If you are in your 20s or 30s, retirement can appear far off, but the truth is that saving early and often can help promote a successful retirement when the times arrives. Here are some great reasons to start the savings habit early:
You have one huge ally: TIME.
You’ll probably have to pay for more of your own retirement than earlier generations.
You can start small and grow. Even setting aside a small portion of your paycheck each month will pay off in big dollars later.
You can afford to invest more aggressively, which can have higher returns.
There are still some challenges, but you may have more resources now. You’ve been working for a few years and are taking on more responsibilities at work and at home. You may have bought a house or condo, or are saving to buy one. If you have children, you know how much time and money it takes to raise a family. It can be hard to focus on retirement planning, but you can make it part of your overall savings and money management plan.
If you have a workplace retirement plan be sure to find out how it works so that you can make the most of it. If there is a 401(k) or similar plan, find out how to participate. If your employer contributes, this is free money – don’t pass it up! We also have information for you if you were in a plan at another job. If your employer does not offer a plan, there are good savings options for you too. In fact, you probably also want to save on your own, even if you have a great plan at work, because most plans will not cover the full expenses of retirement.
Tips on How to Save Smart for Retirement
Start now. Don’t wait. Time is critical.
Start small, if necessary. Money may be tight, but even small amounts can make a big difference given enough time, the right kind of investments and tax-favored vehicles such as company retirement plans, IRAs, and SEPs.
Use automatic deductions from your payroll or your checking account for deposit in mutual funds, IRAs, or other investment vehicles.
Save regularly. Make saving for retirement a habit.
Be realistic about investment returns. Never assume that a year or two of high market returns will continue indefinitely. The same goes for market declines.
If you change jobs, keep your retirement account money in your former employer's plan or roll it over into your new employer's plan or an IRA.
Don’t dip into retirement savings.
You’re more motivated to save now, just stay focused. At this point in your career, retirement no longer seems so far off. There are, however, still many demands on your time and your income, including children and parents to care for, responsibilities at your job, a mortgage. It can be hard to find the time and money for retirement planning, and the task can seem daunting. But retirement can also be a time of new beginnings, especially if you are properly prepared. We’re here to help you stop worrying and start planning.
If your employer offers a plan, take advantage of it. There is still time to build retirement savings. If you’re thinking about changing jobs, find out how that might affect your employer-based retirement plan and what your options are. If you were in a plan at another job, make sure you know what benefits you may be able to receive from it and how.
Did You Know?
A 65-year old American man can expect, on average, to live 21 more years and a 65-year old woman 24 more years. Of course, many men and women will live much longer.
How To Prepare When There’s Little Time
Put everything you can into your tax-sheltered retirement plans and personal savings. Try to put away at least 20 percent of your income.
Reduce expenses. Funnel the savings into your nest egg.
Take a second job or work extra hours.
Aim for high returns. Don’t invest in anything you are uncomfortable with, but see if you can’t squeeze out better returns.
Retire later. You may not need to work full-time beyond your planned retirement age. Part-time may be enough.
Refine your goal. You may have to live a less expensive lifestyle in retirement.
Delay taking Social Security. Benefits will be higher when you start taking them.
Make use of your home. Rent out a room or move to a less expensive home and save the profits.
Your hard work and planning are paying off. You have worked hard and saved faithfully, and you know the importance of having a plan. If you were in the workforce at some point, you may be able to receive a benefit from a pension or an employer-based retirement plan.
Some of you may still be working part-time, and can still save towards retirement, or supplement your retirement income. If you haven’t already, track down any benefits you might be able to receive from previous employers. Now more than ever before, it’s important that you understand how your employer’s plan works and what benefits you will receive in retirement from any possible sources.