You can't expect Social Security to cover all of your living costs in retirement. Those benefits will only replace about 40% of your pre-retirement income, assuming you're an average earner, and most seniors need more like 70% to 80% of their previous income to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
That's why it's important to save well for retirement while you're working. But many Americans may be falling short in that regard.
The median retirement savings balance workers of all ages is $93,000, as per the 21st Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. And while that may read like a decent sum of money at first glance, when we consider the fact that some people's retirement savings may need to last 20 years or longer, it's actually not a whole lot.
Of course, a $93,000 savings balance is great for someone in his or her 20s or even 30s. Anyone in that situation can build on that $93,000 and grow it into a much larger sum over time. But for workers in their 50s, or those nearing retirement, $93,000 is probably shy of where they'd want to be.
No matter your age, if you're not happy with your retirement plan balance, it's imperative that you take steps to boost your savings while you can. Here's how.
1. Get yourself on a budget
The sooner you start following a budget, the easier it'll be to carve out more room for retirement savings. List your monthly expenses and then try reducing some so you can ramp up your IRA or 401(k) contributions.
2. Consider a side job
You may only be able to eke so much money out of your regular paycheck. If that's the case, consider getting a second job. These days, you can find different opportunities that allow you to retain a flexible schedule, like doing work from home or driving for a ride-hailing service.
3. Look at extending your career
If you're nearing the end of your career with $93,000 in savings, working a few extra years is a smart bet. For one thing, that might allow you to not only pad your nest egg, but leave your existing savings alone.
Incidentally, working longer may also allow you to delay your Social Security filing and score a higher monthly benefit in the process. Clearly, that won't boost your savings, but it will help compensate for a savings balance you're less than pleased with.
Do your savings need work?
Maybe you have less than $93,000 set aside for retirement already. Or maybe you're currently sitting on a whole lot more.
Either way, if you're not happy with what your IRA or 401(k) plan looks like, then it's important that you reassess your spending and find ways to do better on the savings front. Once you retire, you may rely quite heavily on your nest egg to make up for the fact that Social Security won't replace all that much of your previous income. The more money you're able to sock away, the more secure a retirement you'll manage to attain.
The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.