Financial security isn’t something that doesn’t just happen.  You might get lucky, but it’s something that takes planning, commitment and money.  Fewer than half of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement.  30 percent of private industry workers in 2014 with access to a defined contribution plan didn’t take part.  Yet it’s something you need to prepare for; the average American spends about 20 years in retirement, a fairly long time.  I recently came across an article that shares 10 ways you can prepare for retirement, listed below:

Start saving: Start small if you have to, then try and increase how much you save each month.  The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.  Devise a saving plan, stick to it and set goals.

Know your retirement needs: Retirement is expensive; experts estimate that you’ll need at least 70 percent of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living after you stop working.  The key to a secure retirement is to plan ahead.

Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan: If your employee offers a retirement savings plan, sign up and contribute as much as you can.  Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals make a big difference in how much you accumulate.

Learn about your employer’s pension plan: If your employer has a traditional pension plan, check to see if you’re covered by it and understand how it works.  If you’re going to change jobs, find out what will happen to your pension benefit.

Consider basic investment principles: Inflation and the type of investments you make play an important role in retirement.  Know how your savings or pension plan is invested; learn about your plan’s investment options and ask questions.  Put your savings in different types of investments, which will help reduce risk and improve return.

Don’t touch your retirement savings: If you withdraw your retirement savings now, you’ll lose principal interest and could lose tax benefits or have to pay withdrawal penalties.  If you change jobs, leave your savings invested in your current retirement plan or roll them over to an IRA or your new employer’s plan.

Ask your employer to start a plan: If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, then suggest that it start one.  There are a number of retirement saving plan options available that can help both you and your employer.

Put your money into an IRA: You can put up to $5,500 a year into an IRA, and can contribute even more after you turn 50.  When you open an IRA, you have two options: a traditional or Roth.  The tax treatment of your contributions and withdrawals will depend on which option you choose.  IRAs can provide an easy way to save, and you can set one up so that an amount is automatically deducted from your checking or savings account and then deposited into the IRA.

Find out about Social Security benefits: Social Security pays benefits on average equal to about 40 percent of what you earned before retirement.

Ask questions: You can always know more.  Talk to your employer, bank, union or financial adviser.  Make sure you understand what they’re saying.