New Year’s Resolutions for Retirement

We’re saving more than we did in 2008, but still not enough


Every year we make the same New Year’s resolution to save more for retirement. And, for once, we actually followed through. The average 401(k) now has a bigger balance than in December 2008, largely due to new contributions. The bad news: We still have less in our 401(k)s than we did in 2007 because of investment losses. We also need to better maximize retirement tax breaks, make an investment plan to gradually shift our portfolios to become more conservative as we age, and strategize ways to boost our Social Security checks.

[Check out these 10 Resolutions for Retirement Readiness in 2010.]

But the state of our 401(k) isn’t the only factor hurting our retirement security. Few of us know how we will spend our days after we retire. Sure, we’ll catch up on errands and sleep the first few weeks. But, then what? “For a lot of us our work has been our life for a long time. It’s where our friends are and our social life may be connected and when we retire we move out and away from that,” Deanna Sharpe, an associate professor of personal financial planning at the University of Missouri, told me during a recent interview. “The people who have the best transition have something to go to rather than something to leave.”

[See What Do Retirees Do All Day?]

Tell us, what do you plan to do after you retire?