Unless you’re hoping to work until the day they write your obituary, the time to start planning for your retirement is now. The younger you are when you begin your retirement preparation the better, but there’s no need to panic if you’ve been procrastinating.
Figuring out how much money you’re going to need a month is key to knowing how much to save. You can use a worksheet like this one as an example, or just figure out your current monthly expenses. Don’t forget to factor in things like if your house will be paid off by the time you plan to retire. Also, don’t forget to budget some fun money. You’ll have been working most of your life, you’ll want to enjoy these years of relaxation. It’s also important to factor in funds you may not currently be spending, but may need then, like healthcare expenses.
Savings and Money Market Accounts
You make deposits into savings accounts and they slowly gather interest. These are handy because you can open one up without a lot of fuss at your bank or credit union, and the only real risk associated with them is that you may access the money early. Investopedia explains that Money Markey Accounts, or MMAs, “offer more competitive interest rates than those offered by traditional savings accounts. But that doesn’t come without a cost. The tradeoff for higher rates is often a higher minimum deposit requirement.” They go on to explain, “Money market accounts usually offer higher yields than savings accounts.” They also tend to have a maximum number of transactions that can be used with them per month. Bankrate has compiled a search tool for the best rates available for both Savings and MMAs here.
Your employer may offer a 401k for you to take advantage of. That’s a retirement plan that is sponsored by your job. Money comes out of your paycheck and is saved, if your employer is awesome, they may also make contributions. You won’t pay taxes on this money until later, when you withdraw it.
Sometimes you need the advice of a professional. Your financial institution has experts on staff and they’re most likely ready to help, if you ask. These kinds of decisions can feel overwhelming, but it helps if you have knowledgeable people at a bank where you already have a relationship.
Retirement might seem like a lifetime away, but it’s important to start planning now. It’ll be here before you know it.