Never run out of money: Consumer Reports help for retirees

$1,100 in Christmas Money Flies Away

January 17, 2011 9:31:23 AM PST
If you're worried you haven't saved enough to retire comfortably, you're are not alone. A Consumer Reports' survey finds only 21 percent of those older than 55 and near retirement are very satisfied with their plans. Consumer Reports has important information you need to know to secure your financial future.

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 Risko.

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

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 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.

    Once you do retire, Consumer Reports advises following the four percent rule -- withdrawing about four percent of your savings annually has been shown to preserve your capital for at least 30 years even in tough economic times. You can get details on this and more advice on preparing for retirement on our website.

    All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2011. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit