Guidelines to help you save for retirement

ST. LOUIS, Mo. _This is scary and it has nothing to do with Halloween. One-third of Americans have no retirement savings. Even those who have access to an employer retirement savings plan aren`t saving like they should.

In fact, one in five don`t save enough to get the full match from their employer.

Ken Heise, from the Heise Advisory Group, joined us on FOX 2 News in the Morning with some guidelines designed to help you save.

Heise says there are lots of reasons why people are failing to save. The weight of student debt is one of the biggest reasons. Americans don`t feel like they have extra money to save. Another reason is that the younger generation of workers like to play it safe when it comes to investing because of the Great Recession, along with an unsteady market.

Guidelines by Fidelity are helpful because they provide targets for workers to hit as they get older and closer to retirement. The first milestone is when you hit age 30, you should have your annual salary saved in retirement account, like a 401(k).

By age 35, you should have double your annual salary saved. The milestones keep building on each other. You should have eight times your salary by age 60. Then your ultimate goal is ten times your annual salary by age 67.

It may seem daunting, says Heise but what`s important to remember is to start early.

TAKE FREE MONEY
Get started in your company`s 401(k) plan and save 10-15% of your salary into a 401(k) or IRA. If that`s not possible, make sure you are at least putting in enough to get the company match. If you don`t, it`s like throwing away free money.

BUILD UP SAVINGS
Once you start saving, work your way up to that 15% by increasing your savings by 1% every year. Some retirement savings plans will allow you to automate increased contributions, so you don`t even have to think about it. Another great idea is to increase your contributions with every raise you get. This way, you start saving the money before you get used to it and start spending it.

CUT BACK
Focus on one way to cut back and start saving! It's easier to go out to lunch but the money you save by bringing a lunch from home can really add up!

If you pack your lunch three times a week and invest your savings, you can save more than $9,000 in seven years, if you average a 5% return. If you`re already great at packing your lunch, there are other ways to save by cutting back on things like going out for coffee, drinks and movies.

You have time to save even if you're close to retirement and haven't met those savings goals.

Play Catch Up
Retirement accounts are designed to help older workers by allowing additional catchup contributions for workers age 50 and older. Younger workers are capped at saving $18,000 per year in their 401(k) and $5,500 in their IRAs for 2017.

However, older workers can save an additional $6,000 in a 401(k) and $1,000 in an IRA. If you`re serious about retiring, maxing out those savings is the way to go.

Reduce Fees
If you`re trying to save as much as you can for retirement, you can`t afford to spend more than you have to on fees. The average 401(k) fee is about 1%. The fees are a small percentage taken off the top of the account balance each year. 1% may not sound like a lot, but the typical American worker will spend more than $138,000 in 401(k) fees over his or her lifetime.

You want to make sure to research the fees you`re paying and look for options that have smaller fees.

Wipe Out Debt
While it`s crucial to be saving, now is the time to focus on debt and wipe it out. Once you are in retirement, you will be on a fixed income.

Any debt you have will be a huge drain on your budget. You want to prioritize your high-interest rate debt, especially credit cards. However, your mortgage and car loans may have a lower interest rate.

It`s ideal to pay them off, too, if you can before you retire.

Retirement Savings Goals
Age 30 - 1x Annual Salary
Age 35 - 2x Annual Salary
Age 60 - 8x Annual Salary
Age 67 - 10x Annual Salary

You can see the complete set of guidelines by visiting heiseadvisorygroup.com.