Here's how to maximize your retirement savings, whether or not you have a 401(k)

By Leia Klingel Retirement FOXBusiness

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It is national retirement week here in the U.S., a time to reflect on retirement savings and planning. According to Wells Fargo’s annual retirement survey, as Americans’ confidence in the stock market grows, their retirement savings follows.

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Wells Fargo’s survey found that 89% of workers who have access to savings plans indicate they wouldn’t have saved as much for retirement if they did not have a 401(k) plan. But, one in four working Americans are not contributing to retirement savings through a 401(k) plan, IRA, or other dedicated retirement savings plan.

FOX Business reached out to Joseph Ready, executive vice president and director of Wells Fargo retirement services, and asked him how Americans who don’t have access to a retirement plan can prepare for retirement.  

“Emulate – to the extent possible – the features of a 401(k) that work well; in particular, set up regular, systematic, pretax contributions to a retirement plan, such as an IRA, and start at an early age,” Ready advised. He added that this creates the good habit of saving, and helps bake it in to your budget.

Regular, consistent saving can be tough and studies show that when it comes to retirement savings, many people push it off.

Ready suggested setting up calendar reminders on financially relevant dates to increase savings and review retirement plans.

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“One example of a calendar date to use could be around annual review or bonus season, or perhaps on a birthday,” Ready told FOX Business.

Americans’ confidence in the stock market is increasing

Wells Fargo’s retirement survey also showed that after eight years of a bull market, Americans’ confidence in equity investing is improving with 65% of the survey participants saying they see the U.S. stock market as a good place to invest for retirement, compared to the 45% who felt that way last year.

But as the stock market rallies on to new highs, some are skeptical. FOX Business asked Ready what advice he had for those who fear a market correction is ahead.

“There are natural market cycles, and they could impact
investments regardless of the vehicle; markets and policy will ebb and flow over time and are typically not within your control. Focus on what you can control: identifying your risk appetite, savings rate, rebalancing your portfolio, estimating retirement age and what that means for monthly retirement income, and so forth,” he said.

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With that in mind, Ready told FOX Business that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan, and age should be a factor when determining asset allocation.

“A 65-year-old shouldn’t typically be invested like a 25-year-old, nor should a 25-year-old be invested like a 65-year-old. If allocated properly, you’ll be better-positioned to weather storms,” he said.

 

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