How to Start Saving for Retirement
A version of this article originally appeared on Learnvest.com.
Retirement is one of our biggest financial challenges for three reasons:
1. The sum we have to save for retirement is bigger than for any other financial goal.
2. When we prioritize our desires, retirement never wins on urgency, making it easy to keep putting off.
3. Saving for retirement is the financial equivalent of an ultramarathon. When saving to buy a house or to pay for your child’s
college education, you might save for five or 15 years, but for retirement, you have to save decade over decade.
If just reading that list is making you sweat, we understand. According to a nationwide survey conducted by LearnVest and Chase Blueprint, Americans’ number one financial worry is whether or not we’ll be able to save enough for retirement. About one-third of men and women cite that as their top concern over, for instance, paying down debt, having enough money to live comfortably and having enough to provide for their children.
As with any daunting challenges we face, we tend to think up excuses so we can avoid facing the difficult work of saving for retirement. Well, today is the day you’re going to stop. We’ve compiled a list of the top retirement lies we tell ourselves, and we’ve come up with solutions that will get you on the path to a comfortable nest egg.
1. I can’t afford it.
More than one in four women in the Chase/LearnVest study say they don’t have money to contribute to retirement after all the
bills are paid.
Ahem. Yes, you can find $20 to get started. If you haven’t started saving for retirement, pack your lunch twice this week, and put $20 in a retirement account. (If you always pack a lunch, cut out another $20 expense this week.) Make this happen, even if you have to do it one dollar at a time over the course of the month. If you can’t think of any costs to cut, take our free 10-day Cut Your Costs bootcamp.
If your employer offers a retirement plan, set it up today and start putting at least one percent of your salary away. If you have an individual retirement account, log in and start contributing $20 more a month. If you were to contribute $20 a month for 30 years and your money grew on average seven percent a year, your total contributions of $7,200 would grow to more than $24,000.