When you are in college, retirement can seem like a long ways away. You have a lot of other concerns at the moment, and worrying about the money that you’ll need forty to fifty years from now is probably not one of them.
However, the earlier you start thinking about retirement, the better off you will ultimately be when the time arrives. One day you are going to have to live off of your savings, and income will be hard to come by. When that day comes, you’ll be very glad that your younger self took steps to prepare.
While you can’t save up everything that you need starting today, there are a few steps that you can take to begin the process.
Research Your Options
While there are not many retirement plans open to college students, it is still a good idea to know what options are out there for when it comes time to pick one. The more you know about your options now, the better decisions you can make going forward.
When you start working full time, many companies offer retirement plans for their employees. These are great plans to explore, and should be considered for just about everyone. Just be sure to know what happens to your money should you decide to change jobs or if you are let go. For more on company offered retirement plans, you can read this guide.
If you are not going through a company, you will have to save up the money yourself. To do this, you will either need some sort of savings account, or start investing. Savings accounts are fairly straightforward, usually only differing in the interest rates and rules on when you can touch the money. Compare different savings plans and see what options are out there.
Investing is much more complicated. It will require a lot more research and maintenance on your part, but the rewards can ultimately be greater. Here are some helpful tools that should give you enough information on various forms of investing:
- Beginner’s Guide To Investing from the SEC.
- Educational Tutorials on the Forex Market from Alvexo’s YouTube
- Guide To Investing In Real Estate from Realtor.org
Things You Can Start Doing Today
There are two main things that you can start doing today that will help you out tremendously in the long run. The first is creating a retirement plan for yourself, and the second is opening up a new savings account.
The purpose of a personal retirement plan is to make sure you are not spending more than you are able. By tracking your incomes and your expenses, you can ensure that you are always in a good financial situation. From this budgeting plan you can also see how much you can afford to put away each month into any number of investment vehicles. The savings account should act like an interim account for investment.
By opening up a savings account now, you are giving the money more time to grow. Even if you start small, and only add a little bit to it each month, this money will add up over time. We suggest opening up a separate savings account, and having money withdrawn automatically from your checking account each month to be placed in it. If you select the right amount, and make the process automatic, you can forget about it, and be surprised at how much is in there when you go to check.
The purpose of this savings account is that when you finally decide which retirement plan you are going to use, you will have a decent sized amount already saved up to get you started.
Don’t Put It Off Too Long
We know you have other monetary concerns at the moment, but you should try to make retirement a priority as soon as you can. Adding a little bit now will pay large dividends in the future, and will not inconvenience you too much. At the very least you should start exploring your options, so that when you are in a more stable financial situation, you can make the right decision for yourself.