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Good Question: How Much Should I Save For Retirement?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s nothing sexy about saving for retirement. We all know we should be doing it, but with monthly and weekly financial obligations, it can be hard to start saving for what can be an intimidating and distant target.

So how much should we be saving for retirement and by when?

Fidelity Investments just unveiled a new system of age-benchmarks, telling people how much they should have saved and by when.

By age 25, people should have just started saving 6 percent of their salary in a company 401k, according to the company. That percentage should increase 1 percent every year, until it gets to 12 percent.

Using that standard, a consistent investor should have one-year salary, by age 35.

By age 40, they should have two times. By age 45, three times their salary. By age 50, you should have four times; by 55 it should be five times. The ultimate goal is to have eight times your salary by age 67,

According to press release from James M. MacDonald the president of Workplace Investing for Fidelity Investments, these guidelines are just that – guidelines.

“We believe these savings targets offer a rule of thumb to help employees get engaged in retirement planning by making it simpler and more achievable, but we recognize many individuals may need more than eight times their ending salary in retirement based on their lifestyle,” MacDonald said.

Nicole Middendorf, a financial advisor who owns Prosperwell Financial, said she likes the concept’s simplicity. But one flaw is that some people will need more than eight times their last salary to live during retirement.

“Most people are not on track… most are not saving enough money towards retirement,” Middendorf said. “If you’re used to spending 30-40-50-60 a year, where’s that money going to come from later on?” she asked.

On Facebook, Kari wrote, “Saving would be a luxury…I’m barely scraping by as it is.”

And Brian added, “Probably like most Americans, I’ve watched my savings go in reverse.”

Middendorf said the concept of having benchmarks is helpful, so people know they’re on track. But she said having a year’s salary saved for retirement at 35 is a bit unrealistic, because most people don’t really start saving until they’re in their 40s.

Her advice: “Whenever you get a raise – increase your contribution. Because if you’re used to living off of $50,000, live off of $50,000.”

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