Americans are an optimistic bunch. When it comes to money, most people feel secure and on track to achieve their financial goals, according to Experian’s 2016 personal finance survey. Dig a little deeper, though, and some problems begin to emerge. Three quarters of people say they’re stressed about money at least some of the time and 41% are earning less today than they expected they would be five years ago. Nearly 75% said they felt behind on their retirement savings, including one-third who believed they were too far off track to ever catch up.
What exactly do those who are behind in their savings expect to do once they hit retirement age? Keep working until they drop, apparently. Just over one-quarter of people will stay at their job for as long as they possibly can, a 2014 Federal Reserve survey found. Planning to keep working during retirement isn’t always a bad thing, especially for those who find the idea of a life without a job a bore. But it’s not exactly a solid retirement plan. Layoffs and health problems can force you into retirement earlier than you would like, which is one reason why you also want a healthy nest egg – it gives you something to fall back on if your career goes belly up.
Unfortunately, the average 401(k) balance of just under $100,000 isn’t going to cut it in retirement, even if you do manage to keep working into your 70s. Still, an anemic retirement account doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of work, provided you act now. While nothing beats saving early and often, there are ways to juice your savings so you can increase your chances of enjoying a financially secure retirement. If your 401(k) needs some TLC, consider these five fast ways to catch up on your retirement savings.