Depending on how old you are, retirement savings may not be the top thing on your to-do list. Now being in my 30’s I’m so thankful that I started investing at an early age, even though it was just a little bit at a time. I think that retirement savings is an easy thing for young people to put off because it seems so far away, but the reality is, you’re going to need lots of time to build up a substantial nest egg.
I feel very fortunate to have parents who set me up with a retirement account when I turned 18. Thank you, mom and dad! I am not a parent, but if I was one, I’d be sure to get an account set up with a little bit of money and show them how they can contribute and what that means for their future. It’s a simple thing that will have a huge impact on your child’s adult life.
If you don’t have any retirement savings or you are currently not contributing to your account, GET. ON. IT. NOW. Even if you can only contribute a small amount, say $50-$100/month, it’s worth it! If you say you “can’t afford” to scrap up $50/month to better your future, I don’t know what to tell you. Sacrifice your lifestyle and make it happen. What could possibly be more important?
There is no instant gratification in this process. You need to be in it for the long haul. Set up your automatic payment and forget about it. I check my accounts a few times a year and usually check in with myself and my advisor every other year to track my progress and evaluate if I can increase my monthly contribution.
Some professionals advise that people should hold off on contributing to retirement if they have debt. While others say that you shouldn’t pay down debt (other than paying the minimum) and instead invest your money. I think there can be a happy medium. The answer to that really depends on how much debt you have and how old you are. Personally, I never stopped investing when I was paying off debt. I wasn’t contributing huge amounts, but it was consistent and that’s all that mattered to me.
Currently, my husband and I both contribute to Roth IRA’s every month (after tax accounts). I also have a traditional IRA (pre-tax) from past jobs that I am not currently adding money to. My next step is to open and begin funding a SEP IRA (Self Employment Pension). This is something that I want to accomplish now that I’ve got almost a year of freelancing under my belt and have no plans to stop.
Saving for retirement is not exciting or glamorous, but I have a feeling when the day arrives where I can stop earning money if I want to- that will indeed be exciting and glamorous (or at least feel like it!)
So, I urge you to figure out your retirement investing plan and stick with it. Don’t worry about not being able to put hundreds of dollars towards the account right away, just get it started! The sooner you can start, the sooner you’ll see what benefits compounding interest has on your growing balance.
“Planning to play: that’s what saving for retirement is today” – John Thorn
Thanks for Reading,