Time to think about retirement savings: Stacks of coins lead up to a retirement savings jar with an alarm clock

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But only a third of workplaces offer retirement benefits with guaranteed income.

Pick one: a $500,000 lump sum at retirement or $2,700 a month for life.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans would pick the monthly payment, according to financial firm TIAA. But only 32 percent say their current retirement plans would provide them with monthly income when they retire. This means that as much as people want a lifetime of retirement, they won’t be getting it.

“A steady stream of income in retirement helps cover your expenses, no matter how long your retirement lasts,” says Ron Pressman, CEO of Institutional Financial Services at TIAA. “Lifetime income helps ensure Americans have the financial security they need in their retired years — it’s not a ‘nice-to-have,’ it’s an absolute necessity.”

It’s true: you need to survive retirement with money, even if you can’t always work. While a shift in retirement help and life expectancy has changed how Americans are seeing retirement, many of us are planning on just working until we die. But, um, what if we are very alive, but not capable of working?

Well if you ask Wells Fargo customers, growing your retirement through investing in the stock market is the way to go. Nearly two-thirds of Americans consider the U.S. stock market is a good place to invest for retirement. This is up 20 percentage points from this time last year.

We know the world is running out of retirement money, so it’s up to us individually to save as much as possible on our own. While it’s recommended to diversify your investments, maybe look into a few different options before putting all of your retirement savings in one place.

Wells Fargo says roughly one-in-four Americans aren’t contributing to a retirement account in any capacity, including an IRA or a work-matching 401(k) plan. Even if they claim to be solid savers, they don’t seem to be stashing money away for the possibility of retiring without working for their later years.

Investing in the stock market is helpful, depending on your risk. Some people, like me, are pretty conservative when it comes to stock market investing. I don’t really like the idea of losing money, so I’d rather stash away cash knowing it’ll earn even a little interest somewhere else. My husband, on the other hand, tasks bigger risks on the stock market, checking his investments a couple times a week. Having both outlooks is helpful to make sure your investment portfolio is well-rounded.

Although, if you don’t have anything at all and you can see retirement age coming up soon, you may want to take bigger risks on the stock market to see if you can earn more quickly. Keep in mind, though, that the stock market won’t make you rich right away. Regardless of your investing choice, make sure you’re thinking it all the way through before making your final decision.

Maybe you’re not too interested in saving money for retirement because you don’t have a lot (or any?) cash saved once your bills are paid. More than half of millennials are living paycheck-to-paycheck and many continue to run out of money every other month. If you’re out of money, of course there isn’t anything left over to put toward retirement. Although, millennial money habits aren’t necessarily something we should be modeling our own after.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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