It’s no secret that Americans, on the whole, are behind on retirement savings. While it’s one thing to be in your 20s or 30s with no nest egg, by the time you reach your 40s it’s a bad situation.
Though the average American aged 44 to 49 has a little over $81,000 socked away for the future, according to the Economic Policy Institute, there are plenty of 40-somethings with no savings at all. If you’re one of them, here’s how to recover.
1. Don’t panic
Nerve-wracking as it may be to find yourself in your 40s without a dime set aside for your golden years, don’t flip out about it too much. The good news is that you still have a number of working years ahead of you to catch up, so rather than harp on what you haven’t saved, focus your energy on doing better going forward.
Create a budget if you don’t have one already so you can see where your money goes on a monthly basis. This can help you understand what it’ll take for you to fund your nest egg consistently. Then commit to saving a reasonable amount for the rest of your working years so that you’re able to make up for lost time.
Imagine you’re 47 with no savings and you want to retire in 20 years. If you manage to sock away $600 a month for the next two decades and your investments generate an average annual 7% return during that time, you’ll be sitting on close to $300,000. Make it $800 a month, and you’ll be looking at almost $400,000.
Granted, neither of these figures will make you rich as a senior, but they might provide just enough income for you to pay your bills and live a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, especially when you factor other income sources, like Social Security, into the mix.
2. Free up more cash for savings