in forming their savings plan. They take into account what their expenses will be in retirement—and how much income they expect to be able to generate through Social Security and other investments.

2. They set ambitious savings targets.

It’s commendable that so many people strive to “save as much as they can” for retirement. But goals are most effective when they’re clear and specific. That’s why our super savers aim to max out their 401(k) contribution at $18,500. It sets the bar high, but you’ll know you’re moving toward your long-term goals.

3. They track their progress.

Super savers aren’t afraid to “step on the scale.” They proactively check their retirement plan balances from time to time, so they have a consistent idea of where they stand. This gives them a better sense of how they may need to course-correct their savings strategy over time.

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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