Nobody said saving for retirement was going to be easy. Economic downturns, increased life expectancies, and rising health care costs now mean that you need to save even more so that your retirement nest egg stretches further. This is why it's so important to keep your hard-earned retirement savings out of reach.
We get the fact that life happens. An unexpected medical expense, a sudden disability or a major home repair may have you eyeing your retirement savings as an easy fix for getting your hands on the money that you need. But the fact is you shouldn't look at what you've saved for retirement as an easy solution to life's financial emergencies.
Set up barriers to protect your savings
If the mere fact that borrowing from your savings will leave you with less to live on in retirement isn't enough of a deterrent, then maybe the many penalties and fees for tapping into your retirement account will. Stashing money away in most retirement accounts can be a good barrier to protect your savings because of the imposed penalties for early withdrawals. If you can, try to funnel more of your money into your retirement accounts as opposed to a money market or traditional savings account (where it can be easy to get to).
Another way you may consider safeguarding your retirement savings is by establishing an emergency fund. So in the event you have an unexpected expense such as a house or vehicle repair, you'll have access to readily available funds without having to tap into your retirement fund. The key concept for establishing an emergency fund is to prevent spending a dime of your retirement money until you have actually retired.
The bottom line is that you might not be able to achieve your retirement without careful planning and saving. So when life throws you curveballs, the money you've set aside for a comfortable retirement shouldn't be your go-to source.