Retirement is a glorious time every working individual looks forward to. It is a time of freedom, rest, and relaxation. It is also a time to do what you did not have time or resources to do when you were working. Many retirees feel younger in retirement than they ever did in their younger years.

This satisfaction is well deserved to those who have spent their lives working hard to take care of themselves and their families. However, retirement can be a stressful time if not prepared for properly. It is unfortunate when people have to push back retirement because they realized that they did not have enough saved, and their plan was not unfolding the way they had imagined. In order to prevent a stressful retirement, take action during your working years to cushion your retirement and get the most out of it.

One way to boost your retirement savings is to max out your 401K contributions. While it may hurt your pocket at first, it is the best thing you can do to save for retirement. Since most companies match employee contributions up to a certain percentage, you are essentially getting free money. Once your budget adjusts to the little extra lost each paycheck, you will be grateful that you did it.

Starting a mutual fund or an IRA can also enhance retirement savings. To save without realizing it, utilize the automatic deposit option where the money comes directly out of your checking account on a scheduled basis so that you do not even miss it. Another way to make this work is to take any additional money in raises, gifts, inheritances, etc. and throw it into the retirement fund. In this way, you will never have seen the money and found inefficient ways to spend it. Once you build up some investments, consult with an advisor to make sure you are getting the most out of them. Sometimes moving things around can really advance your returns.

All of these steps toward better savings come at the expense of immediate gratification. Some may feel cheated because they are not enjoying their raise because they cannot see the long term benefit at the moment. This is where discipline comes in. One must not feel that their happiness is in jeopardy because they are not buying extravagances that others are. Vacations and cars and other expensive indulgences are nice, of course, but being a responsible adult takes precedence. Look past the short term satisfaction and visualize your retirement as the new prime of your life. Travel and other niceties will come in time. If you hold out you will find that the comfort of an well planned retirement brings benefits that far outweigh a little discipline in the short term.

Gregg Hall
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