Retirement planning is one of those "important" but not "urgent" endeavors that gets put on the back burner. Like many tasks, the earlier you start, the easier it is to achieve.
There are three main sources of available income during retirement years:
Company or Government Pensions
Personal savings (IRAs 401(k)s, etc.)
Unfortunately, many older workers who did not save adequately for their retirement have only Option 1 available to them when they retire or can no longer work. The average social security check in January 2019 was approximately $1,400 per month or $19,600 per year.
The percentage of American workers covered by pensions continues to fall as only governments and the largest companies provide them.
This leaves personal savings as the primary vehicle for retirement planning for the typical American. Accumulating enough savings requires planning, belt-tightening, and discipline.
Success is more likely if the following three rules are followed:
Start early and allow stock market returns to work for you—long term.
Save beyond what your 401(k) allows - in many cases, maxing out your 401(k) may not be enough.
Invest wisely - utilize asset allocation and rebalancing. If you don't know how, get help.