Retirement planning or saving is rarely a priority in college or when you first start working, but there’s good reason to tackle it now. Whether you’re trying to pay off college loans, expecting to go back to school, or just build a comfortable nest egg that lets you retire early, now is the time to get started!
Here are 10 simple ways to help your savings grow:
- Define Your Goal – If you set a clear financial goal, it becomes easier to save and invest for it, and the process becomes more rewarding too. Determine when and how much you will need in retirement savings or a college fund, and set realistic benchmarks that will help you get there.
- Start Saving Now – Time is your biggest ally for financial growth, since it lets compound interest play in your favor. Even small sums of money can generate significant long-term gains when earnings are reinvested. Save as much as you can now so you won’t need to put away as much later.
- Automate Your Savings – Set up automatic contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and check if your employer offers automatic enrollment in a 401k plan. Plan providers can help you set savings on autopilot, so a percentage of your earnings goes directly into these accounts.
- Stash Windfalls – Got cash over the holidays or on your birthday? A bonus at work? Tax refund? Any time you have extra money, put it into your savings plan. This removes the temptation of spending it on something you don’t really need, and allows it to help your nest egg grow instead.
- Cut Down Spending – Set a budget for daily, monthly and annual expenses, and stick to it. Trim whatever you can, whether it’s dining out or shopping. Small expenses don’t seem like much now, but think of what they could turn into by just sitting in your retirement plans!
- Invest in a Roth IRA/401k – Roth IRA and Roth 401k plans allow you to make tax-free withdrawals if you’ve had the account at least 5 years. They’re funded with after-tax dollars, so if you think you’ll be in a higher tax bracket later, it makes sense to put savings into these accounts now.
- Use 529 Plans for College – Other than retirement plans, the government offers tax benefits that help individuals save for college as well. If you expect to pay for higher education someday, whether for yourself or a child, automatic contributions to a 529 account can help you do it.
- Consider an HSA – You may be offered an HSA or Health Savings Account if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan. These accounts offer financial protection against out-of-pocket medical expenses, but contributions are tax deductible and money grows tax-free, which makes them ideal for savings too.
- Say No to “Fluff” – Everyone has at least one gym membership, magazine subscription or cable package that’s rarely or never used. Stop spending on duplicate, frivolous or unnecessary services, so you can have more money to put away for retirement planning or college.
- Don’t Dip into Savings – Remember, the longer you leave your savings untouched, the more they will keep growing and adding to your nest egg. If that wasn’t enough reason to leave them alone, remember that you are likely to pay extra taxes and heavy penalties on early withdrawals too!
Consult an expert to understand how a self directed 401K or self directed IRA works, so you can make smarter savings and investments for your future.
Author Bio: Rick Pendykoski is the owner of Self Directed Retirement Plans LLC, a retirement planning firm based in Goodyear, AZ. He has over three decades of experience working with investments and retirement planning, and over the last 10 years has turned his focus to self-directed accounts and alternative investments. Rick regularly posts helpful tips and articles on his blog at SD Retirement as well as MoneyForLunch, Biggerpocket, SocialMediaToday, WealthManagement, SeekingAplha, and NuWireInvestor.
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Daniel & David
10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Savings For Retirement or College