The time to start saving for retirement is now.
- Saving for retirement from a young age could help you grow a lot of wealth over time.
- If you’ve been having a hard time carving out funds for retirement, or you don’t have access to a retirement plan at work, an IRA is a good solution.
- An even better bet is to automate your IRA contributions so you don’t have to think about them.
When you’re fairly young and trying to establish yourself in your career, your financial goals may not exactly revolve around saving for retirement. Rather, you may be focused on things like paying off your credit cards or socking money away for a down payment on a home.
But actually, saving for retirement is a really important thing to do when you’re young. The reason? Most people don’t just leave their retirement savings in cash. Rather, they invest that money so it can grow into a larger sum. And the longer your investing window, the more opportunity you’ll have to grow wealth.
In a recent Insuranks survey, 49% of millennials and Gen Zers said that saving for retirement is one of the hardest things to do as a young adult. And it’s easy to see why they feel that way. But one account — and strategy — could make it easy to overcome the barriers to saving you’ve been facing.
An option that’s open to everyone
If you don’t have access to a 401(k) plan through your employer, then that particular savings plan may be off the table. And that’s a shame, because 401(k) plans commonly include an employer matching component that lets you receive free money for retirement savings purposes. But if you don’t have a 401(k) plan through your job, you can take retirement savings into your own hands by opening an IRA.
IRAs are managed individually, so you don’t need an employer to sponsor one. All you need to qualify for an IRA is to have earned income.
Of course, just opening an IRA isn’t enough to help you make progress on the retirement savings front. That’s sort of like opening a savings account but not putting any money into it — it won’t do you much good. Rather, what you should do is set up an automatic transfer from your bank account to your IRA so that money lands in your retirement plan every month.
The upside of putting your IRA contributions on autopilot is that you won’t be tempted to spend the money you should be saving. In fact, one benefit of saving for retirement in a 401(k) is that deductions are taken out of your earnings automatically, so you don’t end up missing that money — you simply get a smaller paycheck. To be successful at saving in an IRA, it’s best to take a similar approach and make those contributions automatic.
Focus on retirement savings
If you’re in your 20s, 30s, or even early 40s, you may have financial priorities aside from retirement. You don’t need to ignore those near-term goals to focus solely on retirement, but you should aim to address both goals at the same time — for example, by splitting your spare cash between your home down payment fund and your IRA.
Waiting to save for retirement until you’re further along in your career could leave you with a serious savings shortfall later in life. So the sooner you’re able to get started, the less financial stress you’re apt to experience as a retiree.
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