Since the recession hit, the concept of saving for retirement has been at the forefront of many people's financial worries. This may be particularly true of the oldest generation of workers, those who are within a decade or so of reaching their retirement age. Many had to dip into their retirement savings just to make ends meet during and even after the economic downturn, while many more were forced to curtail their savings during this time for similar reasons. But as the economic recovery continues, many consumers are now getting back to having the necessary financial flexibility to save money.

In fact, the number of people who say they're going to prioritize saving for retirement is on the rise these days, and that's a good thing for consumers in general. However, experts warn that if consumers don't get a head start on what they should be saving, or increase how much they're putting away, they may not be as well-funded in retirement as they probably ought to be. There are a number of reasons for this, including wage stagnation over the past decade-plus, the lingering effects of the recession, and the fact that people are just living longer these days. All of that makes it more difficult not only to properly save for retirement, but also to calculate just how much actually needs to be saved in the first place.

The ability to put money away on a consistent basis over decades is crucial to a comfortable retirement.The ability to put money away on a consistent basis over decades is crucial to a comfortable retirement.

Getting over the hump
One of the big issues that many people may have as they get into the final decade or more before their retirement ages is that it's easy to be discouraged by how little they have seemingly saved, according to a report from CNBC. And while there's rarely a good excuse to save less, experts also point out that the vast majority of individuals' careers will be spent with relatively small numbers in their retirement accounts. However, this is just going to be the case for many people as they approach their mid- to late-50s, at which point the way in which interest is calculated will typically "kick in" and lead to huge jumps in retirement savings over a relatively short period of time.

Further, it's important to note that continuing to save even when economic times are difficult will likely reap significant benefits, the report said. The recession may have set many people back in their savings efforts, but those who stuck with them saw the value of their accounts soar in comparison to where they had been just a decade earlier.

Start soon
For those who have yet to begin their retirement savings efforts in earnest, or at all, the longer they wait, the more difficult reaching their goals is going to be. This is a long game to play, but it's a vitally crucial one, and it's vital for consumers to stick closely to their efforts even when times get a little tough. Any setback or delays now can end up wreaking havoc decades down the line.