Retirement can feel so far off that getting started saving for it doesn’t seem important. Unfortunately, this unwillingness to prepare can leave you broke at retirement age with no other option than to continue working.
If you haven’t started saving for retirement yet there’s no better day than today to make a plan and execute. Here are three simple steps that can make saving for retirement a reality.
Determine How Much Money You’ll Need
There is no one size fits all when it comes to figuring out how much money you’ll need to retire. This is going to depend on your projected expenses – things like mortgage or rent if you don’t have a home fully paid for, utilities, insurance, food, and other costs of living. You’ll also want to add in discretionary and travel spending, assuming that you want to retire comfortably.
There are many calculators online that can help you determine these costs. I went ahead and plugged in some numbers on Kiplinger’s retirement calculator so you could see an example.
A person who is 30 years old, wants to retire at 60, currently earns $50,000 per year and has not started saving for retirement yet, will need to save $1,456 per month. That’s the magic number this person would have to save each month to retire on 80 percent of his current income. Of course there are many other numbers factored into this such as inflation and return on investment.
The good news is that the earlier you start saving the less money you’ll have to stash away. If you’ve never done it, play around with a retirement calculator so you that you can get a general idea of how much money you need to save.
Research Your Investing Options
There are several retirement accounts you can open. If you have an employer sponsored retirement account with a match that is the best place to start.
To learn about retirement plans that your employer offers simply set up a meeting with human resources department or your company’s financial advisors and ask questions.
If you don’t have an employer based retirement plan you can open up a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA yourself or with the help of a financial advisor. There are also many different options for self-employed people.
When it comes to choosing investments you’ll be presented with several choices. If you have a large amount of money you can opt for wholesale funds. If you want to get started investing with a small amount of money you can go with a mutual fund or exchange trade funds among others.
Don’t let all the options paralyze you from getting started. However, it is extremely important that you understand what you’re investing in. If you aren’t comfortable going at it alone talk to a financial advisor.
Automate Your Investments
Automating your investments is the best way to stay on track. You can start small and your work way up. The important things is that you get started and remain consistent. Automation will help you do this.
Automating doesn’t mean you should never check on your investments. It simply means that you have money consistently funneling into your investment accounts. You should still regularly review your portfolio and re-balance as you see fit.
You don’t have to understand complex stock market jargon to get started investing. You can keep your strategy simple and still wind up with plenty of money to retire on. Getting started is the hardest part.