New shortcut tool helps you estimate retirement planning needs

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If you listen to me, you’re probably already motivated to have a healthy wallet. You may be saving for retirement or paying down debt or both at once if you’re lucky. But we’re all works in progress at different stages in life.

I saw something in Money  magazine that might seems like a no-brainer but it was meaningful to me. A study found people who plan for retirement will on average save five times more money for the future than those who put it on ignore.

Beginning the process of planning for retirement can be as simple as saying, “I plan to retire in 2027, so I need to save X amount of dollars each pay period.” Just the simple act of putting that in your head seems to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That may sound like common sense. But some people may be good at building short-term savings, yet they’re lost when it comes to long-term savings.

If you have a 401(k) at work, very often your employer will have a website where you can go and punch in your info and it will tell you how much to save per month. These are usually very detailed sites that you could spend 30 minutes to a couple of hours on if you have the time.

But I like shortcuts because if there’s only the long route, many times people won’t get the job done. Money  magazine suggests a shortcut kind of site called the Quick Advice tool that offers a really streamlined version of what your employer’s website may be like.

The Quick Advice tool won’t give you the accuracy of a projection tool where you spend 30 minutes to two hours entering specific info for your situation. But it will give you general guidance.

Let’s say you do it and you find out the figure you need to save each month or pay period is impossible for you right now. Don’t worry. Start where you can and save what you can.

If you need help on where to put the money, see my investment guide linked below.

Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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