8 Things You Have To Do Before You're 25 For A Secure Retirement
Retirement may still be a handful of decades away, but thinking long term — over 40 years ahead — can pay off in almost incomprehensible ways.
The choices you make while you're still young will have a huge impact on your future.
For example, by investing an annual $2,000 for seven consecutive years all before you turn 27 (assuming a 10 percent rate of return), you could never invest again and have saved a colossal $1,035,160 by the age of 65.
By just investing $14,000 before you even get out of your twenties, you could comfortably secure your retirement.
Even if you didn't start thinking about retirement immediately following high school graduation, putting the cogs in motion as early as possible will pay off. It's never too late to start saving, but it's also never too early.
Below are eight steps for young adults who want to ensure their future is taken care of.
Do These 8 Things Before Your 25th Birthday
1. Attitude Adjustment
Stop living off the assumption that your employer, the government, your spouse, your spouse's life insurance or pension, or your children will take care of you once you stop working. There are no guarantees.
Take responsibility for your own life and ensure that you have the funds and financial know-how to survive by yourself.
2. Write It Down
Don't just daydream about what you want to do later in life. Write it down. By physically going through the motions of creating something tangible to represent your intangible goals and ambitions, you grant yourself accountability.
Make something concrete, think through different scenarios and bring your dreams to life.
3. Learn How To Budget, And Live It
Don't just willy-nilly keep track of your finances. Actually take the time to understand how a budget works and why it works. Look into the differences of various savings accounts and other investment vehicles.
4. Open A 401(K) Or IRA
There are essentially two types of retirement savings funds: 401(K)s and IRAs. Both can help you meet your retirement goals, but they are different.
There isn't a right or wrong way when choosing a retirement savings vehicle, but one may fit your lifestyle better.
When choosing, look for:
- Low-cost funds
- Roth accounts
- Employer match
5. Start Off With A Bang
While one of the keys to a successful budget is living within your means, with long-term goals such as an independent retirement, living within your means may not be enough. Consider living below your means and investing the extra funds toward your retirement goals. The earlier you invest, even if it's not much, pays off incrementally and exponentially decades down the road.
6. Set Up Automatic Payments
Even if you cannot max out the annual amounts toward your 401(k) or IRA, once you put in your first significant deposit, set up a regularly scheduled payment.
It's much easier to stick with a long-term plan when the actions are automatic; don't make it any harder than it needs to be.
An initial $2,000, followed by hundreds of months of $100 deposits will result in larger gains than starting in your 40s, even if you were to invest thousands a year from 40 to 65.
7. Demolish Your Debt And Don't Go Back
Make a plan to get rid of any debt you have. Even if you just have student loan debt, physically draft a plan and pay it off. Don't forgo retirement planning until after you pay off your debts, however, because even two extra years on the forefront of your savings lifespan can mean a world of difference.
8. Invest In Your Health
By postponing retirement as long as possible, you will maximize the impact your savings will have once you need them. One of the key factors driving earlier retirement is health, and what you do in your young adult years sets a precedence for when you get older. The more fit and healthy you are now, the easier a healthy lifestyle will be to maintain once your metabolism begins to slow.
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