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Financial Freedom

6 Ways to Jump-start Saving for Retirement

Find out which investment plan will help you achieve your retirement goals.

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— ©John Lund/Marc Romanelli/Blend Images LLC

En español | Feeling like you’re behind the eight ball or off to a late start in investing for your retirement?

It’s never too late, although planning and saving for retirement in a market that is shaky and sometimes volatile can undoubtedly undermine even the best of intentions. A significant number of Americans 50 and older have been hit hard, and African Americans today are definitely feeling the pinch.

A recent survey by Ariel Investments, a privately owned money management firm, revealed that African Americans are less likely than whites to have money in the stock market. According to the survey, white participation rates have consistently hovered at around 80 percent, whereas black participation rates have swung between a low of 57 percent and a high of 74 percent.

See Also: 401(k) Participation Rates Among Minorities. Watch >>

In 2010, the investment rate for whites has remained steady at 79 percent, while it has fallen to 60 percent for blacks, continuing a downward trend from 68 percent in 2004, 64 percent in 2006 and 62 percent in 2008. But considering nationwide unemployment rates, this isn’t terribly surprising.

It is, however, pretty sobering news, and yet, the past is, well, the past — and the future looks more promising. The encouraging news is that, while overall stock ownership among blacks may have declined this year, for the first time in the survey's 12-year history, more African Americans are choosing stocks and stock mutual funds as the "best investment overall" relative to real estate. Additionally, only 30 percent of blacks believed that real estate was the "best investment overall" this year, compared with to the 41 percent who chose stocks or stock mutual funds.

Among whites, 27 percent chose real estate, compared with 55 percent who chose stocks and stock mutual funds.

Participation in the stock market is an important part of building wealth, because stocks have historically outperformed all other investments in the long term. Saving for retirement by investing is important and doesn't have to be complicated if you stick to basic investing principles.

Next: 6 Tips to help you jump start your retirement savings. Read >>

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