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  • Save for Retirement Now

  • Many consumers in their 20s and 30s put off retirement saving, assuming it’s something they don’t need to worry about yet. But experts recommend that we start saving no later than the age of 25, even if we have other debts and expenses. Why? Because the longer you wait, the more you’ll have to invest to ensure a comfortable retirement.

    Think about it this way: If you’re 25 years old and you want to save $1 million by the age of 65, you’d only have to invest $85 a month at a 12% annual return. If you wait until 35 to start saving for retirement, you’d have to put away $286 a month to reach the same goal. At 45, you’d have to save more than $1,000 a month, and if you wait until 55, you’d have to invest a whopping $4,300 a month. Here’s a look at how you can effectively plan for retirement from your 20s through your 40s and beyond:

    The youthful 20’s: Not all fun and games This is the time to take advantage of any retirement plans your employer might offer, such as a 401(k). If your company doesn’t offer a plan, open an individual retirement account (IRA).
    Ideally, men should invest at least 10% of their income in retirement savings, and women, who typically have a longer lifespan, should put at least 12% of their income towards retirement.
    In your 20s, choose investments that offer the best growth potential. Most financial experts say that you should have 85% of your portfolio in stocks or stock mutual funds at this age. Because you still have many years before your actual retirement, annual stock market peaks and valleys won’t affect you. In the long run, you should end up with a strong overall return on your investment.

    30-something: Keep at it At this age, many people are getting married and having children, and it’s easy to get distracted from retirement saving. It’s important not to lose focus of retirement in these years.
    Although you might be thinking more about saving for your children’s college education at this point, keep socking money away into your own retirement fund as well. You’re probably earning more income at this age, so there’s more to go around.

    You might also be more concerned about paying off consumer debt than investing for your retirement. Although it’s important to whittle away at your debt, don’t ever stop saving for retirement. Work on paying off the debts that carry higher interest rates first, but continue putting money into your retirement fund as well. You should keep saving at least the minimum amount of your income (10% for men and 12% for women).

    Also, if you have a 401(k) or another company-sponsored retirement plan, now is the time to build up to your maximum allowable contribution.

    Fabulous 40s: A financial struggle At this age, many consumers experience a financial struggle between paying for their child’s college education and saving for retirement. Unfortunately, retirement saving usually loses out.
    However, experts say that if you are forced to choose between paying for your child’s college and saving for retirement, you should choose retirement. Let your children borrow money for college through student loans, which offer low interest rates. You might be able to afford to help them pay off these loans later.

    50s, 60s and beyond: Still going Once you reach your 50s, you should continue to contribute the max amount to your 401(k) or IRA. Talk to your financial advisor about transferring your portfolio from higher risk investments to lower risk alternatives to ensure that your income base is preserved. You should also work towards the goal of having all debts paid off by the time you retire.

    Once you reach 60, it’s probably time to shift to a capital preservation investment strategy. However, you should keep some growth investments even into retirement to help fund the increasing costs of living. You should still meet with your financial advisor annually to discuss any changes in your lifestyle or spending habits. Depending on your goals and unique situation, you may need to continue to adjust your portfolio as you grow older.

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