Jean Chatzky
In the struggle to adequately plan and save for retirement, it's easy to trip at one point or another. Lynne Ford, a senior vice president at Wachovia, says her company's recent survey found that women in particular are feeling the stress of preparing for retirement. Lynne talks to Jean about the results of Wachovia's Retirement Fitness Survey and details advice for women who want to get on top of their savings.

According to the survey, 58 percent of women feel worried about their retirement and 61 percent feel uncertain. Lynne says those figures make sense because women not only often outlive their partners, they also tend to take breaks from the workplace and earn less overall.

Lynne offers advice she says women of all ages can use to get on track with a retirement plan:

  • Get your arms around your money. In order to successfully save, Lynne says you really need to understand the monthly dynamics of your financial inflow and outflow. She says you should write down every dollar you spend for a month.
  • Break it down. The goal of saving for retirement can be a tough thing to tackle, but Lynne says you can make it easier on yourself by scaling down to smaller, attainable goals.
  • Put your savings on autopilot. Aim to contribute at least 10 percent of your annual income automatically into a savings account. Lynne says you should sock away even more if you can swing it.
  • Stay ahead of yourself. Lynne says the last thing you need is a 30-year mortgage at the age of 50. Using home equity to pay for things like your child's college tuition, a new car or a vacation is a big no-no, she says. You want to minimize the bills coming your way during retirement, not extend them.
  • Utilize the resources available to you. There are great financial planners out there who Lynne says can help you navigate the process. She also says there are tools on the Web that you can use to help you get on top of your retirement plan.
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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