Retirement Savings Shortfall? 4 Ways to Face the Challenge of Catching Up

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Kristen Bergevin, a Gen X-er, has been an avid investor, diligently allocating her savings for her nest egg in a 401(k), Roth IRA and savings accounts.

The 41-year-old Los Angeles marketing executive is now making tweaks to her savings so she can bolster her retirement portfolio even more. She contributes the maximum amount to her 401(k), because her company provides a robust match, and she opened a flexible savings account a few years ago.

"I am just your run-of-the-mill Gen X-er that has set up the systems for saving, and I just follow that," she said. "I think we all think we could have or could be saving more."

While many Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers have fallen behind on saving enough money for retirement, it can be a challenge to make up the shortfall. Mitigating the gap means you have to be prepared to adjust your lifestyle. A realistic savings number is 10 times your current income, said MaryAnn Monforte, an accounting professor at Syracuse University.

"Adjust your lifestyle now -- leasing a BMW (BAMXY) 328i at $500 a month is not a necessity," she said. "A Ford (F) Focus at $149 will you get to the same destination using much less gas. The $350 savings can be put towards retirement, not to mention the reduced insurance."

Despite the fact that the retirement crisis has been writ large, with people living longer on inadequate savings, Americans are still struggling to save more money for their retirement.

The median retirement accounts of families in which the head of household is between the ages of 45 to 54 is $87,200. For those between 55 and 64 years of age, it is $103,200, according to the Federal Reserve.

Here are four ways to get your retirement savings on track.

1. Save More Today

Create a budget of what you need to live on today, and focus on items you "need, not necessarily want," while paying down our debt, Monforte said. Any extra money should be allocated into a retirement account.

If you want to augment your retirement savings and a higher salary is not on the horizon, consider taking on a second job for the sole purpose of saving and investing.

"There really is no financial retirement at age 65 if you haven’t saved," she said. "You will need to keep working longer to supplement your income."

Even if you have money allocated once or twice a month directly into a 401(k) or IRA, ensure that you don’t squander any raises. Save your raises before you consider spending it on a new car or vacation.

A better plan is to save a percentage of your income and not a specified amount such as $500 each month so that you automatically save more as your income increases, said Robert Johnson, CEO of the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

"People often need to be shocked into reality on what it may be like to live on much less money," he said. "Financial planners will often ask the client to live on half or two-thirds of their current income to better understand what it feels like."

If you liked this article you might like

Some of Trump's NFL Owner Friends Side With Players in Dispute With President

Domino's Pizza CEO: In 10 Years,Self-Driving Cars Will Deliver Pizza

Domino's Pizza CEO Thinks Self Driving Cars Will Deliver Pizza in 10 Years

CEOs Are Dropping Like Flies