The thought of retirement can be anxiety-inducing for millennials. On one hand, it’s something that you’re absolutely certain you should be doing. However, getting started can be quite overwhelming. As a result, some simply choose to ignore the issue with hopes that it will go away. This, of course, is a major mistake.
“The most important thing to do in your 30s is to make saving a priority,” says Matt Frankel, Certified Financial Planner at The Ascent. “Your money will never have the long-term compounding power that it has now, and it’ll be far easier to build a comfortable nest egg if you get started while you’re still several decades away from retirement.”
We know that financial planning is not only intimidating but also confusing, which is why we consulted experts for simple and straight-to-the-point advice that will help you hit the ground running.
Save, save, save
“Start by saving at least 10% of your income for retirement, and ideally 15%. If you’re in your 30s and just getting started, saving 15% of your income as quickly as you can is important to make up some of the lost time,” said Greg McBridge, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate.
Employee 401(k) plans
“If you have a retirement plan like a 401(k) available at work, make sure you’re taking full advantage of your employer’s matching contributions,” Frankel added. “If your employer is willing to match your contributions up to 4% of your salary, for example, that’s the absolute minimum you should be contributing even if you invest in an IRA or other account. Not taking advantage of your employer’s match is like turning down free money.’
“If you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, or you want a bit more independence when it comes to selecting your investments, an individual retirement account, or IRA, is a smart way to go,” Frankel went on. “In an IRA, you can invest in virtually any stocks, bonds, or funds you want.”
“Unlike stocks and bonds, you don’t have to worry about increasing risk when you reach for yield on deposit accounts. Just make sure you stay below federal deposit insurance coverage levels,” shared banking expert Ken Tumin of Deposit Accounts by LendingTree. “There’s no free lunch. Achieving higher yields on your deposit accounts requires some work, but a little work can have a big impact on yields. Online tools can reduce the work and help you to quickly find the right mix of the deposit accounts.”
Special retirement accounts for the self-employed
“If you’re self-employed, there are special types of retirement accounts that you should consider, such as the SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA which are offered by most popular online brokerages,” Frankel suggests. “These have significantly higher contribution limits than traditional or Roth IRAs, and they can help you maximize your tax savings.”