Better Investing

Nearly half of the people closest to retirement age don’t feel ready financially, says a newly released survey.

Gen Xers, generally born in the late ’60s and ’70s, and baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, rank health and wealth as critical for their overall well-being, says the survey done on behalf of life insurance giant John Hancock.

“More than ever, Americans are at the crossroads of health and wealth and are looking for ways to improve both areas of their life,” said Michael Doughty, John Hancock president.

While 47 percent of respondents ranked “making sure you’re financially secure” as one of the most important aspects in life, 54 percent ranked “being healthy,” 55 percent named “being happy with where you are in life,” and 55 percent wanted to have “close relationships with family and friends.”

However, only 53 percent say they feel prepared for their financial futures, and only about 1 in 10 say they feel “very prepared.”

Nearly all said they could live healthier lives.

The survey, rolled out in tandem with marketing of a new insurance product, John Hancock Vitality, revealed that respondents did feel they had made positive changes in the past year:

  • 58 percent spent more quality time with friends and family.
  • 58 percent ate healthier.
  • 47 percent reduced monthly bills.
  • 44 percent paid off debt.
  • 30 percent made a budget.

For those feeling behind on retirement savings, these steps can ease the way to saving more:

  • Those 50 and older generally are eligible for $6,000 in catch-up payments in 401(k) and IRAs, beyond the regular $18,000 limit.
  • If your employer is one of the 40 percent offering a fixed match of 50 cents per $1 up to a specified percentage of pay, usually 6 percent, make sure you’re maximizing your contribution to get the maximum match in virtually free money.
  • Make sure your investments aren’t eaten up by administration fees.
  • Check your expenses to see if you could close your retirement gap by cutting back on eating out or drinking specialty lattes to save just $25 a week that you could put toward retirement.

These steps and others may help you not only feel better about retirement planning, but have an easier time in retirement once you get there.

Are you doing what you need to do for a satisfying retirement? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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