When faced with a substantial challenge we sometimes don’t even bother to try.  Even if it would be beneficial to complete only part of the goal, the total goal is so overwhelming that we do not even feel compelled to begin.  We are frozen into inaction.  For some, the retirement savings goal is so far out of reach it is not worth the effort.  As shown in a recent poll in the UK, nearly one-quarter of adults aged 50 to 64 are not bothering to save for retirement[1].  They don’t feel able to save enough to meet their financial needs in retirement and they have given up hope of experiencing a financially stable retirement.  Anecdotally, this is happening in Canada too.

Financial inaction can lead not only to poor financial outcomes, but also to health risks.  When lifestyles decrease there is likely to be increased stress on families and supporting services including social and health, will be in increasing demand.  Along with inertia on retirement savings is an accompanied decrease in any interest in financial literacy.  As more financial options become available they are ignored[2] and so the downward financial spiral continues.  In accepting their financial fate they completely ‘tuned-out’ the financial industry and possible options to get their finances back on track again.

There’s no doubt that staying committed to our personal financial stability can be challenging, especially when facing daunting retirement goals[3].  There’s no magic in getting started and staying committed.   Here’s a mini summary of ideas to consider when getting back on track:

  1. Pick an amount and set up a monthly automatic direct deposit into your retirement savings account http://www.moneysense.ca/save/pay-yourself-first.
  2. Rather than create an elaborate financial plan at the outset, start saving right away.  Consider something simple such as the Canadian Couch Potato approach:  http://canadiancouchpotato.com/.  In the long run you will likely need a financial plan but at least get the savings momentum started.
  3. Look for an online investing option that has a single low fee instead of individual transaction fees and avoiding these costs biting into your nest egg.  This article is a bit dated but worth reading http://www.moneysense.ca/invest/canadian-online-brokerages.
  4. Revisit your savings approach regularly.   Eventually consider engaging an advisor, such as a fee-only advisor http://www.moneysense.ca/invest/find-the-perfect-financial-planner.

Don’t let those financial surveys with the six and seven figure retirement savings goals and shortfalls turn you off setting your own financial future in motion.

*photo by Wikilmages via Pixabay