In challenging financial times, it can be difficult to pay bills today, let alone save for the future. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Lincoln Financial Group found that 72 percent of Americans say that the state of the economy is making it challenging for them to stay on track with their retirement savings.

“With everything that Americans have on their minds today, the economy can weigh heavily on retirement savings decisions,” says Chuck Cornelio, president of Retirement Plan Services at Lincoln Financial Group. “But it’s important not to take a break from saving.”

Even if you are already enrolled in your employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b), there are steps you can take to help better prepare you for retirement.

Here are five tips to help you get you started:

1. Enroll in your employer sponsored retirement plan:

Participating in your employer-sponsored retirement plan reduces your taxable income today, while helping to build retirement savings for tomorrow. If you don’t know how to get started, contact your benefits administrator or human resources department to help you enroll.

2. Consolidate assets:

Consolidating your retirement assets into one account helps to simplify the savings and income planning process and can help your money grow over time.

3. Schedule a retirement plan check-up:

Make it a habit to schedule an annual plan check-up just as you would your health exam. An annual meeting with a financial professional will help you stay on track of goals.

4. Resist the temptation to borrow against your retirement plan:

While the best plans can be impacted by unexpected events, avoid borrowing against your retirement plan savings. When you do that, you may miss out on potential returns when the market recovers. All the time you spend paying back the loan is time you’re not making contributions, missing out on the ability for your money to grow.

5. Increase contributions with income boosts:

Whenever you receive extra cash from a tax refund, a bonus, a salary increase or some other pleasant surprise, consider increasing your retirement plan contributions. Even increasing by a percentage or two can make a big difference in the long run. When you hit the maximum contribution level in your employer-sponsored retirement plan, a financial advisor can help you find the right place to invest additional savings.

Although retirement may seem far off when you are in the middle of your working years, getting on track early and saving steadily can help you fund the lifestyle you want to live in your retirement years.


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