10 secrets to successfully save for retirement

Keep it simple

The first $100,000 is the hardest to save. When you're just starting out, contributions account for most of the growth in your retirement funds. But the longer you keep at it, the more you'll earn from dividends and capital gains.

With $10,000 in your account, a 7% annual gain will net $700. But when you've got $100,000 in your account, that 7% gain is $7,000.

Beginning investors struggle by focusing too much on how they invest and what options they should choose, says Mari Adam of Adam and Associates in Boca Raton, Fla. But your primary goal should be putting money away. It's that simple.

"Just do it. Sign up for a 401(k), open an IRA and start saving money," Adam says. "You can learn about (investing) as you go."

Our savings goal calculator will show you exactly how much you must contribute to your retirement accounts to build the nest egg you want.