Wrong Side of the Tracks

How to avoid derailing your retirement

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RF

Hopefully your retirement account is growing as we speak and your emergency fund is well on its way to the goal of at least six months of net income. After all, you never know what could happen!

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No, really. We don’t say that as an empty platitude—there’s proof. CNN Money reports the findings of a new survey from Ameriprise Financial, which consulted people in their 50s, 60s and 70s with at least $100,000 in savings and investments.

The survey found that 90% of those surveyed took at least one unexpected hit to their retirement savings … for an average loss of $117,000. And nearly 40% reported five or more hits, bringing their average total loss up to $144,000.

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The top three culprits to blame for these retirement derailments: stock market declines, low interest rates (which slow the growth of retirement investments) and loss of home equity. In lesser numbers, people surveyed also pointed to job loss, helping family members, inheriting less than expected, expensive home repairs and medical bills as savings setbacks.

RELATED: Retiring in the U.S.A.: How Do Your Savings Stack Up?

Obviously, there’s no way to prepare for every possibility, but the top takeaway from the survey is this: More than half of people surveyed wish they had started saving sooner.

Tags: retirement

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