This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Cramer on Retirement: Catching Up

(Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of columns on retirement by Jim Cramer, founder of TheStreet , and Wally Konrad, former senior editor for Smart Money magazine. To read the first installment, click here. The second article is here, the third here and the fourth here.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- About 44% of Americans ages 38 to 65 haven't saved enough for retirement, according to the most recent survey from the Employment Benefits Research Institute.

Numbers aside, most people feel they could be and should be saving more. Even diligent savers may feel behind when they open recent account statements. The roller-coaster ride in the market in the past months has meant plenty of red ink for lots of employees.

And if you're someone who started saving late or had to ransack your retirement accounts because of unemployment or foreclosure concerns, catching up is top priority right now.

So how do you make up for losses and lost time?

Save more and spend less.

I know that sounds obvious and even slightly obnoxious, but bear with me. There are lots of sophisticated strategies that can help you do both of those things and feel more confident about your nest egg. Consider the following:


Don't Throw Your Money Away on Fees

This is a painless way to give your retirement accounts a boost. The average American household pays nearly $155,000 in 401(k) fees over the course of a lifetime, according to a recent report from Demos, a nonpartisan public policy group. Wouldn't you rather have that money in your account?

The mutual fund industry disputes these numbers, saying the amount paid in fees is actually much lower. Whoever is right, the fact remains that most investors are a bit clueless about fees. A recent survey from AARP revealed that 62% of 401(k) investors didn't know how much they were paying in fees, and 71% didn't know they were paying any fees at all!

That may change now that new disclosure regulations from the Department of Labor went into effect July 1. The new rules require financial companies to disclose fees and administrative costs to employers. In turn, employers are required to pass that information on to workers no later than August 30. (Disclosures must be made once a year after that date.)

With more transparency, the thinking goes, employers, especially small firms, will be able to compare costs of competing plans more easily and employees will get a better sense of exactly what they are paying in fees.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,399.67 +19.26 0.12%
S&P 500 1,904.01 +17.25 0.91%
NASDAQ 4,316.0740 +57.6360 1.35%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs