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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Wells Fargo Director of Retail Retirement Karen Wimbish knows that saving money for the future is tough. For the one in four Charlotte residents who haven't any emergency funds, the time to start is now. People who are in their 50s are a particularly challenging group.

The 50 year olds are what we call the sandwich generation. They have older parents who may be in need of help and a lot of time they have boomerang children who have come home. They've also been particularly devastated by financial recession, the housing bubble bursting, 9/11, so it's very understandable that this age group has been challenged around saving.

Her best advice is simple, but hard.

There's no silver bullet. First thing is understand your essential expenses. That means making a budget, understanding dollars in and dollars out and then looking for places you can cut back just a little bit. The second thing is having a financial plan. Where are you going? Lastly, I would say instill in yourself the discipline of saving, Wimbish said.

Getting back into the stock market isn't what you would expect to hear, but that is also some of Wimbish's advice. The Dow is at an all-time high, and interest rates are at-all time lows. She recommends starting with a target day fund.

The way you pick that fund is based on the year you're planning to retire. Wimbish then added, The allocation of stocks and bonds is already done for you, and that is a great way for people who are unfamiliar with investing to get a portfolio that's allocated correctly for their time horizon. Between now and when they're going to retire.

Wimbish says 401K programs are also a must. Planning for retirement has never made more sense, Wells Fargo believes.

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