Jean Chatzky
For many of us, one of life's greatest uncertainties is, "How much money will I need to retire?" Of course, the answer to this question depends on a number of other big unknowns: How long will I live? What will my healthcare costs look like when I get older? What's in store for the future of the economy?

According to financial expert Terry Savage, you can't let life's uncertainties prevent you from planning for your financial future. Jean talks to Terry, author of The Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?, to help take some of the guesswork out of retirement planning.

  • Do not to be intimidated. "You don't need a lot of money to get started," Terry says.
  • Start saving early. "Time is a far more valuable asset than money," she says.
  • Contribute regularly to a 401(k) or savings account and make it automatic. Terry says, "If you don't see it, you won't spend it."
  • Understand that you don't have to be an expert to make wise investment decisions. Terry says investing isn't about math or numbers, it's about logic and good habits. "You don't have to beat the market, all you have to do is be in the market," she says.
  • Create a game plan for emergencies. Organize all your financial records and leave a list of where everything can be found with a loved one.
  • Set up an estate plan, "even if you don't think you have that big of an 'estate,'" Terry says.
  • Open a spousal IRA, even if you have no income of your own. "You need your own money, in your own name, in your own retirement account," Terry says.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance. "It's affordable when you buy it in your 50s or even into your 60s," Terry says, "And then if you ever need it, believe me, you'll be glad you have it."