Saving for retirement can be a slog, yet some people have a better time of it than others.
Planning ahead helps a lot. The best retirement savers are more than four times as likely to have given "a great deal" of thought about their retirement age, their lifestyle during their golden years, their future health-care costs and their financial goals than the worst savers, according to a new survey by Voya Financial, which scored more than 1,000 full-time workers on how prepared they were for retirement.
Overall, Voya found that Americans had middling scores for retirement readiness, but the best savers shared some common financial traits.The top scorers did more than think about retirement, they took action. Here are seven habits they had that you can use to boost your retirement savings:
Create a budget. Seems obvious, but 65 percent of the highest scoring workers had a budget compared with 19 percent of the lowest-scoring savers. "This attention to detail here allows for a more predictable glide path through the retirement years," said George Clough, vice president of wealth management strategies at People's United Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Max out your workplace retirement plans. The highest-scoring workers were twice as likely to contribute the maximum amount to their workplace retirement plan than lowest-scoring workers. The top savers were also more likely to at least contribute enough to their retirement plans to receive their employer's matching contribution. It's free money.
Calculate how much income you will need to replace in retirement. "It helps people to figure out how their savings will translate into future monthly retirement income," said James Nichols, head of retirement income and advice strategy for retirement solutions at Voya Financial. The company offers a free calculator that estimates what a person's monthly income will be in retirement.