The Next Best Time is Now

By Elsie Dudukovich0 Comments
 
One of the most powerful keywords for retirement savings is this: START.  It might seem like all hope is lost if you didn’t start putting something aside for retirement when you were 18. No matter your age, there is benefit to start saving and planning today, as a recent Mainstreet.com article points out. 

Are you in your 50s? Beyond?
Take a look at your IRA contributions.  Are you taking advantage of the higher contribution amounts the IRS permits people 50 and older? Consider reducing unnecessary expenses to help free up extra funds to enjoy the catch-up amount advantage. 

Remember you aren’t required to retire at 65.  The longer you wait to collect on Social Security benefits past age 62, the more your monthly amount can increase.

If you’re in your 40s…
Doing a gap analysis of where you are financially and where you want to be is helpful at any age.  Your 40’s can be a time to review how much you’re contributing, where you’re directing your investment funds, and examining if the performance you’re seeing in your account is in line with  your goals.

A financial planner or other qualified professional can be especially helpful if you’re unsure about how to get or stay on track to a healthy retirement.

Making retirement a priority in your 30s
Your 30s can be a time of diverse financial obligations.  Starting a family, owning a home or paying off student debt are just a few ways you may be feeling pulled in different directions.  When you’re living in the now of managing these immediate expenses, it’s easy for retirement to feel like something that’s important… but far in the future. 

Your 30s can be a powerful time to grow your retirement savings – especially if you’re getting settled in a more stable career.  If you weren’t able or didn’t have the option to take advantage of your company’s 401(k), work on capitalizing on this benefit.  You can have an IRA and a 401(k) at the same time.  If a 401(k) isn’t part of your benefits package, explore your own retirement account options such as a traditional or Roth IRA.  If you are a freelancer or self-employed, examine a SEP or SIMPLE plan as a possible option.

Whatever retirement plan best fits your needs, do your best to meet contribution limits for savings – and possible tax benefits too!  If you can live below your means as much and as often as possible during your 30s, you might be surprised at how much you can save.   

In your 20s and just getting started?
Again, the key word is START.  If your work offers a 401(k), take advantage of it if you can, but also explore opening a traditional or Roth IRA.  Contribute as much as you can whenever possible. 

(Nearly)Effortless Extra Savings
These ideas are worth considering at any age.
  • Automatic salary deductions.  Utilizing automatic bank withdrawals from your paycheck into your 401(k) and IRA can make saving painless.  You won’t even miss it.
  • Save raises, bonuses, monetary gifts and unexpected windfalls.  While it’s tempting to spend happy financial surprises, consider adding all – or at least a portion- of those funds to your IRA contribution.  ‘Found’ money is effortless to save.       
  • When you pay off a debt, redirect the payment amount towards your savings contributions.  These funds were already earmarked and you were living without being able to spend that money. Once an obligation is satisfied, give those funds a new life serving your future. 
For more ideas, check out this article on savings.  If you’re exploring investment options, remember to take advantage of the educational offerings from Equity University to learn and grow.