Five best practices to jump-starting your savings
When you’re in your 20s, you are worried more about starting your career than you are about what you’ll do when your career is over. Still, it’s important to put down some building blocks at this point to lay a solid foundation for your financial future. Here are five tips to get the ball rolling:
Develop financial habits
You will want to become well-versed in the process of saving. Cash flow may be an issue in the present, but your future self will thank you for not letting your expenses get in the way of your retirement savings.
“These years of saving in your early 20s are your prime years. If you deny yourself the opportunity, it will just set you back with retirement planning in the long run,” says Certified Financial Planner Brian T. Jones on Bankrate.com. “You’ve got to have balance.”
To help, you’ll want to develop another habit, one of overall financial organization, recommends Robert Berger of U.S. News & World Report Money. Any simple system for storing digital and hard copies of records will end up saving you a ton of time, hassle and money in the future.
Stick to the basics
When you first start learning about 401(k)s and hearing terms like “diversification,” it can make you turn into a deer in headlights. Don’t let that talk deter you from starting your retirement investments. In the beginning, the simpler the better. There are several options out there that automatically invest you in a portfolio, including a broad range of stock and bond index funds.
Of course, investing won’t get you anywhere if you haven’t saved up anything to invest.
Boost savings as earnings increase
Ideally, this would be each year; regardless, you should boost your retirement savings as you continue up the career ladder.
“Increasing your retirement contributions is easier than you might think,” Berger says. “For tax-deferred accounts, keep in mind that each dollar of additional contribution will only cost you about $0.70, depending on your tax bracket. And one easy approach is to use a portion of your pay raise or bonus each year to boost your contributions.”
Once you max out your contributions to your 401(k), which hopefully your employer matches, you can open a Roth IRA or other brokerage options, but you may need some additional assistance for that.
Choose your advisers carefully
When you get to the point where you want to take your retirement savings to the next level, there are plenty of companies and individuals ready, willing and able to help. Therein lies the challenge for you — sorting the proficient, trustworthy and affordable from the ones who are not so. Therefore, do your research. Ask friends, peers and mentors for referrals, and check out reviews online.
Get your debt out of the way
It’s a lot easier to focus on saving when you have fewer bills to pay. Many bills, such as utilities, cannot be avoided. However, high monthly payments to pay down your credit card debt can be one of the biggest obstacles to retirement savings, no matter what your age. Make it your goal to consistently knock out your debt through the years, maintaining a solid, smart payment strategy. Then, ensure that you don’t add more to your debt.
By starting small and starting early, you will give yourself a huge advantage in the quest to achieve a secure financial future.Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.