Here’s some unexpected good news: if you are actively saving for retirement, you are 26% more likely to have a higher sense of well-being than someone who isn’t.* While you probably think of retirement savings as something that will benefit you in the distant future, according to BlackRock’s latest Global Investor Pulse Survey, it delivers benefits today, making you more optimistic, hopeful and confident about your financial future than your non-retirement saving counterparts.
Another surprising finding: almost half of those with retirement savings do not consider themselves to be an investor. Here is what one millennial said about investing in her retirement plan:
“I would not identify myself as an investor. I’m more just the contributor to the investment. I couldn’t even tell you the percentages, or the funds, or the markets, or the shares that make up my 401k. I just know I put the money in.” -Tara, 29
Tara’s story is not uncommon, as 64% of total respondents found information about investing difficult to understand. The good news? You can feel good about being on a solid path to a financially secure retirement even if you don’t regularly follow the stock market. Here are three steps you can take today that can keep you on track.
1. Be a consistent saver
Saving as much as you can, starting as early as possible, will most likely make the biggest impact on your financial preparedness for retirement. But our survey found that only 56% of Americans have started saving for retirement. One of the best ways to begin saving is at your workplace. If you have access to an employer retirement plan but aren’t currently saving, try starting by contributing a small amount out of every paycheck. This may also enable you to benefit from a company match. You can always increase your savings amount over time.
2. Choose a diversified investment option
Most retirement plans offer a “do-it-for-me” option, such as a target date fund or managed account. These options, which have been screened by your employer or a consultant hired by your employer, allow you to allocate 100% of your savings into a professionally managed, diversified portfolio. Opting for one of these options allows you to focus on the amount you save, without having to spend the time researching multiple investment types and determining how to divide up your money between them.
3. Figure out how much you’ll need
Most retirement plan websites offer tools or calculators to help you with your retirement planning. The most useful will help you understand how much income you will need each month in retirement, and how much you’ll need to save in order to achieve that income level. If you see that you are falling short, you can usually adjust the inputs to see how your financial situation changes by saving more, retiring later, or spending less in retirement.
As our survey* shows, taking just a few steps to plan for your retirement can help you achieve a more financially secure future, and may also give you a greater feeling of confidence, optimism and well-being today. And that’s an investment worth making.