The Best Ways to Save for Retirement . / Credit: Retirement Image via Shutterstock

Saving for retirement doesn’t need to be a challenge. A new study finds that workers can set themselves up for a long and happy retirement by living within their means, starting to save early and making retirement a top financial goal.  

According to the survey, 47 percent of people said that living within their means was crucial to their ability to retire. Forty-two percent said the key to proper retirement planning was making retirement a top financial priority. And another 35 percent said  saving early in their careers helped them save for retirement.

Respondents also said that reducing debt, changing spending habits and paying off their mortgage helped them better prepare for retirement.

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"Clearly, the lesson is: work and save more now while you are in your prime earning years so that you have the option of not working at all during retirement," said Stephen Pappaterra, head of wealth planning for PNC, which conducted the research. "A pattern of making good decisions, planning and sticking to the plan, is a theme repeated throughout the survey."

The survey also found that respondents took several other important steps in their journey to save for retirement.  In particular, 72 percent of workers said they invest as much as possible into their employer-sponsored retirement account. An additional 62 percent also said they saved in another retirement account outside of work. 

Even though a majority of respondents said they felt good about their standing in regards to retirement savings, there were still concerns about a number of issues for retirees.  The study found that health care costs, running out of money, the state of the economy and the stability of Social Security were all top concerns among those saving for retirement

Other findings from the poll included:

  • 75 percent of future retirees say they would like to work in some fashion after retiring.
  • 83 percent of respondents said they think about retirement often, while just 14 percent said they rarely do.
  • 69 percent of respondents said the recession has not affected their retirement savings greatly.
  • 30 percent said they feel leaving an inheritance is important. 

The information in this research was based on the responses of 1,038 people between ages 35 and 70 with at least $100,000 in investable assets.

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