Manage competing priorities

You have a lot of priorities that demand your attention, but focusing on your future should be at the top of that list.

The struggle to juggle

If saving more for retirement isn’t your highest priority, you’re not alone. Whether it’s saving for vacations, college tuition and home improvements or paying down debt, it can be hard to focus on retirement when your money and your mind are invested elsewhere.

What can you do?

Here are seven suggestions to make retirement a priority. Do one. Do them all. Whatever you do, do something!

1. Know your plan

Your employer’s retirement plan is a powerful tool. Make sure you understand your contribution limits, how much your employer might be contributing (“free money”), and how to make sure you get it. It’s a lot to keep track of, so make an appointment with your plan representative.

2. Make a bucket list

What do you want your retirement to look like? Maybe you want to travel. Or you want to buy a boat, an RV or a house on a lake. Or, perhaps you want to spend more time pursuing your hobbies. Write down a list of things you want to do in retirement. It can be motivation to save more right now!

3. Crunch some numbers

How much do you need to make that bucket list happen? Figure out how much you should save by the time you retire.

4. Set a goal

After you’ve run the numbers, you may have a specific goal in mind. Research shows that people who set savings goals for the year are likely to contribute more to their retirement plans.1

5. Examine the budget

How firm is your household budget? You might be surprised how things add up. Use this calculator to see how small changes may help your retirement savings grow. 

Take a few minutes to review your monthly expenses, from mortgage and car payments to your morning coffee. Cutting a little bit here and there may help you find extra money to save. Here are some tips to get started.

6. Talk it out

Having a one-on-one conversation with a financial professional can help you take positive actions toward retirement savings. Set up a meeting with your plan representative or a financial advisor.

7. Go for two!

Take a small step right now. Increase your contributions by just 2%. It’s a small enough number that it won’t have a huge impact on your budget. But it’s significant enough that it may make a good difference in your savings.

In a perfect world, we’d all make retirement saving a top priority year-round. But let’s be realistic -- we all have lots of other priorities. Start with just a few small actions today. You can do it!

1 Lincoln Retirement Power® Participant Study, 2017.