Way Behind on Your Retirement Savings? This Episode of Money Confidential Is for You

Way Behind on Your Retirement Savings? This Episode of Money Confidential Is for You

This week’s episode of Money Confidential tackles this big financial problem. High Angle View Of Sunglasses With Hat And Camera On Yellow Background Saving for retirement is one of those things that money experts recommend over and over again. But what happens if life gets in the way? That’s the reality for Louise (not her real name), a 64-year-old marketing manager who called in for this week’s Money Confidential podcast. She’s wondering how she can turn her financial future around, with very little saved for retirement and a recent layoff.

Louise has accomplished some financial goals, such as paying for her kids’ college education and another child’s expensive treatments for addiction. But her husband had to close his business, and Louise’s career has faced setbacks due to layoffs—the most recent one a few months back. A bankruptcy and some bad investments, chosen by a money manager, also hindered their progress. “We are not lavish—we had very normal cars and not big jewelry, or we don’t eat out a lot,” Louise says. “I wish somebody could sit next to me at work and tell me what I’m doing wrong.” You cannot make up for a devastating loss in income. It is small steps, little chunks. You can’t work 12 jobs to make up. It’s not going to happen. You keep working, and then hopefully even if you can just hold out til 70 so you get that maximum Social Security benefit, you’ll make it. Jill Schlesinger, CBS news Business analyst and host of the Jill on Money and Eye on Money podcasts. Host Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez turned to Jill Schlesinger, CFP, a business analyst for CBS News, for advice. Schlesinger has heard these stories before: “A baby boomer, who’s maybe taken on their kids’ debt and gotten their kids through college, but has come up short and is 60, 63 years old and says, I guess I’ll just have to work forever,” she says. “And my fear is always, well, what if you can’t?”

Saving early and often gives you options earlier in your career—if you want to start a business or need to leave a toxic workplace—and later on, if you do find yourself unemployed at 64. “The only reason for you to save early in your life is to give you options and options feel good,” Schlesinger says.

Schlesinger recommends taking three big steps now to secure your financial future. First, establish an emergency reserve fund with six to 12 months of living expenses now—and closer to two years’ worth of expenses if you’re getting ready to retire. Second, tackle any consumer debt, like credit cards, student loans, or car loans. And then, it’s on to saving for retirement—maxing it out to the best of your ability (even though she concedes that the annual maximum, $19,500, may be a tough goal for people to manage).

Schlesinger also thinks that the pandemic may have paved the way for longer, but more flexible careers for everyone. “We’ve just seen this sudden shift to remote work, which may be actually good news for a lot of workers,” she says. “I think that if you’re considering going back into the labor force, you might be more willing to do that if you say, ‘Hey, I don’t have to commute five days a week or I don’t have to be onsite every single minute, or I can create a hybrid environment that will give me a little more longevity.'”

And for Louise, that may be her best opportunity for a more secure retirement, and one that she relishes. “I love working,” she says. “When I retire I know that I’m going to volunteer because I cannot stand to just sit around the house. So as long as I’m going to work, I might as well get paid for it. I don’t want to play Mahjong and pickleball—that’s just not my thing.”

Listen to this week’s Money Confidential —”I’m 64 and I’ve barely saved for retirement. What should I do?”—for the full conversation to help you catch up on your retirement savings. Money Confidential is available on Apple podcasts , Amazon , Spotify , Player FM , Stitcher , or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Transcript

Evelyn: I only recently, within the last year, started contributing to my 401k for the first time. I was embarrassed that I waited as long as I did.

Christie: I am eligible to retire in about six years.I would love to be able to do that, but I know I have […]

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