Older workers are in trouble when it comes to retirement. Theyhave little or no savings to meet what's going to be a huge incomegap for most of them, and no time to correct the situation.

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According to a new study from the Insured Retirement Institute,the typical retiree faces annual expenses of some $50,000 but canonly expect an average of $16,000 a year from Social Security.

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Considering that 40% of baby boomers have no retirement savingsat all, and that more than two thirds of those who do have moneyset aside have less than $250,000 squirreled away, that meansthere's going to be a really big problem, really soon.

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“I'll go out on a limb and venture that moving toHarlingen, Texas, which boasts the lowest cost of living in thecountry, is not a realistic option for most future retirees,” CathyWeatherford, president and CEO of IRI, said in a statement.

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As a result, she added, “Many boomers will have to make sometough decisions.”

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And some of those decisions can be pretty unpalatable. Notjust working longer or downsizing to save money, but suchlast-ditch options as having to ask family members for financialhelp or turning to assistance programs to make ends meet.

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But IRI's new paper offers some strategies to help boomersincrease their savings, cut their expenses and combine some sourcesof income to get by in retirement.

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Here's a look at four strategies the study recommends.

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pre-retirement tips1. Don't retireyet

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Waiting till age 70 to retire, instead of leaving the workforceat 65, pays off in several ways, the study said. First,there's the size of the retiree's Social Security benefit — 132%larger than if she retires at age 66.

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Next, those inclined to shop for a lifetime income annuity willfind that it's cheaper; buying a single premium income annuity atage 65 that would provide $25,000 in annual income, with a 2%annual increase, would cost $461,232, while waiting till age 70would save $71,728 for a single premium of $389,504.

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And third, working five extra years not only adds five moreyears of income but subtracts five years of relying on savings forliving expenses.

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pre-retirement tips2. Boost those retirementcontributions while you can

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People 50 years old and older can add up to $6,000 annually totheir retirement contributions to “catch up” to where they ought tobe.

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Even if boomers don't increase their standard retirementcontributions, if they conscientiously make the catch-upcontributions from age 50 to 70 and bring in an average 5.5% pretaxinvestment return, that adds more than $239,000 to their retirementsavings balance.

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pre-retirement tips3. Find someplace cheaperto live

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Yes, you might actually want to consider moving to Harlingen,Texas — or someplace else that's got a lower cost of living or atleast boasts lower costs for things you think you might need a lotof in retirement — such as health care.

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You might think it's tempting to stay in Manhattan so you cancontinue to enjoy museums, shows and galleries, but the compositecost of living index for Manhattan is more than double the nationalaverage — meaning it will cost you twice as much to live there thanin the “average” American city.

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pre-retirement tips4. Get healthy

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Cut out the extra snacks, start jogging or working out, anddon't think about the money situation too much, lest it boost yourstress levels — stress is bad for your blood pressure.

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Seriously, if you can quit smoking and adopt a healthylifestyle, you might be able to cut down on the medical expensesthat plague so many seniors — and that could make your retirementdollars go a lot further.

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Figure out what's most important to you and judgeaccordingly.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.