Secret experiment suggests one key way to boost retirement savings

“Imagine having an envisioning exercise before making a decision,” Lord said.

By and large, retirement savers can use all the help they can get. Research from the Stanford Center on Longevity suggests people generally should be saving twice what they actually are.

And while many people have access to a 401(k) or similar plan through work, which can make retirement savings easier, many savers are falling short. For example, among those ages 50 to 59, the median 401(k) balance — half are below, half are above — is $62,700, according to personal finance website NerdWallet. For those ages 60 to 69, it’s $63,000.

Health-care costs alone for the average 65-year-old couple retiring today are estimated to be $280,000 in retirement, research from Fidelity Investments shows.

Retirement savers appear to know that they need to step it up. In the Capital Group survey, 85 percent of respondents said Americans need to save more to better prepare for their golden years.

More from Personal Finance:
If you’re a young adult and receive a small windfall, here’s how to put it toward retirement
Paying off debt is a pressing issue for Gen X and younger boomers
These non-essential costs are probably getting in the way of your financial goals

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