Financial advisors would say it’s never too early to start saving for retirement. In fact, it’s recommended that young people start saving for their retirement in their twenties. But this is impractical for most since graduates typically don’t land secure jobs until they are in their late twenties.

Regardless of your income level, you should start actively putting aside money for retirement in your thirties in the least. Forties is quite too late, as you would only have two decades or less for returns to compound. It is possible to start your retirement fund early, even if your income is limited and you have massive student loans to pay off. Here’s how:

Start Matching Employer’s 401(k) Contributions

Don’t ignore the 401(k) offered by nearly all employers. Match the employer’s contributions. It’s essentially free money. The more you contribute to your 401(k) early on, the more time your money would have to compound and grow.

Also, if you start contributing to your 401(k) early on, you would need to contribute less as you age. Consider for example, that you need a million dollars to retire comfortably. If you start making your 401(k) contributions in your twenties, you only need to match about $4,500 annually. But if you start doing so in your thirties, you would need to set aside $9,000 annually, or $18,000 roughly in your forties.

Starting early is actually a great way to spend less on your retirement savings.

Learn to Invest

Having your own savings, or rather investment fund is another highly recommended way to save towards retirement. You can use returns from your investments in any way you can. For example, with sound investment decisions, you may be able to earn enough to buy a cozy beach house to retire at or pay off all your student and mortgage debts.

There are plenty of ways you can start investing, such as by trading penny stocks, renting, buying property, or putting your money in ETFs. Start slow and diversify your portfolio. You can hedge potential cash losses in the future with a non-cash asset like gold.

Open an IRA

An Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) is a retirement savings program with tax issues worked out. Most income earners open IRAs too late when they are nearing their forties. If you want to have your investments managed, with little stress on your part, then an IRA is the best option.

There are different IRA plans income earners can choose from. You can appoint a trustee from your bank, investment fund, or a financial brokering firm. The main advantage of an IRA is that your investments will be looked after by someone, even if you don’t.

You can retire comfortably if you make retirement plans a priority in your youth. Make it a major financial goal in your life. You won’t be able to work in your sunset years. So saving money or paying off the debt in your final years is just financially incomprehensible. Therefore, follow the above suggestions and make your plan right now.

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