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10 Steps to a Healthy Retirement

7. Establish a goal: Once you have established an account and are contributing to it on a monthly basis, make a goal of when you'd like to retire. You can use this calculator to help you figure out how much you will need to contribute to reach your goal.

8. Don't get discouraged: Your retirement goal probably is not possible with your current retirement contributions. Don't be discouraged. It will take time to build up the amount you contribute, and it won't happen overnight. Many people look at the numbers and give up, but this is the worst thing you can do. Doing nothing will not help the situation, and the fact that you have started to make contributions is the first step in reaching your retirement goal.

9. Start a small business: If you find that you are far behind in your retirement savings, consider starting a part-time home business. If successful, you will not only increase your income, but owning a small business can give you a number of quality tax breaks. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to open a Simplified Employee Pension plan (SEP). You should talk with your personal financial planner to see if this is a viable option for you to increase your retirement savings.

10. Brainstorm ways to increase contributions: There are a number of ways that you can either save or earn extra money to add to your retirement savings. Take the time to think of ways that you can increase the amount of your contributions to reach the retirement goal you have. While this will entail effort today, it will be well worth the reward when you reach retirement.

Here are a few places you can start that should save you enough money to begin your retirement fund:

The choice is yours. You can make another excuse for not starting your retirement savings or you can make the commitment to begin the process. The sooner you do, the healthier your retirement account will be -- and that ultimately will mean the earlier you are able to retire.

Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.

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