6 Big Excuses Retirement Savers Need to Stop Telling Themselves

There are many excuses for not saving for retirement, but under closer analysis, most of them are not any good.
Financial Expert
Managing Editor

Like most people, you probably haven’t saved enough for retirement. That’s OK though, as long as you have a good excuse.

Or is it? There are many excuses for not saving for retirement, but under closer analysis, most of them are not any good.

Here are six common excuses people make about retirement:

1. I don’t make enough money

Making ends meet is tough for many Americans these days, so if you are just barely covering the bare necessities from paycheck to paycheck, you can give yourself a pass – but only until your next pay increase. You probably shouldn’t miss money you didn’t have before, so with every raise in pay, you should be able to ramp up your retirement saving.

2. I’m still paying off my student loans

Now that you’ve graduated, it is time to learn one of the first rules about household finances: you need to be able to multi-task and handle more than one responsibility at once. Paying off debt and saving for the future are not mutually exclusive. Every time you pay off a debt, you should use the money that no longer has to go towards those payments to increase your savings.

3. It’s too early for me to be thinking about retirement

You very well could live 30 years in retirement, so don’t you think you need at least 30 years to save up for it? If you don’t start saving for retirement by your mid-30s, you will be falling badly behind.

4. It’s not worth it when interest rates are this low

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the average interest rate on savings accounts is just 0.06 percent. That hardly seems like an incentive to save, but if you do the retirement savings math, low interest rates mean you should save more, not less. The less your money can be expected to grow, the more retirement savings depends primarily on how much you set aside.

5. My employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan

Naturally, employees whose company offers a 401(k) or similar plan have a leg up, but if your employer doesn’t offer this benefit, that’s no excuse for neglecting retirement saving. You could still be deferring taxes by saving for retirement in an individual retirement account, or IRA, for up to $5,500 this year ($6,500 if you are aged 50 or over).

6. I don’t want to fight with my spouse over money

If a shortage of money is causing tension now, it will only be worse if your lifestyle has to plummet due to a lack of funds when you retire. It can be stressful on a relationship when money is tight, but this isn’t splurging on a spa weekend or a new TV for the man cave. If you communicate about the topic calmly and sensibly, both spouses should be able to get behind making a few sacrifices to save for retirement.

As a starting point, find out how much money you need by using a retirement savings calculator. When you see the size of the job ahead of you, it may change your thinking from feeling you can’t afford to save money now to realizing you can’t afford not to.

In the long run, you won’t find having an excuse so satisfying if you run out of money in retirement. You may live to eat your words, but you won’t find them very filling.

Tell us: Have you found yourself making these excuses before?

More from MoneyRates.com:

Small salary? Here’s how to save for retirement

How to plan for retirement when unsure about your future life expectancy

3 reasons why automatic 401(k) enrollment may not be enough for retirement saving

Richard Barrington has been a Senior Financial Analyst for MoneyRates. He has appeared on Fox Business News and NPR, and has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, CNBC and many other publications. Richard has over 30 years of experience in financial services. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the Association of Investment Management and Research (now the “CFA Institute”).