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Why I’m Not Saving for Retirement


Why I'm Not Saving for Retirement | Get started: Save for Retirement | You need to read this! We haven’t always saved part of our income for retirement. As someone who blogs a lot about personal finance, this is a pretty rough confession to make.

We have done the best we could here and there, but let’s face it, if it wasn’t convenient, it didn’t always happen.

I already regret not saving for retirement all the time because I know we would be so much better off by now if we had been saving consistently.

I know people in their 50s who haven’t ever saved anything for retirement and there are a lot of reasons for this.

So let’s look at the excuses often used (by myself sometimes too) for not saving for retirement.

Why I’m Not Saving for Retirement

  • I don’t make enough money
  • My company doesn’t offer a 401K
  • My company doesn’t offer a 401K match so it’s not worth it
  • I don’t know how
  • Retirement is decades away
  • I’m saving for a house/car/vacation…

Here’s the deal:

“Average Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 have accrued about $104,000 in retirement savings. Sound like a lot? Not when you realize that sum would translate into a $310 monthly payment if your money were invested in a lifetime annuity.” (source)

And a few more facts:

  • 45% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement, including 40% of Baby Boomers.
  • 38% don’t actively save for retirement at all.
  • 20% of Americans tap into their 401(k) assets early, either through a loan or withdrawal.
  • 80% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 believe they will not have enough saved for retirement. (source)

Ok, but what about social security?

Well, social security was never supposed to be your sole income in retirement. The average social security benefit is $1,294 a month (source), and who knows what the situation will be in 20-40 years.

I know this is some pretty heavy stuff, but retirement savings isn’t just for people with high incomes and fancy wear-a-suit-everyday jobs. We should all be on top of our retirement savings, just like we are all trying to be on top of our monthly budgets. 

Related Posts:

Our Actual Budget: How We Live On $1500 Per Month

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13 Ways to NOT Spend Money

Delayed Gratification = Success

I write a lot about budgeting and saving money. To do those things successfully, we need to practice delayed gratification.

We make sacrifices to stick to our budgets so that we can have better things later, like an emergency fund, a paid-for car, or an awesome vacation.

Once you’ve experienced the joy of delayed gratification, saving up for something big and then finally getting it, you know it’s worth it.

We saved for years to get our emergency fund to where we wanted it. Our emergency fund isn’t particularly “fun”, but the peace of mind that it gives me has made every sacrifice worth it.

Saving for retirement seems like the “ultimate” delayed gratification. Seriously, it’s decades away. It’s so hard for me to see the joy and peace of mind I will have when we can retire well because it feels like a lifetime away. Who knows what will happen in my life in the next few decades? But I know that it will be worth it because I know that the sacrifices I’ve made so far to achieve financial security have been worth it.

Automate It, Yo

At one of Austin’s jobs we participated in a 401K. We saved up quite a bit of money over a short period of time because we hardly noticed it was happening. When the money got taken from our check we never had to make the decision to save (except for when we first signed up), it just happened.

It’s definitely harder to save for retirement when you don’t have an employer offering you a 401K or the incentive of matching funds, but it can still happen automatically.

If you don’t have a 401K, it’s important to take your retirement saving into your own hand and make it happen!

We’ve been automatically having money taken out of our bank account each month and placed in an IRA. Once we had the automatic deposit set up, it just became a regular part of our budget, which is absolutely how I recommend you start saving.

We are using Betterment for our investing and I have to say, they really making things as easy as possible for you.

There are many places that offer investing services, and my #1 wish is that you get started somewhere. If you’re looking for a place to invest, I think Betterment is worth looking at.

  • Betterment lets you make automatic deposits so you don’t have to think about it or do anything each month.
  • They help you figure out how much you should be saving based on your goals.
  • They make rolling over a 401K or IRA super easy.
  • Betterment has very low fees. We got hit with tons of fees all the time at the last place we had our investments. It made it so almost any money we made in interest was eaten up in fees.
  • They make suggestions on where to invest your money based on your goals and retirement timeline.
  • Your portfolio gets rebalanced automatically and for free.

I am really impressed with Betterment and how simple they make things (because you know I love simple!).

I’m trying to think about saving for retirement as a non-negotiable part of our budget. We can’t afford to not think about our future.

Even if we can’t afford to invest a ton, every little bit helps, right?

We’re investing $100/month right now. There have definitely been times when we couldn’t afford that, but I wish we had set aside $10 or $20. Every little bit adds up and I think the habit of investing and saving can be important even if it’s not much.

Click here if you want more information about Betterment.

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⇒ Do you think about your retirement savings? Do you have your savings set up to happen automatically?


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Erin | A Welder's Wife

Monday 21st of November 2016

I have worked on building my retirement savings here and there, but definitely not as much as I want/need to put towards it. I do think it is very important to plan for retirement, because I would rather do as I please when I get to that age than have to work because I did not plan accordingly.


Monday 21st of November 2016

Absolutely! Planning and saving now will be worth it for sure.

Annabella I ZK Buzy Buzz

Monday 7th of November 2016

My husband would always remind me about delayed gratification and why we need to really stick with our budget (almost half of our income goes to emergency fund and retirement). If not for him, I would end up being a mindless spender. like I used to when I was single (didn't save even a penny). Great post! and that title is so intriguing :)


Monday 7th of November 2016

Thanks Annabella (beautiful name!)! I'm definitely the planner and saver between me and my husband, but retirement seems so far off that sometimes it's hard to make it a priority. Sounds like you guys are doing an amazing job!

Dyana @ A Debt Free Journey

Sunday 6th of November 2016

Although I am still young, just 25, I admit that I am embarrassed that I did not start saving for retirement earlier on. When I got my recent job a year ago I finally bit the bullet, stopped all excuses, and signed up for a 401K. It's really nice when your company matches your contributions and it is not as painful watching the money be deducted from my check as I had originally thought it would be!


Sunday 6th of November 2016

That's still a great start Dyana! It seems like such a big deal, but once it's set up, you really hardly notice it. Plus, you'll be so excited to watch it add up over time!

Ashley B.

Friday 4th of November 2016

Great post! I always try to stress delayed gratification to people. When you wait until you have a nice savings cushion and your finances are on track to start doing fun things like vacationing and buying nice things, you end up way better off.


Friday 4th of November 2016

Absolutely! It's hard at first if you're not used to waiting for what you want, but so worth it!

Sarah Jean Althouse

Friday 4th of November 2016

Whew your title tricked me at first but I loved this post! Saving for retirement - no matter how little - is so important. Plus, it can really compound over the years!


Friday 4th of November 2016

Yeah, have you ever seen one of those charts on how much the interest can compound if you start saving young? It's really cool!