7 tips to help make saving for retirement easier, according to a financial planner

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  • If saving for retirement is the last thing on your mind, it shouldn’t be.
  • Even if you have $0 saved at the moment, the key is to start saving something — anything.
  • By eliminating a few everyday expenses, you’ll see that putting money aside for retirement is simpler than you may think.
  • Here, a certified financial planner (CFP) shares seven tips to make saving for retirement easier.

 

While saving for retirement may not be at the forefront of your mind, it should be, no matter how old you are or where you are in your career. Even if you have $0 saved at the moment, now is the perfect time to begin stowing away money for retirement.

Whether you seek out a certified financial planner (CFP) or use a device like NerdWallet’s retirement calculator, the idea is the same: Start saving something.

Andy Smith, a CFP and senior vice president of financial planning at Financial Engines, an independent investment advisor that serves over 9 million people, said he agrees. „Surprisingly, the first step to saving for retirement is to simply start saving,“ he told Business Insider in an email. „Rather than trying to get it right, keep it simple and get started building a habit of saving.“

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1. Just begin — no excuses

The most important step in saving for retirement is starting.

„Many people who want to retire as millionaires have no idea how to get there, and others never get started saving because they assume they must have the perfect plan right from the start,“ he said.

2. Set periodic goals, not a random retirement number

Although you may strive to save up a million dollars for retirement, Smith said to set smaller, regular goals, not a random final dollar amount.

„While there is no one number Americans should have saved when they retire, it is important to set a target so you know if you’re headed in the right direction,“ he said. „For instance, set the goal to have ‘x’ amount of dollars saved by age ‚x.'“

„The first step to choosing the right retirement date is to determine a savings goal based on your intended retirement lifestyle and the number of years you expect to live in retirement,“ Smith said. „You can use online calculators or talk to an investment advisor for help arriving at a preliminary number based on your current spending levels and estimated expenditures during your retirement years.“

Make sure to take the lifestyle changes of retirement into consideration. „For example, your transportation costs might decrease, since you’ll no longer be commuting to work, but the cost of utilities might go up as a result of your spending more time at home,“ Smith said.

He also said to keep in mind that a financial plan is simply a piece of paper, so it’s important to review it regularly and make adjustments as needed.

3. Save as much money as you can for as long as you can

Smith said that saving as much money as you can, for as long as you can, is key. He suggested contributing to a 401(k) if your company offers one, and/or a Roth IRA.

„If your company offers a 401(k) match program, consider maximizing your contribution to receive the full company match,” he said. “Unfortunately, many people miss out on this free money.“

Smith added that, according to a report from Financial Engines, Americans leave $24 billion in unclaimed 401(k) company matches on the table each year.

For those without access to a 401(k) plan, such as freelancers, Smith suggests a Roth or traditional IRA. Also, with the help of an accountant, „freelancers should also explore accounts that allow for higher savings, like solo 401(k)s or SEP-IRA options,“ he said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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