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Reassessing your savings in the New Year

January 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The New Year is a good time to reassess your finances, especially if you're worried you're not saving enough to retire comfortably.To help you secure your financial future, there are some important fundamentals many people tend to ignore.

That's the problem: Many are looking for a quick fix for our finances, and it's not that easy.

Here are some of the ways to help you not run out of money when you finally retire.

Musicians Mike Risko and his wife Miriam own their own music store and are nowhere near retirement, but they've been saving for years and have chosen to live modestly.

"We didn't throw a big extravagant wedding," said Miriam.

"We drive nice cars but we don't have to buy the most expensive car," said Mike.

Consumer Reports has come up with "15 Ways Not to Run Out of Money" after surveying its readers who are retired or close to it.

"Retirees who said they were highly satisfied in retirement listed living modestly as one of their best steps toward retirement. And of course, saving a lot was also on their list," said Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports.

Increasingly workers can't count on employer-funded pensions the way current retirees do. But you can start to fund your own retirement plan.

"If your employer offers a 401(k) or other similar retirement account at work, often your employer will match your contributions. That's like getting free money," said Stanger.

Another option for many people is to contribute to an individual retirement account (IRA). And if you think it's too late, Consumer Reports says it's not. Even if you're over 55, the best retirement strategies still make a difference: Maximize your 401(k) or IRA contributions.

Pay down debt, such as your mortgage.

And delay getting Social Security as long as possible for higher payouts.

Also, if you enjoy working, as the Riskos do, don't rule out continuing to work past age 65, even if just part-time. You'll likely enjoy staying active and connected.