Scared you'll never retire? Here are 5 steps to ease your fears

Review a few simple strategies that can help improve your retirement prospects.

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If not having enough money to retire is one of your biggest financial fears, you're not alone. In a recent survey, Fidelity found that 1 in 3 people said it's what they worry about most when it comes to money.* Here are a few simple strategies and tips that may help you combat that fear and improve your retirement prospects:

1. Work a little longer

Each additional year you put in on the job is one less year you'll need to fund in retirement—and one more you'll have to save for retirement. If you can't imagine remaining in your current career one day longer than absolutely necessary, consider taking a step back but keeping one foot in the workforce via a part-time job or a lower-paying gig in a field that provides you a greater degree of personal satisfaction or at least a lower level of stress. It's not just your nest egg that'll benefit: in addition to being a boost to your finances, continuing to work at least through the early part of retirement is shown to keep people happier and healthier through their golden years.

2. Consider increasing the amount you're saving

One trick to boosting your savings without curtailing your lifestyle is to time the increase to any raise you are awarded at work: your rate of saving rises, but so does the total amount you're earning—win-win. And if you don't have access to a 401(k) plan at work, setting up automatic contributions to an IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP IRA can help you marshal much-needed resources for retirement.

3. Hold off on tapping Social Security

For each eligible year you forgo collecting Social Security through age 70, the size of your monthly payment goes up by 8%—a significant return on your patience. Use this calculator to see how much larger your Social Security income could be if you wait.

4. Focus on your debt

Whether it's due to a mortgage or unpaid credit card—or even a student loan taken out on behalf of their children or grandchildren—a growing number of Americans now enter retirement in debt and, consequently, can be more limited in their ability to live on a fixed income than they would otherwise be. And, so, paying off your debt now, before retirement, can make it considerably less stressful to live without a regular paycheck down the road. For maximum impact, prioritize reducing high-interest debt such as credit cards first, and then tackle other obligations that aren't racking up quite as much interest.

5. Look into moving

Reducing your housing costs—whether by downsizing into a smaller home in the same area or relocating to a new locale altogether with a lower cost of living—can take a huge burden off your budget. Even if retirement is many years off, it may make sense to start weighing your housing options now. After all, the sooner you make the move, the sooner you'll realize the savings.

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This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor.
* Fidelity Investments defined contribution plan participant survey, August 2017. The results are based on 450 responses.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Neither Fidelity Investments nor your employer can guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

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