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Many Americans work for decades with the goal of eventually reaching a peaceful retirement. Some have even started to plan where they will retire and what trips they will take. However, it’s crucial for everyone to actually plan for how they can afford it, and the sooner that planning starts the better.

Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many of these goals and plans for Americans. Right now, only half of workers (48%) have calculated how much to save for a comfortable retirement, according to a 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously passed my resolution declaring October as National Retirement Security Month. It is intended to raise awareness of personal financial literacy and encourage people to start planning for their future. Let this month act as a reminder to set aside time and maybe even talk to professionals. It’s important for folks to stay educated and informed on your retirement savings – your future will depend on it.

This month, I encourage everyone to work toward securing a future that is more than just comfortable. Find out what gaps are in your current plans. A good place to start is to research different options, understand the financial steps needed and commit to taking your retirement goals seriously. If needed, there is an online small business retirement tool to help educate employers on retirement savings options. Advisors are available at the national level from the Department of Labor and the IRS to local levels like the Wyoming Small Business Development Center. Set a strategy, whether it be a traditional retirement fund, like an IRA and 401(k), a pension system, or other personal saving accounts. For small business owners, I urge you to factor in your exit strategy and whether you plan to sell your business or stay involved once you’ve decided to retire. Visit the IRS website for more information on how to pick a retirement plan, maintain a plan and even how to correct an error in your planning. If you have already done the work and have retirement plans available for your employees, don't forget to make a plan for yourself.

Small businesses this year have faced unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to reevaluate finances, seek emergency funding or maybe even close their doors. While saving for retirement may be the last thing on your mind, remember that there are resources out there to help keep you on track.

I encourage you to plan so that every day is not just another dollar spent, but another dollar saved for a better future.