How to Start Planning for Retirement Today

Young, old, or otherwise — you’re going to want to quit working some day regardless of where you live: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts. It’s nearly impossible to tell what your golden years will look like, but you can be sure of one thing: You’ll need some cash. Hopefully, you’ve already started saving, but here are a few more tips for the clueless beginner.

  1. Get A Piggy Bank

    Think you can’t start saving if you’re broke? Think again. Your pennies, nickels, and dimes may not represent much money, but the act of saving them — and segmenting them off as your retirement fund — shows initiative and right-minded thinking. It might not be a 401(k), but it’s something.

  2. Get A 401(k) (Or A Job)

    A 401(k) is a standard retirement account, and you’ll want to get the ball rolling on yours as soon as you can. Don’t have a retirement account? First, get a job. Then, sign up for the most aggressive, risky savings plan you can handle. Don’t wait until your 30s or 40s if you can help it; the sooner you start saving, the better.

  3. Forget About It

    One thing you should absolutely do once you have that piggy bank, 401(k), or a Roth IRA? Forget that you have it. Setting up automatic deposits can help you forget about your savings, making it easier to avoid borrowing money from those accounts.

  4. Stay Out Of Debt

    The older you get, the more you want — or the more you think you need, anyway. College funds for your children, cars, houses, vacations, and more can send your spending into an upward spiral. Try to avoid accruing debt. Mortgages and car notes are OK, but keep your credit score high and your savings numbers higher. You probably don’t need the latest gadget, but you’ll definitely need food when you’re old. Think about it.

  5. Live Below Your Means

    Similar to not accruing debt, live below your means. The more of your cash you can save now, the more you’ll have for later. With retirement ages increasing globally, it’s clear that the problem is with the youthful versions of ourselves. Don’t get caught in the trap of spending — you’ll need some of that money later.

  6. Learn This: You Can’t Afford Not To

    No matter how little you make, you can’t afford not to save for your retirement, even if your efforts feel piecemeal. Think about it this way: If you never save, you’ll always have to work. Even tiny adjustments can prove beneficial. Eliminate some money from your Starbucks budget. Don’t buy another pair of boat shoes. You don’t have to live like a pauper, but cut expenses wherever you can.

  7. Enlist A Financial Planner

    If all else fails, get a financial planner. Do your homework, ask around, and find someone that both speaks your language and has your best interest at heart. Don’t let fear stop you from taking charge of your retirement planning. If you don’t do it, no one else will.