April 30, 2012

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Save for Retirement

Retirement researchers are examining what causes us to save for the future. By Emily Brandon
April 30, 2012 (quoted from the article). Click on this link for more details: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2012/04/30/8-ways-to-motivate-yourself-to-save-for-retirement

Motivating yourself to save for a retirement that's decades in the future can be a daunting challenge. Behavioral researchers are testing exactly what triggers cause people to sign up for retirement accounts and increase their contributions. It turns out that a variety of experiences, including spending time with your grandparents, worrying about problems you could face in old age, and even picturing what you will look like in retirement could persuade you to boost your retirement account contributions. Here's what researchers say motivates us to save for retirement:
1.      Break it down into steps. Instead of focusing on the final account balance figure out how much you need to save each week or month.
2.      Project your retirement income. Consider calculating the annual income your current nest egg is likely to produce in retirement. "People often get intimated and overwhelmed by a huge number. When they see how much it actually translates into, they are maybe more motivated to make decisions."
3.      Don't set your goal too low. "People who want to save more should focus on ambitious targets," says Emily Haisley, a behavioral finance specialist.
4.      Consider the negative consequences of failing to save. "Focusing on some of the things that will happen if you don't reach that goal can be an effective tool in encouraging workers to save. Failing to save can lead to a retirement that is not as enjoyable."
5.      Set up automatic contributions. One of the simplest strategies to save more for retirement is to take the decision out of your own hands.
6.      Picture yourself in old age. When researchers showed people aged photographs of themselves, it made them more likely to want to save for retirement.
7.      Spend time with your grandparents. Spending time with older people can encourage planning for your own future.
8.      Think about your future self. People who feel more connected to their future self may be more likely to save for retirement, according to recent research. "Write a letter to your future self," says Hershfield. "That will at least help you start thinking about your future self as a realistic person who is going to be the recipient of the decisions that you make today with regard to finances."

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