In your 20s, retirement seems like a distant dream. But, if you don’t start saving while you’re young, that’s exactly what it will remain forever: a dream. Just 39% of Americans start saving for retirement in their 20s. If you want to retire a millionaire, you had better be one of them. Here’s how to do it:
Spend wisely and save aggressively.
If you start saving $100 per month for retirement by age 25, you’ll have more than twice as much money squirreled away than if you’d started ten years later.
Be diligent with your money. Live by a budget, and cut back on expensive habits. Setting aside a portion of your paycheck each month, even if it isn’t a large amount yet, will help to create a lifelong habit of saving. Start where you are with what you can and soon you’ll be able to retire a millionaire.
Pay off your debt.
Monthly debt payments can be a huge hindrance to saving for retirement. Imagine if you were living debt-free. The cost of your car payment and your credit card bill could be money that you are investing into your retirement plan each month.
Before dumping your extra money each month into your IRA, pay off your debts. This way, you are saving money in interest payments and freeing up your budget to make larger retirement contributions in the future. Once you are out of debt, stay that way!
Diversify your assets.
Once you start saving for retirement, you need to consider how best to invest your money and make it grow for you. According to Round, an active investment platform, it’s important to diversify your assets, meaning that you are not putting all your money into one type of investment.
Diversification helps to minimize the risk of any one type of investment by spreading your money into several types of assets. That way, if one market crashes, you won’t have lost all of your retirement savings.
Take advantage of employer-matched contributions.
Many employers offer tax-deferred 401(k) plans that will match your contributions up to a certain percentage. Matching funds are effectively free money on top of the amount you are already investing into your retirement account.
Many employers will match somewhere between 3-6% of your pre-tax income. If yours does not offer a match or a pension of any sort, consider switching to a company with more generous benefits.
Monitor your portfolio.
Although you do not want to cause yourself undue stress by monitoring every up and down of the stock market, it is wise to evaluate your investments on a regular basis to make sure that they are still working effectively for you.
At least once a year, review the performance of your investments, and move money out of poor-performing assets. Reallocate as needed to hit that long-term goal of $1 million.
Be prepared for emergencies.
If you aren’t prepared for life emergencies, you will, at one point or another, be tempted to withdraw funds from your retirement account. Prepare for this possibility by creating a separate fund for life emergencies. Dave Ramsey recommends a fund that covers 3-6 months of expenses.
It may seem counterintuitive to put money in an emergency fund when your goal is to save as much as you can for retirement. By doing so, however, you’ll be able to leave your retirement funds untouched when life inevitably throws a curveball at you.
Invest your spare change.
Some investing apps allow you to round up each transaction, contributing the change to your investment account. These little contributions add up quickly and are a great way to contribute a bit extra to your retirement fund each month. Every bit counts, especially when added up over the span of the next forty-something years.
Increase your savings as your income increases.
You may have to start off making relatively small contributions as you begin saving for retirement. As your salary increases, so should your contributions. Aim to contribute no less than 5% and no more than half of your income to your retirement portfolio.
Speak with an investment professional.
Ultimately, even with all the advice you can find online or in a book, it is always advisable to speak to an actual investment advisor who can make recommendations based on your unique situation. Typically, an investment advisor will charge 1-2% of your annual investment amount. Knowing that you’re on the right track to retire, though, is worth the fee.
Time Flies So Save For Retirement
Retirement may be the last thing on your mind in your 20s, but you will be amazed at how quickly the years fly by. Start saving now. If you wait to start saving until your 40s or 50s, then your dreams of how to retire a millionaire may never become reality.