According to a new study, healthy financial habits for retired “super savers” appear to go far beyond padding their nest eggs.
According to Principal’s 2022 Super Saver Survey, the majority of these employees, whose 401(k) contributions are at least 15% of their wage or 90% or more of the maximum permitted, also make on-time bill payments (87%) and don’t overdraw their bank accounts (74%).
The research was based on a recent poll of 1,120 people aged 18 to 57 with incomes ranging from less than $35,000 to more than $500,000. It was released amid rampant inflation, rising interest rates, and some speculation of an economic recession. Everyone who responded satisfies Principal’s criteria for a stellar saver.
Although the thought of becoming a super saver might seem intimidating, experts believe that modest adjustments to habits and lifestyle can significantly increase contributions made by employees.
In Aiken, South Carolina, at Wilson David Investment Advisors, Kathryn Hauer, a certified financial planner, remarked, “I tell people that good money habits aren’t too far from good eating habits.”
“You stay the slimmest when you think about every morsel of food you put in your mouth, and you build the most wealth by scrutinizing every penny you part with,” Hauer said.
Super savers drive outdated autos and don’t worry about the market
The survey’s subject was questioned by the principal what “sacrifices” they had made to fund their retirement. For instance, 49% of respondents say they drive an older automobile, 40% say they don’t travel as much as they’d like, and 39% say they have a modest home.
They have also made efforts to change their perspective on money. More than half (56%) and many (69%) also say they don’t worry about “keeping up with the Joneses” or worrying about money.
Super savers haven’t been deterred by stock market volatility either—nearly three-quarters of them view the current market climate as a buying opportunity, one in which they may purchase shares at a bargain.
This perspective is offered while the major indices are all down by double digits for the year. The S&P 500 was down 17.2% as of Wednesday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 14.4%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was down 25%.
Small behavioral adjustments can increase savings
Others may only need to adjust their spending to free up more money for long-term savings, whilst some households may have little to no budgetary room to save more for retirement.
According to Hauer, when people are experiencing “an intense emotional moment,” they tend to spend more money, which can lead to decisions that might not otherwise be made.
“It could be at a boutique shopping for the perfect prom dress for your daughter or at the car dealer when you get swept up by exciting extra features on [a car],” Hauer said.
If your present budget makes it difficult for you to increase your retirement savings on a regular basis, try setting aside the odd extra funds that you receive, such as gifts for birthdays or a portion of your tax refund.
“Drop surprise cash into a retirement account,” Hauer advised.
Employees may contribute up to $20,500 in their 401(k)s in 2022, with an additional $6,500 in so-called catch-up contributions (for a total of $27,000) available for those 50 and older. The contribution cap for individual retirement accounts in 2022 is $6,000 (with an additional $1,000 as a catch-up sum).
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