Taking the first step toward financial security in your retirement years isn’t something many young people think about. No matter your age or financial situation, it’s always the right time to get started. If you take the time to plan and save for retirement now, you will have added assurance that you’ll be prepared in your golden years. Take the time to learn about your saving options with these five easy steps.
1. Save Now
If you start to save in your 20s and 30s, you’ll be in better shape for the future and able to invest in smaller increments. If you’re in your 40s or older, you should be a bit more aggressive with your savings; it’s a good idea to put a larger amount aside from each paycheck to build up a solid base.
2. Make Everything Automatic
Many people use a 401k account with their employer as their main source of retirement savings. If it’s not a 401k, it’s another type of employer-based retirement plan. You will have to decide what percent or dollar amount to put in from each paycheck and stick to the plan. Consider increasing the amount you put aside as you grow older. This might seem hard to do, but sooner or later, those car, student loan, and mortgage payments will start to drop off, and you’ll have more disposable income.
3. Don’t Touch Your 401k Account Until You Retire
Try to keep the money you save for retirement for that purpose alone. It can be tempting to handle some bigger expenses now, but try and handle those with payment plans so you can leave your retirement money alone. In other words, don’t treat your 401k like a bank account or rainy day fund.
4. Save Outside of Your 401k
If you’re maxing out your 401k, then you should think about saving even more in an IRA or personal brokerage account. You can set aside up to $5,500 if you’re under 50 and $6,500 if you’re over 50 in an IRA. Depending if the money you make reaches a certain limit, the contributions may be partially deductible.
If an IRA isn’t right for you, you may want to consider a personal brokerage account. Some investment options include stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds and mutual funds. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re getting advice from a reputable source.
5. Find the Right Advice
The best professional financial advice can be hard to find. As your savings grow, knowing where to invest your money can be overwhelming. A good financial advisor can help you avoid pitfalls and find the right opportunities.