Sometimes I like to close my eyes for a second, and dream of the day when I will soak up the sun at a Tuscan villa…or maybe listen to the crash of waves at my retirement beach house…or perhaps be a “lady who lunches” right here in an area I already know and love… And then inevitably, I am rudely awakened by the realization that (a) the odds of me winning the lottery aren’t that high, (b) I’m nowhere close to retirement, and (c) that’s probably a good thing because I really need to start saving more for retirement!
OK, so a lot of times I have those dreams just because my life is busy, not because I’m thinking about retirement. But as part of my resolve this year to overcome the scariness of getting my finances in shape, I’ve realized that if I ever want to enjoy retirement I need to start thinking about it now. I don’t know about you, but I know an awful lot of folks in my parents’ generation who are still working. Still! At an age when I’m sure they imagined they would be drinking margaritas or playing a lot more golf. I’ve decided that it’s high time for me to get smart about saving for retirement while I have plenty of earning years ahead of me. And now that I’ve gotten better at budgeting, I’ll be able to make more of an investment in my future and still make ends meet. That feels really good.
Did you know that there are several ways to save for retirement? Check out these options – they are all easy to use, and you can pick one (or more) that best meets your needs.
- 401(k) plan through your employer – this is too easy! You designate a certain percentage of your salary to go into this tax-deferred investment, and many employers offer some type of additional contribution. Free money!! If you change jobs, you can roll your 401(k) over and take it with you. You can withdraw without penalty after age 59 ½.
- Traditional IRAs are available to everyone, and contributions can be tax deductible depending on income. There’s a limit to how much you can contribute each year, and you can withdraw without penalty after age 59 ½.
- Roth IRAs are available only to those who meet eligibility based on filing status and modified adjusted gross income, so you should check with FTWCCU to see if you qualify. With this IRA, your principle and earnings can be tax-free, there’s also a contribution limit, and there’s no minimum withdrawal age.
- Automatic Investment Programs are basically a commitment you make to investing on a regular basis. You can set up an automatic recurring payment into a mutual fund so that over time, you build investment value. This isn’t specifically for retirement, but is another option to consider.
I’m sure I am not the only one who doesn’t have a whole lot left over after paying all the bills each month – and that can make investing toward retirement seem a little out of reach. But that’s why starting now is so important! You don’t have to put away a whole lot of money all at once, you just need to start putting away a little at a time. When you aren’t paying attention to it, that money will grow. I think that with my budget, if I buy a few fewer coffees or bring my lunch to work a little more, I’ll be able to start investing an additional $150 per month toward retirement. And in the long run, that’s definitely getting my worth on. Margaritaville, here I come!