Planning for retirement isn’t a task reserved for tomorrow. It’s a subject that should occupy your mind today. No matter what stage you are at in your career, it’s never too soon to begin preparing and saving for that age when you trade in the workplace for time spent checking items off your bucket list.
Preparing for the future concerns every generation from Baby Boomers to Millennials. They all have similar goals in mind before retirement appears on the horizon. Still, it’s a personal finance journey. Strategies for building retirement savings can vary based on what stage you’re at in your life and career.
The problem is that retirement planning can get lost in the shuffle. Other daily responsibilities can crowd it out. Life can throw a financial curve ball with accidents or illnesses. Major purchases like a new home or car can draw away money earmarked for retirement.
Planning for that part of life doesn’t need to be a source of stress. You can take a few simple steps to pave a better road to retirement.
Build savings in small steps
It isn’t practical, or even possible in most cases, to try to accumulate all the funds you need for retirement all at once. Start saving early, so that you can let the money you deposit in an IRA or some other long-term interest bearing account do the work for you. Compound interest is your greatest tool in building a nest egg. It is defined as interest earned on the original amount deposited plus any interest earned on that savings. Given enough time, compound interest will turn a small sum into a much larger one over a long period of time.
Be aware of your financial needs
No fixed number exists to foretell exactly how much you need to save for retirement. Many Americans aren’t even aware of how much money will be required for them to retire. It requires some guesswork on your part, including assumptions on the state of your health and how long you will live. Still, you can be smart and make contributions consistent. Keep a monthly budget tracking your financial needs. That makes it easier to set aside a specific amount each month that will help you stay on track with your savings goals.
Map out your plan with a financial adviser
It can feel daunting creating a retirement plan on your own. A basic rule of thumb is that people should save up 15 percent of their pay over a 30-year period. Many options exist for investing money to save for that day and figuring out which one will work best for your needs isn’t always a simple task. A financial adviser can help you navigate these waters. They can help you map out a savings plan based on your current income and help you take steps, such as creating an emergency fund when unexpected expenses crop up, to protect your savings.
Enroll in employer-based retirement plans
Many companies offer 401K plans or other types of retirement plans to employees. Take advantage of these opportunities when available and enroll in these plans. It can save you a ton of leg work in searching for your own plan. Contact your HR department to see if your company offers a retirement savings plan in their benefits package and what it entails.
Do not shy away from learning all you can about retirement savings options. If you don’t know everything about the subject yet, that’s okay. There’s no such thing as a dumb or foolish question when it comes to planning for this stage in life. Being uneducated about your options can lead to being unprepared for the day when you finally leave the workforce.