5 Tips to Cut a Retirement Shortfall

By Dave Carpenter, AP Personal Finance Writer

As Theodore Roosevelt once said: "Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young." But it's not too late for baby boomers who put off retirement planning and haven't saved enough. Here are five key steps:


Educate yourself about your complete financial picture and your options. You don't have to obsess about reaching The Number — the amount a financial adviser or retirement calculator says you'll need to retire comfortably. But having an idea of your expected monthly income and expenses in retirement is essential. Many financial sites offer retirement calculators; AARP has a newly revamped planning calculator.


Set savings goals you can reach, step by step. If you're still working, allocate any money from raises to retirement savings. Increase your 401(k) contribution by 1 percent increments every few months so you adjust better to having less to spend.


Working longer doesn't mean you have to save every extra penny. A key benefit of this approach is that it allows your existing savings additional time to grow, so you may be able to spend more on leisure during those years while you're still healthy and active.