Retirement doesn’t start until you reach your 60s, but saving for retirement should begin far sooner. According to CNNMoney.com’s ‘Ultimate guide to retirement,’ financial planners recommend beginning to save 10% to 15% of your income in your 20s. If you are a victim of the nation’s poor employment situation — or even if you’re gainfully employed — stashing away substantial chunks of money in your 20s can be a challenge. Fortunately, plenty of retirement savings tips exist Online.
Smart Savings Advice
Many sites offer basic guidelines on when to start saving and how much to put away, and most offer similar advice.
First of all, you will probably need at least 70% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably if you have no health problems or outstanding debts. If you do owe money or plan on traveling extensively, you could need 100% or more of your original yearly income.
• You should invest in the stock market to make your money multiply quickly enough to build a large nest egg. From 1926 to 2009, stocks returned almost twice as much annually as bonds. Many financial advisors recommend stocks long-term despite their tendency to bounce up and down in the short-term.
• Social Security should add to your annual income, not be your annual income. In this day and age, Social Security typically does not cover a retiree for the entire span of retirement.
• If you end up in your 60s without enough funds to comfortably retire, just postpone retirement for a few years. Living with work into your late 60s is not ideal, but neither is sacrificing quality of life because of a premature retirement.
• Enrolling in a 401(k) and making contributions is one of the most important ways to save. Make sure you are enrolled in any employer-run 401(k) or 403(b) program. Also, make large contributions, if possible. Tax deductions mean you’ll only be spending 65 cents for every dollar you contribute, according to Deborah Lewis of About.com
Retirement Savings Calculators
The best way to determine how much you need to save and how soon you should start is to perform a hands-on calculation of your own situation. You can choose between a number of Online retirement savings calculators, depending on what information you want to know.
For a quick and easy look (including a chart) at how much you need to save, try Bloomberg’s retirement planner. Bloomberg allows you to adjust 11 variables to calculate your financial future and then spits out a graph and explanation for why you either may need to save more or keep saving at the same rate. MSN Money, FINRA, and banks such as Bank of America offer similarly simple retirement calculators.
Two retirement calculators in particular offer more targeted results. The U.S. government’s own Social Security Online Services website offers a personal retirement savings calculator, which uses your financial history and Social Security earnings record to break down your future benefits and savings needs. With CNN Money’s nine retirement calculators, you can compare the cost of retirement in two different cities, find out your savings’ growth rates, whether you can retire early, and how long it would take you to accumulate more than $1 million. Even the standard retirement calculator at CNNMoney is thorough, taking users through multiple pages of questions before giving a detailed table of year-by-year savings.