Everyone knows that major financial disruptions such asunemployment, divorce and health issues can and do strike a blow toretirement savings. TD Ameritrade has now put a number on it: $2.5trillion in lost retirement savings.

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According to the firm, 66 percent of the 2,019 adults itsurveyed had experienced a disruption in their long-term financialplanning and retirement saving.

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The most common financial disruption cited by those surveyed wasa loss of a job or having to take a lower-paying job.

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Eighty-four percent of those polled said that they had beensaving at a rate of on average $500 per month for retirement, but79 percent of those polled had to reduce retirement savings onaverage by $300 per month. Half needed to withdraw from theirsavings or borrow money to stay afloat. Forty-nine percent of thosewho experienced disruptions will need to delay or forgo retirement,and those who are once again meeting their long-term savings goalstook nearly five years to rebuild to that point.

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No wonder, then, that 46 percent of those who experienceddisruptions said they wish they would have saved more of theirincome. Thirty-six percent said they would have started saving forretirement earlier and 26 percent reported wishing they had beenbetter educated on long-term savings and investing.

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Along those lines, those who have managed to retire comfortablycite the importance of careful financial planning in theirretirement success.

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In an earlier TD Ameritrade survey of recently retired babyboomers those polled named the following strategies as key to theirbeing financially stable upon retirement:

  • Limiting use of credit (67 percent);

  • saving early and consistently (58 percent);

  • spending less on luxuries/discretionary items (58 percent);

  • investing in/maintaining a well-balanced portfolio (51percent).

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