When should you start saving for retirement? It’s a question that everyone who plans to retire eventually has probably asked themselves and a very good question to consider. You’re not getting any younger, after all, and each day that passes brings you one step closer to retirement age. The Federal Reserve reported back in 2020 that one-fourth of working American adults didn’t have any retirement savings at all. Luckily, it’s never too late to start saving for your retirement—the best time to save for your retirement is now, rather than down the line.
Why save up for retirement, though? For starters, retirement is going to be expensive; once you retire, you won’t have a steady income to rely on for any expenses that might come up. Suppose you want to continue living comfortably without having to worry about work. In that case, you need to stash enough money away while you’re already working to keep up with your current lifestyle. This will be roughly 70% to 90% of your pre-retirement annual income. Additionally, you may live longer than you anticipated, and so long as you’re alive, you’ll have to worry about having the money to cover health care, housing, and other basic necessities.
Starting your retirement savings now will also give you a buffer because Social Security probably won’t be as much as you anticipate it might be. Social Security only gives you about 40% of what you earned when you were working. Relying on Social Security won’t be a smart idea in the long run either—it’s been reported that the cash reserves are expected to be depleted by 2035, which means recipients will only receive about 79% of the payouts they’re owed. This doesn’t mean Social Security will be completely gone; rather, it means that payouts will only be taken out of the annual Social Security taxes instead of the cash reserve.
The sooner you start saving up for retirement, the better off you’ll be. For example, if you start saving at 25, you’ll have about half a million dollars more than you would if you started saving at 35. Therefore, it’s vital that you do the math to figure out how much you’ll need to save to live a comfortable life post-retirement: take into consideration you’re living expenses, any debts you have, and leave yourself wiggle room just in case something unexpected happens.
Retirement may seem far in the future, but it’ll take the time you have from now until then to save up and make sure your retirement is a comfortable one. Don’t put it off—save now, rather than regretting putting it off until later.
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