When it comes to retirement, there is no such thing as a “simple answer.” The amount of savings you need depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

A common rule of thumb is to generate between 60% and 100% of your pre-retirement income. However, this can vary depending on your lifestyle and how much you’re comfortable spending every year of your life.

Invest in Stocks

If you’re planning to retire at 50, you need to make a serious commitment to saving. That means putting more money away in tax-advantaged retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs.

One of the best ways to boost your savings is by investing in stocks. Stocks are shares (or tiny pieces) of a company that issue them during an initial public offering (IPO).

Investors buy and sell stocks based on their ability to go up in value or pay dividends. It’s also important to research the background and financial stability of a company before you decide to invest in it.

Whether you decide to work with a financial professional or manage your own portfolio, it’s best to be educated about the risks and rewards of investing in the stock market. A savvy investment strategy can help you weather the ups and downs of the market, even when it’s volatile.

Build a CD Ladder

Building a CD ladder is a strategy that lets you build up interest on your savings over time. It can be a good way to boost your retirement nest egg, and it may also be an effective way to save for college tuition or other large purchases.

The CD ladder strategy involves opening multiple Certificates of Deposit (CDs) with staggered maturity dates. As each CD matures, you can re-invest the funds into a new CD, cash them out or let them automatically renew to a longer term with a higher interest rate.

Ladders aren’t the same for everyone, and you can choose your perfect CD ladder strategy based on your investment time frame, access to funds, comfort level with investing and prevailing interest rates. But a ladder that divides your investment equally across CDs offers the widest safety net for your portfolio growth.

Pay Off Debts

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to build your retirement nest egg, paying off debt is the best way to get started. It will also help you to create financial habits that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

Most people are in debt because they’ve overspent or made bad buying decisions. Paying off your debts will stop this cycle and give you more cash to spend on things that matter to you.

The first thing you should do is figure out how much you can contribute toward debt repayment each month. Then, make a list of all your debts and interest rates.

Once you’ve identified your top priorities, start by paying down the highest interest rate debts. This may be credit card debt, but it could also include student loans.

Create a Budget

One of the best ways to save is to create a budget. It doesn’t need to be rigid, but it should be a plan for all your money — that includes money you’re saving for retirement.

The first step in creating a budget is to figure out your net income and expenses. This can be done by using a spreadsheet, an online service or by writing down your spending.

Next, separate your fixed expenses from your variable ones. Fixed expenses are costs that don’t change from month to month, such as rent or a mortgage, insurance, car payments and utility bills.

Variable expenses are more flexible, like gym memberships and dining out. They’re fun and can be a great way to spend money, but they also need to be covered. It’s a good idea to keep track of your expenses so you can cut them where necessary. For example, if you can’t afford to pay for your gym membership, try getting a ride share instead of buying a car or dining out less often.