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Solution: Save on autopilot
Things are easier to do if you don't have to actually do them. That's why people use automatic bill pay for recurring bills. Think of retirement saving as a monthly bill.
People simply don't stop to do the things they know they should do, says Tim Murphy, research manager at Deloitte Consulting, and procrastination is why companies use auto enrollment to get their staffers into the retirement plan. You have to take action to opt out, so most people stay in the plan, saving for retirement relatively pain-free.
If you save through a 401(k) or 403(b) at work, check the website to access your account and change your savings rate. Some workplace plans have an automatic increase in the plan that boosts your contribution rate at set intervals, so that's one less thing off your to-do list.
No 401(k) plan? Nearly any major provider of an IRA will set up automatic deposits for you.
If you are setting up an IRA, start with 3% of your salary, just as employers start their workers in the 401(k) plan. Be careful, though. Most financial experts agree that 3% is not enough to get you to a secure retirement. Increasingly gradually makes it less obvious that you are saving more.
Use a savings calculator to see the impact of saving 3% of your salary. You might be surprised.