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9 ways to save for retirement

The recent popularity of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old” offers a fascinating yet unsurprising truth—we fear aging. This fear could be why so few of us consider saving for retirement until it’s too late. When seniors reach retirement age, many discover they haven’t saved enough to live comfortably in their golden years. 

A close examination reveals the crux of the problem: People fail to put a comprehensive retirement plan into action early enough. If you don’t set aside a nest egg in your youth, your money doesn’t have time to accrue interest or compound.  

In other words, contemporary retirees will likely not have saved enough money to keep up with basic living expenses. Despite this danger, individuals are still putting reliable savings account consideration “on the back burner” until they find themselves standing at the doorstep of impending retirement. And that’s why it’s so important to focus on saving now. 

Time-honored, proven retirement strategies 

Even those who understand the importance of creating a solid retirement plan can feel stymied about where to start. What you want to do—nay, what you have to do—is utilize proven techniques that minimize risks and maximize your investment’s long-term growth. 

To that end, here are nine proven, productive ways to help you start saving—or revamp your current strategy—for retirement. 

  1. Set a retirement goal—The average age of retirement in the U.S. is 62.3 years for women and 64.6 for men. At what age do you want to retire, and how much will you need to live comfortably? Use the 25x rule here. Estimate annual expenses and multiply that figure by 25. Example: If your current annual expenses equal $50,000, you will need to have $1.25 million saved.

  2. Start in your 20s—Young employees should get started today. The younger you are, the smaller your payments can be. Even an employee in their teens can save with this goal in mind.

  3. Use company benefits—If your company offers a 401(k) plan, make regular contributions. Investing in a 401(k) can be especially advantageous if your company offers a match. 

  4. Open an IRA—IRAs are tax-smart, and you can borrow from them within reason. You can also save outside an employer-sponsored retirement account. 

  5. Make timely payments—Set up recurring deposits into retirement accounts to prevent spending money that should go to a retirement fund. 

  6. Reduce debts—Once debts are paid off, the ability to contribute more money into your retirement accounts increases. 

  7. Diversify—Make smart investments such as stock mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (EFTs). 

  8. Pay what you can—Jobs and income can alter with time, so pay what you can, when you can. The goal is to put away something, no matter what income bracket you fall into. 

  9. Increase your rate—Regularly increase your retirement savings rate. If you cannot immediately save 15% of your income from retirement, that’s okay. Start small and increase the amount you contribute by 1% each year. 

Make retirement a dream 

Making sound financial choices today ensures your retirement adventures will not become an M. Night Shyamalan-style horror story tomorrow. No matter your age today, get started right away to make the most of your golden years.