Financial planner: Don’t give up on retirement dreams if you haven’t saved enough

LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) – You’ve worked hard for decades. Now, you’re ready to retire… or are you?

“Retirement will ultimately be the largest and most expensive goal that any of us will ever face in our lives,” said Donald Sowa, certified financial planner.

Sowa said many people in their 50’s and 60’s aren’t financially ready for retirement.

“The shocking data is how many of them have either little or nothing put away for retirement,” Sowa said. “By not putting something away for retirement, you gave up the most important element for successful investing for retirement, and that is time.”

According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the median retirement savings for families 50 to 55 years old is $8,000. For families 56 to 61 years old, the median retirement savings is $17,000.

“You don’t have to give up if you suddenly discover you’re in your 60’s or your 50’s and you haven’t got a million dollars put away,” Sowa added.

But you will have to be disciplined about how much you save and how much you spend, starting today.

“When they get to their 50’s, the things we talk about are – are you willing to give up on some of your perceptions of what retirement can look like? Are you willing to work maybe a couple of years longer because you’re now at your highest income potential?”

Sowa said soon-to-be retirees should also consider making catch-up contributions to a 401(k) or IRA.