Beginning to Save Checklist
Starting to plan for retirement? Smart move! The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Use the checklist below to make sure you're on the right track to the retirement you desire.
- Start saving. If you haven't begun to build your retirement savings, your primary goal should be to initiate a savings plan. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or certificate is an excellent place to start. Be mindful of the approximate number of years you have to save and what your desired lifestyle might be when you do retire.
Manage Your Money
- Create a budget. Start by creating a budget for yourself to see where opportunities for additional savings may lie. If you make managing your money a priority now, saving for the future will be second nature. You'll be able to better manage your money now and meet your retirement savings goals down the road.
- Manage your debt. If you have student loans, credit cards or other debts, make paying them off a top priority. Funnel as much as you can to pay off what you owe and don't take on any new debt. Once you're out of the red, consider putting the money you were using to pay off your debt toward your savings goals.
- Build an emergency fund. Set aside some cash for emergencies so you aren't tempted to reach for credit cards or tap retirement accounts when unexpected costs arise. Aim for at least $1,000 to start, then build up three to six months' worth of living expenses.
- Participate in any employer-sponsored retirement plans. While specific accounts vary depending on your employer, your options may include 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans, or Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs). These offer tax advantages, and many employers will match your contributions.
- Take advantage of other retirement accounts. If you're already contributing the maximum amount to your employer's retirement plan, there are still other opportunities for tax-advantaged savings with an IRA. Traditional IRAs offer similar tax benefits to 401(k)s, depending on your income.
- Meet with a financial advisor. A professional can help you estimate how much you need to save to reach your retirement goals and can assist you in choosing appropriate investment vehicles and strategies to meet them.
Want to start your retirement savings?
Not sure where to start? Contact a financial advisor at 1-877-221-8108.