Get your retirement plan on track

Building a healthy retirement savings now can open up the possibility of spending your time and money the way you want to in the future. 

Article highlights

  • Outline your retirement goals
  • Determine when to claim Social Security
  • Examine your debt

How you plan for retirement not only affects your future, but that of the ones you're responsible for, too. When it comes to financial planning, it’s preferable to save heavily at an early age, but not everyone can manage it.

In fact, one-third of Americans haven’t saved for retirement at all, and only half of Gen Xers are making a concerted effort to build up savings.1 If you’re one of those who are playing catch up, you don’t have to shoulder that burden alone. With a little help, your money can still work hard for you.


Outline your retirement goals

When you imagine your retirement, how do you hope to live? Retirement planning is a process—it’s important to identify how much is being saved in comparison to how much will be needed in retirement. Outlining goals can help you assess the amount of income you’ll need to sustain your lifestyle.

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to retirement savings, financial experts say you should aim to replace 85 percent of your pre-retirement income, since some expenses related to work will disappear.

While it may feel challenging to establish a budget that prioritizes retirement savings and still accommodates your current living expenses, a financial advisor can help you develop a plan that helps you understand your retirement needs  and caters to the goals you’ve set for your future.

Consider maxing out your 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plans

Are you making the most of your employee-sponsored retirement plan? Maximizing contributions lets you take advantage of compound interest while time is still on your side. If you haven’t set up an account, a 401(k) is a good starting point for savings since you might be eligible for a company match.  


An employer-sponsored plan lets you contribute up to $18,500 per year


Determine when to claim Social Security

As guaranteed income that can’t be outlived, Social Security can play a starring role in your retirement. There are many strategies to claiming this benefit, and the timing of when they start can result in a large difference in income.

You’re first eligible for Social Security at age 62, but you’ll receive a penalty for each month you take it before your full retirement age (somewhere between 66 and 67, depending on when you were born). And, for each month you wait beyond your full retirement age, you get a bonus.3

While it may be tempting to tap into Social Security funds early, consider delaying it. You can greatly increase the amount of your benefit by waiting until age 70 when the incentives for delaying stop rising.

Examine your debt

Making ends meet when income drops in retirement will be much more manageable if you are debt free. Even a mortgage, which helps you build equity, can drain limited resources. To start, target the highest-interest debts first, while paying just the minimum on others. After you’ve closed out one high-interest debt, consider the next highest. Once you’ve paid off your debts, the money that you typically used to pay off debts can now be used to boost retirement savings.

Saving for retirement early is always the best plan, but sometimes it's not always possible to set aside what you want to. With an effective plan, you can catch up on savings and prepare to spend retirement the way you want to with loved ones. 

See how working with an advisor and Lincoln can help you achieve your goals.

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1Calhoun, Carol. "Maximum benefits and Contributions Limits for 2013 to 2018." November 27, 2017. 

2Campbell, Todd. “Is 70 too late to claim Social Security?” CNN Money. August 3, 2016.

This material is provided by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and, in New York, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, Syracuse, NY and their applicable affiliates (collectively referred to as "Lincoln"). This material is for use general use with the public. Lincoln does not provide investment advice, and this material is not intended to provide investment advice. Lincoln has financial interests that are served by the sale of Lincoln programs, products and services.