From AARP Oregon


We frequently get asked: How much do you need to retire? (Find out at There are all sorts of things people suggest — and it usually depends on getting started early. But what if you are 50-plus and you are behind in your retirement savings — like a good portion of boomers? What then?

Well, you are not alone. Half of all people over 55 have saved less than $50,000. Another survey shows almost half of all Americans aren’t contributing to a retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k).

The National Retirement Risk Survey reported in late 2012 that more than half of today’s households will not have enough retirement income to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, even if they work to age 65.

So what are some ideas to help you get from where you are, to where you want to be? One great source, is AARP columnist Jeff Yeager, the self-proclaimed Ultimate Cheapskate.

Here are some tips from Jeff to help you save for retirement:

n Get the facts! Find out where you are in terms of planning for retirement. It can be a great motivator to pack a lunch for work. Use the free AARP calculator to get started:

n Join the Portland craze and commute by bike. This is estimated to save $4,000 a year in transportation costs — and all of that savings should go right into your IRA or 401(K).

n Repurpose (recycle) everyday household items, from fabric softener sheets (use them to freshen up the vacuum cleaner bag) to old nylons (for example, put soap slivers or samples into panty hose and use them in the shower).

n Reduce the number of times you eat out each week. And make coffee at home. Every penny counts.

n If you’re having trouble saving money, consider working a little longer. In Oregon about 7 percent of the workforce is 65 or older. You can keep saving and postpone taking Social Security until full retirement age, which is 66 or older.

To get more ideas on saving money and retirement, check out Yeager’s book, “How to Retire the Cheapskate Way.” And we do mean check it out — at the library.